Illinois law allows you to expunge certain felonies from your record. If your case doesn’t qualify for expungement, you may be able to seal it as most felonies and misdemeanors are eligible for sealing. The law is the same regardless of which county your case concluded. When you expunge your record, it gets destroyed. When you seal a record, it gets hidden from the public, landlords, and almost all employers.
You can expunge your felony record in Illinois if you were sentenced to TASC Probation, 410/710/1410 Probation, Second Chance Probation, or received a Governor’s Pardon. For the purposes of expungement, these types of probation are referred to as “Qualified Probation.” They all allow you to finish your case without a conviction. The waiting period is five years after completing your probation before you can file for Expungement. In almost all cases, there will be a Court hearing where you have to prove to the judge that you are a good citizen and your interest to have the record sealed is greater than the State’s interest to maintain it. Along with a governor’s pardon, the following qualified probations are eligible for expungement.
1. TASC Probation: TASC allows a defendant to be treated as a person who has a drug or drinking problem. The underlying charge in the case doesn’t have to be drug-related. For example, a person charged with felony theft could be eligible for TASC probation. Not everyone qualifies for TASC Probation as it depends on the crime and criminal history of the Defendant. With TASC probation, the defendant get’s convicted when entering a plea, but the conviction gets vacated upon completion of probation. Five years later, the record is eligible for expungement.
2. Second Chance Probation: This is another type of probation considered “Qualified.” For certain non-violent crimes, a Defendant can receive second chance probation without having a conviction entered against him/her. Essentially, after completing 24 months of probation, the case is dismissed. The record becomes eligible for expungement five years after dismissal.
3. 410/710/1410 Probation: This type of “qualified probation” allows the defendant to be placed on 24 months probation as a first-time drug offender without being convicted. A conviction is never entered, and five years after completing probation, the record is eligible for expungement.
4. Pardon with Expungement: If the defendant is granted a pardon from the governor for any felony with the right to file for expungement, he/she can file a Petition to Expunge in the Courthouse where your case concluded. Note that not all pardons are granted by the Governor with the right to file for expungement – the Governor can issue a pardon without the right to expunge.
Keep in mind that you must have completed “qualified probation” successfully to be eligible to expunge the record. If you did not, then you still may have the option to seal the record as opposed to expunging it.
John Ioakimidis is an award-winning attorney with 26 years of experience handling cases throughout Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Will County, and Lake County. He has been named a “Top 100 Attorneys” by National Trial Lawyers, Top 1% from the National Association of Distinguished Counsel, 10 out of 10 (Superb) by AVVO, and “10 Best Attorney for Client Satisfaction” by the American Society of Criminal Law Attorneys. If you need to have your criminal record expunged, you can call John Ioakimidis at 312-229-5500 for a free and confidential consultation.
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