Your criminal record is something that can haunt you even decades after you have a conviction. The state provides you a way to seal your records so that you can move forward without the stigma of having conviction.

According to the State Appellate Defender, you may be able to seek a criminal record expungement to seal your records and prevent access to them by those outside of the justice system.

Three options

Depending on what is in your criminal record, you may get an expungement or sealing. An expungement is for removing court supervision and arrests from your record. A sealing does not remove your record but rather restricts access to it. You may seal your record if you have criminal convictions.

Requirements

To seek a sealing or expungement, you must have completed all terms of your sentence or probation. You must also be past the waiting period, which varies depending on the type of criminal charge. In addition, the conviction must have happened in an Illinois court.

The Process

To seek the clearing of your criminal record, you need to file the appropriate forms. You will have to gather information about your convictions as well. You must provide all the information to the court for review. If you fail to turn in the proper forms or provide the requested documents, the court may dismiss your case, and you will have to refile. You will likely have to pay fees to gather the documents you need and to file your paperwork with the court.

Once you file, it will often take a few months to get a final ruling from the court.