Under Illinois law, if you have been arrested for a criminal offense, you may have the right to have records of your arrest expunged or sealed. “Expungement” of records and “sealing” of records are different in many respects, but both procedures have the purpose of limiting or preventing access to information regarding an individual’s arrest and/or criminal court records by private and/or public entities.
Expungement is a court procedure in which a person who has been arrested petitions the court in the county where the case was filed for the destruction or return of all records pertaining to his or her case. Sealing is a court procedure that seals court and police records. The records are not destroyed or returned, but are put “under seal,” meaning they are not accessible by employers, members of the general public, or most public entities. The procedure for obtaining a court order to seal records is identical to the expungement procedure.
A person who is found guilty of a misdemeanor can have his record expunged in most circumstances as most misdemeanors allow the court to impose a term of supervision depending on the defendant’s criminal history. Supervision is not a conviction, and it can be expunged. A conviction, however, cannot be expunged. It can only be sealed.
Misdemeanor convictions can be sealed, but not felonies. But there are misdemeanor convictions that cannot be sealed. Those are:
- Aggravated Assault
- Domestic Battery
- Criminal Sexual Abuse
- Reckless Conduct
- Violation of an Order of Protection
Sami is experienced at filing petitions for expungements and sealings. If you have a prior arrest you want expunged or sealed, call him at (312) 626-2871.