If you’re like many people, you know that having a criminal record can change your life. Your record can stop you from getting a decent job, it can force landlords into turning you away when you need a place to live, and it can even stop you from getting credit. Unfortunately, many people are stuck with their criminal records… because they haven’t asked themselves, “Do I need a lawyer for expungement?”

The good news is that you may not need an attorney to expunge your record – but you can still benefit from a lawyer’s help.

Here’s how.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Expungement in Illinois?

Do I Need a Lawyer for Expungement or SealingMany people choose to work with an attorney through the expungement process. That’s because the forms can be confusing and the instructions for filing can be tough to figure out.

But you don’t need a lawyer for expungement. Instead, you can have the best of both worlds – detailed instructions for every form you need, where to file and how to file, with access to an attorney if you have specific questions about your case. That’s where DIY expungement comes in – you get everything you need (even the forms themselves), instructions and access to lawyers.

But you don’t have to pay for services you don’t need. If you’re ready to tackle the job yourself, we can help.

Do I Qualify for Expungement?

Do I Need a Lawyer to Qualify for Expungement in IllinoisNot everyone qualifies for expungement in Illinois. You can’t expunge a conviction (but don’t let that get you down – there might still be an answer, so keep reading). You can expunge arrest records, as well as cases that resulted in a dismissal (such as SOL, nolle prosequi or FNPC).

If you’ve been convicted of a crime, with very, very few exceptions (like if your conviction was reversed or vacated, or if you were pardoned – or if you’re an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces in some cases), you’ll have to look at criminal record sealing instead.

You cannot expunge:

  • Convictions for misdemeanors and felonies unless they were reversed, vacated, approved by the Prisoner Review Board or pardoned by the governor
  • Court supervision or Qualified Probation that you did not successfully complete
  • Court supervision for:
    • Reckless driving if you were over the age of 25 at the time of the offense
    • Driving under the influence
    • Sexual offenses against a minor under the age of 18
  • Convictions, which include a finding of guilt resulting in a sentence of:
    • Probation (except Qualified Probation that you have completed successfully)
    • Jail or prison time
    • Conditional discharge
    • Time considered served
    • Fines
    • Supervisions you did not successfully complete

I Don’t Qualify for Expungement – Do I Qualify for Sealing?

Check out this table, which shows a number of convictions that you can seal in Illinois:

Sealing Eligibility Checklist
Arrest, Charge, Conviction or Sentence Eligible Not Eligible
Arrests and charges for misdemeanors and felonies that did not lead to a conviction x
Felony traffic offenses that were reduced to an eligible misdemeanor x
Convictions for most misdemeanors and felonies* x
Misdemeanor conviction of public indecency x
Reckless driving conviction x
Driving under the influence conviction x
Domestic battery conviction x
Conviction of violation of an order of protection, a civil no-contact order or a stalking no-contact order x
Conviction of soliciting or patronizing a prostitute x
Felony conviction of public indecency x
Conviction of misdemeanor offenses listed under Article 11 of the Criminal Code x
Conviction of any offense that requires you to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration Act x
Dog fighting conviction x
Class A misdemeanor conviction under the Humane Care for Animals Act x

Got Questions About Whether You Need a Lawyer for Expungement in Illinois?

If you’re not sure whether you qualify for expungement or sealing, give us a call at 847-920-4540. We’ll be happy to tell you. We also offer full-service expungement and sealing, which means you don’t have to fill out or file your own paperwork (we handle it all for you). But if you’re ready to do it yourself to save money, you’re always welcome to use our DIY expungement and sealing service. You’ll still have access to attorneys when you need case-specific legal advice, too.

You can sign up for DIY expungement and sealing here.