How can I get my record expunged for free? It’s a common question – and it’s one that we have an answer for.
How Can I Get My Record Expunged for Free?
In Illinois, some people are eligible for free criminal record expungement. If you want to expunge your record without cost, you have to meet certain criteria – and you have to do the work yourself. If you meet those criteria, you can submit a fee waiver to the court and ask a judge to let you expunge your record for free.
- Determine your eligibility.
- Get the fee waiver form.
- Fill out the fee waiver.
- Gather supporting documentation.
- Submit your fee waiver and supporting documentation to the court and wait for a decision.
Here’s a closer look at each step.
#1. Figure out if you’re eligible for a fee waiver.
If you want to expunge your record free, you have to qualify for a fee waiver. That means you have to meet at least one of these conditions:
- You receive means-based government assistance under SSI, AABD, TANF, SNAP, GA, Transitional Assistance or State Children and Family Assistance
- Your personal income is 125 percent less than the current poverty level and you cannot afford to pay fees, costs or charges
- Payments of fees, costs and charges would result in substantial hardship to you or your family
Related: Can you seal your own criminal record in Chicago?
#2. Get the fee waiver form.
You can download the fee waiver form here.
#3. Fill out the fee waiver.
There are instructions on the fee waiver form, but here’s a quick look at what information you need to include:
- Your county
- Your first, middle and last name
- The “Defendant/Respondent,” which in your case is the state of Illinois
When you fill out the form, these are the only pieces of information you fill out. Don’t check any of the boxes – the judge in your case will complete the form based on the other information you provided.
Related: How much does expungement cost?
#4. Gather supporting documentation.
If you have pay stubs or proof of income, the court will need to review them – that’s how the judge will determine whether you qualify for a fee waiver. You’ll include them when you file your petition.
#5. Submit your fee waiver and supporting documentation to the court and wait for a decision.
You’ll submit your fee waiver to the Clerk of Court in your county. Make sure you ask how many copies you need before you file – and make sure you have plenty of copies of your supporting documentation, too.
Related: Illinois expungement FAQ
How Can I Get My Record Expunged for Free? Next Steps
If the judge in your case decides that you qualify to get your record expunged for free (and grants you a fee waiver), you’ll have to find and fill out the appropriate forms for your county. You’ll also need supporting documentation (like a high school completion certificate, proof that you completed community service, and other documents). After your forms are complete, you must file them with your county’s Clerk of Court. Then, you have to wait until your petition reaches the judge’s desk for a decision.
Related: Do I need a lawyer for expungement?
If you’re not looking to get your record expunged for free but you don’t want to pay an attorney to do it for you, there’s an alternative: You can use our DIY expungement and sealing service. We’ll provide you with:
- All the forms you need to petition for expungement or sealing in ANY county in Illinois
- Detailed instructions (video and written) on filling out and filing every form you need
- Information on where and how to file your forms and supporting documentation in every jurisdiction in the state
- Tips on how to make the whole expungement or sealing process easier
- Access to an attorney when you have case-specific questions
You can also download our free expungement and sealing e-book.
If you’re ready to sign up for DIY expungement, click the red button below and you can get started in minutes.
Need more information? Read through our latest DIY expungement blog posts below.