If you have a criminal record, the state of Illinois might let you expunge it – but what is expungement, how does it work, and who’s eligible? Check out this Illinois expungement FAQ to learn more about clearing your criminal record through expungement.
Illinois Expungement FAQ
Read through the questions listed here in our Illinois expungement FAQ. If you don’t see your question, please call us at 847-920-4540 – we’ll be happy to give you a free consultation and let you know whether expungement might be an option for you.
Do You Need a Lawyer for an Expungement?
You do not need a lawyer for expungement in Illinois. If your criminal record is eligible for expungement, you can find and fill out all the forms that your county requires. Then, you can file them yourself. For many people, finding and figuring out the forms is the hardest part (along with figuring out how to file them). You can use an Illinois DIY expungement service through an attorney to make sure you’re doing it right, which is far cheaper than hiring a lawyer to expunge your record for you.
How Do I Get My Record Expunged in Chicago?
There are several steps to getting your record expunged in Chicago (or any other city in Illinois). Usually, it goes like this:
- Get your entire criminal history
- Download all the forms you need to ask the court to clear your record
- Fill out your forms and find supporting paperwork
- File your packet in the right court and pay the appropriate fees
- Wait for your expungement petition to make its way to the judge
Sometimes there are other steps, such as when the state’s attorney objects to your petition. For most people, it helps to have guidance from an attorney throughout the process.
How Much Does it Cost to Get Your Record Expunged in Illinois?
While every county is different – and prices are subject to change without notice – it’s currently about $150 to obtain your criminal record and file your expungement packet in Illinois. If you’re expunging cases in multiple counties, it’s usually best to use a DIY expungement service that charges a flat rate so you don’t have to pay a lawyer to travel all over the state.
How Can I Get My Record Expunged in Illinois for Free?
The only way to get your record expunged in Illinois for free is to petition the court yourself and ask for a fee waiver. The judge in your case has to approve a fee waiver – you can’t just assume that you won’t have to pay after you file your application.
Can I Expunge My Own Record?
You can absolutely expunge your own record. It’ll be up to you to find:
- The court forms you need
- Instructions on filling out court forms properly
- Supporting documentation to show the court that you deserve a fresh start
- The location to file your court paperwork
For many people, finding and filling out the court forms takes a lot of time and effort – and that’s why they use our Illinois do-it-yourself expungement service. We have the most up-to-date court forms, detailed written and video instructions, and even instructions on where (and how) to file your paperwork in every county in Illinois.
Check out our completely free resource on DIY expungement. Click the button below to get your free e-book to learn more about expunging or sealing your criminal record.
Can I Get My Record Expunged for Free?
In some cases, you can get your record expunged for free in Illinois. However, you’ll have to ask the court for a fee waiver before you file your expungement petition – and the judge will have to approve it. That waives the filing fees necessary to get your packet moving through the court system.
Do I Need an Attorney to Get My Record Expunged in Illinois?
You don’t always need an attorney to get your record expunged in Illinois. In many cases, people are able to expunge their own criminal records. However, you may want to think about using a DIY expungement service to guide you through the process – and make sure it’s one run by an expungement attorney so you know you’re getting good information.
What Crimes Can Be Expunged?
In Illinois, you may be able to expunge several parts of your criminal record. However, you can only expunge convictions if you meet certain criteria (such as being an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, or if your conviction was reversed, the decision was vacated, you were pardoned by the governor, or your case was approved by the Prisoner Review Board). It’s often best to talk to an attorney about expungement, and if you don’t qualify, to see if you qualify for criminal record sealing instead.
This table explains some of the offenses eligible (and those not eligible) for expungement in Illinois:
Arrest, Charge or Sentence
|Arrests for misdemeanors that did not result in a conviction||
|Arrests for felonies that did not result in a conviction||
|Sentences for supervision (after the required waiting period)||
|Sentences of qualified probation (after the required waiting period)||
|Convictions outside of the state of Illinois||
|Sentences you have not yet completed (including parole, probation or court supervision)||
|Court supervision or qualified probation that you have not yet completed||
|Court supervision for reckless driving if you were 25 or older at the time of your arrest for the offense||
|Court supervision for sexual offenses against minors||
|Court supervision for driving under the influence||
Can Police See Expunged Records?
When a judge grants you an expungement, your criminal record is returned to you or destroyed. The police can’t see expunged records because they no longer exist in the system – it’s like your record never existed in the first place. However, if you seal your criminal record (instead of expunging it), police will most likely be able to see it.
What Offenses Cannot Be Expunged in Illinois?
There are several offenses you cannot expunge in Illinois, including:
- Federal convictions
- Convictions outside the state of Illinois
- Sentences you haven’t completed (including parole, probation or court supervision)
- Misdemeanor and felony convictions, with some exceptions
- Court supervision for reckless driving if you were 25 or older at the time of the offense
- Court supervision for sexual offenses against minors
- Court supervision for DUI
Are You Thinking About Expunging Your Record in Illinois?
If you’re ready to clear your record and get a fresh start, we can help. You can sign up for our DIY expungement service, which you can use for any county in Illinois, or you can talk to an attorney about taking on your case – that way, you don’t have to do any of the research or fill out any forms yourself. If you’d like to talk to an attorney, call us at 847-920-4540 right now – we’ll be happy to give you the guidance you need.