What does it mean when a criminal record is sealed in Illinois

What does it mean when a criminal record is sealed? For most people, it means a fresh start.

Here’s what you need to know.

What Does it Mean When a Criminal Record is Sealed?

When your criminal record is sealed, it’s closed off from public view. That means most people won’t be able to see it. The sealed items on your record won’t come up in criminal background checks (for the most part).

How is Sealing Different From Expungement?

With criminal record sealing, your record still exists – it’s just that most people won’t be able to see it. If your record is expunged, it no longer exists; your records are either destroyed or returned to you.

Who Can See Sealed Records?

Very few people can see sealed criminal records. Those in law enforcement and working for the criminal justice system can see them, and so can some employers (like those in certain healthcare fields and the military). However, your landlord, your current employer (provided your employer isn’t one of the employers who is entitled to see sealed records) and members of the general public won’t be able to see it.

What About Other States?

We can only speak for Illinois – other states have different definitions of criminal record sealing and expungement. In some other states, “sealing” is the same thing as expungement is here.

You can’t seal records from other states in Illinois. If you have a criminal record from another state, you’ll have to follow that state’s rules and procedures to clear your criminal record.

What Does DIY Criminal Record Sealing Mean?

DIY criminal record sealing, or do-it-yourself criminal record sealing, is a process that you do yourself rather than hiring an attorney to do it for you. You can do your own criminal record sealing petition without paying a lawyer. In fact, we have a full suite of tools you can use to seal your criminal record on your own so that you don’t have to pay an attorney.

In our DIY sealing service, you’ll get:

  • Instant access to all the forms you need to seal your record ANYWHERE in Illinois
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to fill out and file your forms (in video and text formats)
  • Directions on where to file your forms for your jurisdiction
  • Exclusive access to a messaging system you can use to contact an attorney for free while you’re working through your own sealing case


Seal your own criminal record in Illinois now!