Expunging my Criminal Record

Expunging my Criminal Record

Criminal Defense Attorney

Expunging my Criminal Record

Many individuals look for either sealing or expunging their criminal records to start a new life. Expunging records destroys criminal records from the public and in many cases, the records are returned. Sealing criminal records means they are not fully destroyed but are also not accessible for public viewing – unless a court order is brought. There are no legal requirements for employers to seek expunged or sealed criminal records.


The Illinois Criminal Identification Act oversees the expungement and sealing process, who qualifies for one and will allow for sealing and expungement of crimes related to marijuana possession from January 1, 2020. Seeking support from an Illinois criminal defense lawyer can help navigate the process and get your records sealed and expunged to start a new life.


Types of Charges that can be Expunged or Sealed

The Illinois Criminal Identification Act provides for expungement of offenses that are minor, or in conditions when an individual has never committed a crime before. Some offences that can be expunged include:


  • Arrests that didn’t result in a conviction or acquittal,
  • Completion of probation period under court supervision or otherwise such as Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC),
  • First-time drug offenses under the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, or the Cannabis Control Act,
  • Minor traffic offenses and any supervision orders as part of Criminal Identification Act.


Driving under influence (DUI) and having a driver’s license revoked due to reckless driving cannot be sealed or expunged.


Time Limitations

Criminal offenses can only be expunged after two (2) or five (5) years have passed after their occurrence. Qualified probation, use of false insurance, violation related to record-keeping, using an uninsured motor vehicle and using a motor vehicle without registration takes five (5) years.


If any criminal records are not expunged, they can still be sealed if the offense relates to possession of drugs, theft, forgery, and intend to hold, process, or distribute substance abuse. Minor traffic offenses, public indecency, domestic battery, dogfighting, violation of public order and driving under influence cannot be sealed. It can take from two (2) to twenty-five (25) years before criminal records are sealed.



A fee is paid to the circuit clerk and a petition is filed before sealing and expungement takes place. A notice is served to State Attorney, Department of Police and other agencies who made the arrest. A hearing is done to see if criminal records can be sealed and what the offense was.


If you wish to know more about whether you can expunge or seal your criminal record, contact Michael D. Ettinberg & Associates at (708) 923-0368 to schedule a free consultation or speak with an experienced criminal lawyer.