When a potential landlord, boss or loan manager conducts a background check, they see an applicant’s entire criminal record. This form includes arrests, convictions, traffic violations, and other confrontations with the law. Many people hesitate to work with former criminals, even if they have served their time. Thankfully, Illinois residents may have another option.
Illinois law allows people to erase specific offenses from their criminal records using expungement. Expungement hides infractions from public view, allowing a person to move on.
How to expunge a record in Illinois
Illinois law allows those who meet specific requirements to petition for expungement. This process involves collecting official documents and records, making copies and sending them to the correct government organizations. Many people find more success working with a local attorney familiar with criminal law to organize their expungement petition.
Individuals can follow these steps to file a petition for expungement:
- Obtain criminal record: Before expunging a criminal record, one must ask for copies. The county clerk stores court dispositions, the arresting police department holds arrest records and the record of arrests and prosecutions (RAP) sheet is accessible online.
- Complete the petition forms: Every county (or district) may have different rules for petitioning. Petitioners must fill out five copies of the expungement forms to submit to all relevant parties.
- Pay fees: People can submit the forms through the mail or in person. Depending on the county, totaled fees may cost up to $150.
- Wait: A court will send its decision within 60 days. Some districts may require the petitioner to attend a court date. Other involved entities may vacate this order, but petitioners may appeal a denial.
Questions? Find answers with a local attorney
Many citizens who have paid for their past mistakes still face the consequences in everyday life that prevent them from moving on. Expungement allows a person to obtain a second chance. Those who wish to begin the expungement process can reach out to a local lawyer familiar with Illinois criminal law.