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  • Evan M. Howard

Record Expungements and Seals

Let’s face it, we’ve all made mistakes and there’s a couple of those mistakes we wish never happened. Even the smallest of offenses could have an impact on certain things in your life such as employment opportunities, housing, state certifications (teaching and nursing), as well as gaining custody of your own children. Expunging or sealing your criminal record will give you the opportunity of a fresh start.

In January of 2004 the State of Illinois enacted a law allowing individuals with certain types of arrests, felonies, and misdemeanors to clear their records without the help from an attorney. The State has provided guidelines and forms to help those individuals walk through what is needed in order to request a court to either expunge or seal their records:

Criminal and Traffic Expungement Guidelines and Forms

Criminal and Traffic Sealing Guidelines and Forms

Difference between expungement and sealing records

The process for both expunging and sealing your records are virtually the same, but the results are completely different. Sealing your record is done by petitioning the court to place your record “under seal.” Your record is not destroyed, but instead are no longer accessible to employer, members of the public, and some public entities. An important factor here is that law enforcement officers still retain access to viewing your prior arrests or convictions.

The expungement process involves a person petitioning the court in the county where they were arrested and request the record be either destroyed or returned to the arrestee. The record would include fingerprints, mug shots, and other records of identification. After successfully petitioning the court, your record will no longer be viewable to the public or employers.

Cost to expunge a criminal record

When filing your petition for expungement, there is a filing fee associated with your petition. Contact your local Clerk’s office for exact fees. In Cook County, Illinois, the cost is $120 plus $9 for each individual case.

Do you really need an attorney?

Illinois has taken a great deal of time to help out individuals trying to clear their names with the forms listed above. These forms go into great detail walking a person through exactly what is needed to file a petition for expungement or record seal. If you don’t want to take the time or honestly just don’t have the time to walk through the entire process on your own, Howard Law will help guide you through the process and quickly and easily as possible.

Contact Howard Law for a free consultation about your record expungement or record sealment at (312) 469-0758.

Helpful Links: Illinois Legal Aid Illinois Appellate Defender

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