Expungement in Illinois
Any arrest in the state of Illinois, as well as throughout the United States, will be recorded. Even if an arrest does not result in a conviction, it will remain on a person’s record indefinitely. Arrest records do not vanish on their own. The only way to clear a previous arrest record is through expungement. In some states, certain misdemeanor and felony convictions can be expunged, but in Illinois, the only cases eligible for expungement are those that did not result in convictions. Convictions in other states are also included. The majority of expungement petitions are granted. Those who are eligible for expungement do not always receive this order because expungement is a privilege rather than a right. The granting of this privilege is entirely dependent on the Illinois judicial system. For example, a person may be denied expungement because he or she was arrested but not convicted of battery seven times. In this case, erasing the record is not in the court’s favor.
Class 4 Felony cases can be expunged in certain circumstances. Furthermore, if an individual has been arrested for driving under the influence, he or she is not eligible for expungement, even if a guilty plea, probation, supervision, or conditional discharge was entered. DUI charges can only be expunged with the Governor’s pardon. While some charges are not expungable, others are eligible for record sealing.
Expungement Procedure in Illinois
In Illinois, all expungement petitions must be filed with the county judge in the county where the arrest occurred. Once granted, all original records from the Illinois State Police, the city police where the arrest occurred, and the FBI must be returned. These files contain information such as arrest records, mug shots, and fingerprints. All internal computer records will be deleted and all public accessing systems will be disabled. The courthouse then seals the files to prevent public access. Petition must be sent to each county courthouse in the case of multiple arrests in different counties in Illinois.
Sealing of Records
Many records cannot be expunged, but if a conviction has occurred, some records can be sealed. Illinois provides two types of sealing: complete sealing and partial sealing. Complete sealing occurs when all cases on record are sealed from public access while all arresting agencies and government services retain access. Records of thrown out and dismissed cases, such as misdemeanor charges, can be included. The entire record is sealed when complete sealing is used. Only a portion of a record is sealed when it is partially sealed. Partial sealing refers to the sealing of some criminal offenses but not others on a record. This can result in the dismissal of a large number of charges, even if others remain.
No felony convictions or misdemeanors considered violent crime convictions are eligible for record sealing. In Illinois, most misdemeanor convictions, as well as some Class 4 felonies, can be sealed.