Can You Expunge Your Record? What Qualifies to Expunge?

I get many, many phone calls from people wanting to expunge or seal their criminal records. Many times these callers have no idea whether they qualify to have their records expunged or sealed.

First, think about the reason behind expungement: it is the government's way of forgiving your crime, provided you meet certain qualifications. Ask yourself: is my crime the kind of crime the government would probably allow a person to erase from their record, or is it the kind of crime the government would want the public to know about?

Take a violent crime, as an example. If someone was convicted of a violent crime, the government is not going to want to erase this from their record.

In addition, almost any convictions a person gets either before or after the charge they want expunged, will make the once expungeble crime not elligible for expungement. Therefore, you should expunge your record as soon as the law allows so you don't get into a situation where you can no longer expunge something that was once expungeable.

To simplify it, if your charge has anything listed below, you CANNOT expunge it:

  • Probation (other than first offender drug probation known as 410, 710, 1410, 40-10, or section 10 probation)
  • Conditional Discharge
  • Fine (without the word supervision)
  • Time served
  • Jail or DOC time
  • Finding of guilty by judge or jury (without supervision)
  • Any sexual offense against a child (regardless of whether you got supervision)
  • Driving Under the Influence/DUI (regardless of whether you got supervision)
  • Reckelss Driving (regardless of whether you got supervision)

So, what CAN be expunged?

  • You were released without being charged
  • You were found not guilty
  • Your conviction was vacated or reversed
  • You were granted an Executive Pardon from the Governor which authorizes expungement
  • Some supervisions and some probation (see below)

If you received supervision you CANNOT expunge it if:

  • It is for a sexual offense against a child, a DUI or reckless driving
  • You have ever been convicted of a crime
  • You have ever had supervision for a sexual offense against a child, a DUI or a reckless driving

If you received supervision for these offenses, you must wait 5 years from when your supervision ended before you can expunge as long as you don't meet any of the 3 points above:

  • Domestic Battery
  • Criminal Sexual Abuse
  • Operating Uninsured Motor Vehicle
  • Disply of False Insurance Card
  • Scrap Processors To Keep Records

Any other supervisions have a 2 year waiting period.

If you received probation you can expunge after 5 years from when your probation successfully ended if:

  • You've never been convicted of any other crime
  • You've never had supervision for a sexual offense against a child, a DUI or reckless driving

AND your charges are one of the following, otherwise you cannot expunge your probation:

  • Section 10, Cannabis Control Act
  • Section 410, Illinois Controlled Substances Act
  • Section 70, Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act
  • Section 40-10, Alcoholism and Other Drug Use Dependancy Act
  • Section 10, Steroid Control Act

This is a full list of what can and cannot be expunged. Stay tuned for the next blog post about what you may be able to seal if you cannot expunge it.

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