- Your criminal records may only be expunged in limited circumstances.file folders image by CraterValley Photo from Fotolia.com
A criminal record in Illinois can be a major obstacle to getting a job, a loan, or even a driver's license. Fortunately, expungement allows all or part of your police and court records to be destroyed. In other cases, all or part of these records may be sealed so the general public can't investigate an embarrassing mistake from the past. However, only certain cases and causes allow either of these remedies.
Qualifications for Expungement
- Generally, expungement is easiest for those who have never been convicted of any crime. In that case, the qualifications involve submitting an expungement petition to the court and paying processing fees. An attorney might be useful in guiding you through the process. However, if you have any felony convictions, except for certain Class 4 drug and prostitution offenses, no part of your record may be expunged. Further, if you have been convicted of any crime and later arrested for a felony that does not result in a conviction, you still may not expunge the record of the second arrest and trial. A limited number of petty offenses may be expunged at any time, but misdemeanors involving drunk driving, sex crimes, and violent crimes can't be taken off your criminal record until four years have passed since the end of your probation, parole, or other sentence.
Qualifications for Juvenile Expungement
- Juvenile records may not be expunged (i.e. destroyed), but they may be sealed for any crimes committed before the age of 18. The only juvenile offenses that may not be sealed are first-degree murder and felony sex crimes. To expunge your juvenile record, file an expungement petition with the Illinois Clerk's Office. While private employers will not have access to your juvenile records, government agencies such as the FBI, the Department of Corrections, and the military may review them in regards to employment. If you are charged with a similar crime later in life, a prosecutor also can unseal your juvenile record.
- If you have been convicted of a felony or multiple misdemeanors, the only way to expunge your criminal record might be to obtain an executive pardon from the governor of Illinois. Pardons are rarely granted. However, if you are committed to expunging your record, submit a pardon application to the State of Illinois Prisoner Review Board. Along with information about your crimes, you will need to provide details on your life history and rehabilitation. A board will then hear your case and send a recommendation to the governor on whether your record qualifies for expungement. The governor is not obligated to follow the recommendation of the board.