Expunging and Sealing Records

A clean record can put you on the path to a better career, a better life.

Illinois law provides you an opportunity to clear Illinois criminal records and Illinois criminal arrest records by expungement ( petition to expunge ).  Generally, in cases of supervision dismissal or findings of not guilty, or alternatively, sealing ( petition to seal ) where misdemeanor convictions and a very few felonies are concerned. Sealing may also be an option where expungement is inappropriate in a case involving supervision.

Please read the following carefully to initially determine your eligibility to expunge or seal. If you believe you qualify, contact the Law Offices of Peter W. Lewis for a more thorough evaluation.

  • If you were placed on court supervision for an Illinois criminal misdemeanor violation (other than DUI), and have no other misdemeanor or felony convictions, you are likely eligible to expunge;
  • Most Illinois criminal sentences require a two year waiting period after termination of supervision expunge a supervision from Illinois criminal records;
  • Some Illinois criminal charges like retail theft require a five year waiting period after supervision for expungement from Illinois criminal records;
  • If you were charged with a crime, but the case was dismissed, or you were found not guilty, you may be eligible to expunge the records of your arrest much sooner, and sometimes almost immediately, if you have no other convictions on your record;
  • DUI conviction or supervision orders cannot be expunged, even after successful completion – only a dismissal or finding of not guilty can be expunged when the charge was DUI in Chicago;
  • Most felony convictions are ineligible to be expunged from a criminal record unless the probation was under section 410 or 710 first offender probation  for certain drug cases in which case you must wait 5 years after termination of the sentence before seeking expungement of the criminal record;
  • Certain misdemeanor convictions can now be sealed by a process similar to expungement, which closes the record from public viewing unless the Court specifically orders the record opened, or upon arrest for the same or similar offense or a felony. Some convictions like Assault, Battery or Domestic Battery are ineligible;
  • Certain Felony Drug Possession convictions for smaller amounts and Felony Prostitution convictions are eligible for sealing under certain circumstances;
  • Unlike expungement, a prior conviction does not necessarily preclude sealing a more recent conviction or supervision.