Pursuant to Illinois law, certain cases are eligible to be “expunged” or “sealed,”thereby removing them from a defendant’s criminal history record or accessibility to the public, respectively. Individuals who have criminal records eligible for this procedure might seek to use it in order to obtain a job, protect a current job, help them with certain licensing prospects, or just eliminate the potentially damaging effects of a criminal history record. An individual must meet certain eligibility requirements and pay a mandatory fee in order to expunge and/or seal a criminal arrest or record.
It is helpful to review the process by which these petitions are filed in the Criminal Division and the steps through which they proceed in order to understand the Expungement/ Sealing Procedure. Upon the filing of a Petition to Expunge and/or Seal, the following steps occur:
- A petition is filed with the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court on the fifth floor of the Criminal Court Administration Building at 2650 W. California Ave., Chicago, Illinois, and it receives a case number.
- A copy of the petition along with a receipt for the fee is given to the petitioner.
- The Clerk’s office sends out three copies of the petition to: the Illinois State Police, the arresting agency and the Chicago Corporation Counsel.
- A court sheet and index card are created for the petition, and it is logged into the Clerk’s book and data is entered into the Clerk’s computer system.
- The case is then assigned to the Presiding Judge of the Criminal Court who hears these cases at 1 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in courtroom 101.