Pursuant to Illinois law, certain criminal cases are eligible to be “expunged” or “sealed,” thereby removing them from a defendant’s criminal history records or accessibility to the public, respectively. Individuals often pursue expungement and or sealing of their criminal records 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. Individuals must meet certain eligibility requirements and pay a mandatory fee in order to expunge and or seal a criminal arrest or record.
The Fifth Municipal District has two potential avenues for expungements/sealings. Those cases that proceed through the proper filing methods are reviewed by the State’s Attorney’s Office; if the State's Attorney Office has no objection, the cases are sent to the Presiding Judge for a second review and entry of the appropriate order by the Presiding Judge. Those cases to which the State’s Attorney’s Office objects are set on the monthly Expungement Call for a formal hearing before the Presiding Judge or his or her designee. The Expungement Call in the Fifth Municipal District is heard on the third Wednesday of each month at 10:30 a.m.
To understand the Expungement/Sealing Procedure, it is helpful to review the process by which the petitions for expungment and or sealing are filed and the steps through which they proceed. Upon the filing of a Petition to Expunge and/or Seal, the following steps occur:
1. Petition is filed with Clerk’s Office and receives case number.
2. A copy of the petition along with a receipt for the fee is given to the petitioner.
3. The Clerk’s office sends out three copies of the petition, one each to:
1) Illinois State Police
2) Arresting Agency
3) Village Prosecutor
4. A court sheet and index card are created for the petition and it is logged into the Clerk’s book and data entered into the Clerk’s computer system.
5. The fee is sent to the Clerk’s accounting department downtown where it is retained until there is a disposition on the case.
6. The petition/case file is brought to a Presiding Judge’s staff member who creates an index card for the case.
7. The petition/case file is then brought to the State’s Attorney’s Office for review as to whether any objection to the petition will be raised.
8. Petitions wherein objections are raised are placed on the “Expungement Court Call” for a date certain. Petitions wherein no objections are raised are sent back to the Presiding Judge’s Office for his/her review and signature.
9. The final dispositions on the “no objection” files are recorded and entered into a data base by a Presiding Judge’s staff member.
10. These “no objection” files are then returned to the “Expungement Clerk” in the Clerk’s office who follows through to the end with proper notice to all of the appropriate parties.