Expungement—Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between expunging and sealing records?
Expunged:When a record is expunged, it is destroyed by the agency like it never existed.
Sealed:When an Illinois State Police record is sealed, it is no longer available to your employer or other members of the public, but can still be seen by law enforcement agencies. When a Clerk's Office record is sealed it is no longer available to employers or other members of the public, but can be viewed by members of the public if a Judge specifically orders that they can be reviewed.
Although you petitioned the court to expunge your records, the remedy will actually be a combination of expunging and sealing, depending upon the nature of your record. If you petition the courts to Expunge your records, (which means that you were acquitted, released without conviction, or had an order of supervision entered and 2 years have elapsed), the agency that arrested you and the Illinois State Police will expunge your records. The Clerk's Office will seal your records and remove your name from the electronic index.
If you used the Petition to Expunge and Seal (which means that you were placed on supervision or probation and five years have elapsed), the agency that arrested you will expunge your records.The Illinois State Police will only seal your records. The Clerk's Office will also seal your records and remove your name from the electronic index.
How much does it cost to process an expungement?
A non-refundable fee of $120.00 per petition is payable to the Clerk of the Circuit Court. Multiple cases that arise in the same Division, Department or District may be filed on one Petition. However when filing multiple cases on one Petition, if one case is denied, all cases filed on that particular Petition will be denied.
How do you make sure that all the cases involving me are listed on my petition(s)?
You may request the Chicago Police Department or Illinois State Police to conduct a criminal record search for your fingerprint number or name. This would be a way to confirm that you list all cases, it is your responsibility to list all cases. The phone number of the Chicago Police Department Records is (312) 745-5570. The Illinois State Police Department Records phone number is (815) 740-5160. Fees for fingerprint conviction is $20.00, the fee for non-fingerprint conviction is $16.00.
Which forms do I fill out?
See Forms Needed link above.
Where do you file petitions?
See Procedure link above.
What happens after I have sent copies of my Petition(s) to all the required entities?
After you have sent copies of your Petition(s) to the State's Attorney, the Illinois State Police, the agency that arrested you and the unit of local government where you were arrested, these agencies have 30 days within which to approve or deny your Petition(s). You will receive a copy of the Order from the courts if approved. If 30 days have passed you can contact the Clerk's Office of the Court where you filed your Petition(s).
What if my petitions(s) are denied, can I appeal?
You may ask the Presiding Judge of the Court to reconsider your Petition(s). To do this you can file a Motion and Notice of Motion and serve a copy of these on the four required entities.
Finally, if you do not qualify for an expungement and you were charged with a misdemeanor or municipal ordinance violation, check to see if you qualify for the separate procedure of "sealing" your records under 20ILCS 2630/5 (h)-(i). If a judge determiness that you qualify for sealing of your records, all qualifying records will be sealed by the arresting authority and the Clerk's Office.