Expungement and Sealing
Click here to find the most commonly used Expungement Forms.
What is Expungement?
Expungement is the process of legally destroying, obliterating or striking out records or information in files, computers and online databases relating to criminal charges.
What is Sealing?
Sealing is the process of removing criminal records from general review. Records are not destroyed, but cannot be viewed by the general public – for example, those considering you for employment or a loan. Records can only be viewed when allowed by court order.
How Do I Know if I Qualify?
The Expungement and Sealing of cases is an ideal option to prevent information about certain qualifying arrests and convictions from being viewed. To obtain more information about which types of arrests and convictions are eligible you should contact an attorney, the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation or the Office of the State Appellate Defender. The Circuit Clerk’s office cannot provide any additional information or assistance beyond the forms and filing procedures. This includes being able to make the determination as to whether a Petitioner qualifies for a Expungement or Sealing.
What is the Process of Applying for an Expungement or Sealing of my Criminal Record?
- Obtain the proper forms (linked below), and complete the paperwork. Be sure to answer all applicable questions. You may also use Illinois Legal Aid Online’s guided interview to complete the forms.
- File the paperwork with the Circuit Clerk including the Order and appropriate filing fee. The cost to file for expungement or sealing of a case is $120. If you cannot afford the filing fee you may wish to file an Application for Wavier of Court Fees.
- Once the petitions have been accepted, the Circuit Clerk’s office will electronically send a copy of the petition to the appropriate agencies.
- Once all the agencies have downloaded or viewed the petitions they will have 60 days to file an objection.
- If an objection is filed the Judiciary may wish to have a hearing set. If so, you will receive a Notice of Hearing in the mail from the Circuit Clerk with the date and time.
- If the Order is approved, the Circuit Clerk’s office will notify all agencies that they have 90 days from the receipt of the Order to destroy, return or seal all documents. A certified copy of the Order will also be sent to the petitioner. Be sure to keep this copy as getting a new one may not be possible.
- If the Order is denied, the Circuit Clerk will send a certified copy of the Order to the petitioner along with the refund of the $60.00 State Police Fee (the remaining filing fee is not refundable). The Order will indicate why the petition was denied.