The Process of Clearing Your Criminal Record: Part 2
If you have a criminal record, or even a simple arrest, it may be holding you back from your life goals. You may be ineligible for a job that you would like or you may have been denied access to a rental or mortgage agreement. If you are having difficulties in everyday life due to what is being seen on your public criminal record, you may consider expunging or sealing your records.
Step by Step
The expunging and sealing laws were created in order to make clearing a record accessible to the public. Therefore, so long as you qualify based on the description previously discussed in part one of this series, and you follow the guidelines, you should not have many troubles in getting your case expunged. The steps are as follows:
Fill Out the Forms: There are necessary forms for filling out and filing to start the process. Each county has their own set of forms, which can be either generic or specialized. The proper forms that must be completed are the ones that belong to the county in which the charges were created. These may be obtained from a lawyer or the circuit clerk.
File a Petition: A petition for expunging or sealing your record must be completed and filed also in the same county in which the charges were created. The circuit clerk will then provide you information on the costs for filing as well as scheduling a court date. If you have more than one charge in that county or district, then you should ask the clerk to list all of the charges to expunge. If there are multiple charges, yet they are in different counties or districts, you must petition for expungement in each of the individual courts.
Pay the Costs: The costs for each county are different and the clerk can explain the fees. If you believe you can not afford the fees, then you can apply for a “Pauper’s Petition” and take the petition to a judge who will then determine if you qualify for a fee waiver. There is also an additional fee of $60 that must be paid to the Illinois State Police Bureau of Identification if your petition is granted. It is also the right of the arresting police bureau to charge a fee to expunge or seal a record.
Provide Notice: You will need to give a notice to several entities if you have filed a petition for expungement. These include:
The prosecution (either the State’s Attorney or the City/Village Attorney);
The arresting agency;
The Illinois Department of State Police; and
The chief legal officer.
Court: A date to appear in court may be ordered by a judge, yet in some counties (including Cook County), this can all be handled administratively out of court. In these situations in which the case was handled without an appearance, and if it resulted in a denial of your expungement or sealing, you can request a court hearing in order to argue your side of the case and to potentially have the court reconsider your denial.
Order of Expungement
By law, there is a waiting period of 30 days after the notice of the petition to file for expungement was delivered to the respective agencies. This is the time period in which those agencies go over your records in detail in order to determine if you are indeed eligible for expungement. If there is no issue brought to light during this time period, then there is likely to be no reason you could not have your case approved. Once the approval is given, either the judge or yourself will deliver the orders to the appropriate agencies. This is dependent upon each county as to who makes the delivery of the order to destroy or return the records.
Order to Seal
The same is true for sealing. There is a waiting period between the notice to file a petition and the court date. No Order to Seal Records will be valid until after 90 days have passed since the notification. After this period ends and no objections are raised, then the petition will likely be approved and the order must be sent to the appropriate locations.
If you are experiencing difficulty in accomplishing life goals due to an arrest that is showing on your record, please contact a knowledgeable and experienced DuPage County, IL criminal defense attorney. Call us today at 630-580-6373. We have several convenient locations to serve you.