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Protecting Your Permanent Record

Joseph Angelillo, Esq. May 21, 2021

You did the crime, and also the time, and now you find yourself on the other end of the process having completed all the court required of you as punishment.

But with new horizons comes new challenges, and the new challenger takes the form of your permanent record.

While you no longer have a pending case with the court system, you’re now followed around by the specter that is your permanent record which is compiled by your past convictions, guilty pleas, and even arrests regardless of outcome. While you may find solace in the concept of ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ your permanent record has the chance of preventing you from obtaining employment, housing, and schooling opportunities regardless of the fact that everything on it was ‘merely in the past.’

But there are steps you can take in order to help protect yourself by either expunging your record, or sealing them to keep them from being seen barring a court order forcing them to be opened.

There isn’t a very large difference between having your record expunged or having it sealed. Both satisfy the main goal for you which in this case is preventing your personal record from being in broad daylight.

The first question you should ask is whether or not your record can be expunged, and if not, then you turn to whether or not it can then be sealed. Both processes require you to have to fill out court forms which you will then submit to the clerk of the circuit court where you were arrested at, as well as, pay a fee for the submission. From there, your petition to have your records expunged (or sealed) will make its way to:

County State’s Attorney;
Arresting Agencies (police departments);
Chief Legal Officers of the cities, towns, and villages where you were arrested;
Illinois State Police.

Each one of those agencies will then review your paperwork in order to ascertain whether or not they have any grounds to object to your record being expunged (or sealed) and whether or not they will in fact object to your petition. An attorney filing this paperwork won’t make it more or less likely that the State, or any of the other agencies underneath it, will object to your petition. But what they can guarantee is that it’s being filled out correctly, because an incorrectly filled out form can lead to the State objecting. Furthermore, there are situations where those that decide to forego the use of an attorney will take the time to fill out the paperwork, and pay the fee for their expungement, only to find that they misread the statute and that their crime isn’t available to be expunged or sealed.


Records that can be expunged are:

  • Arrests for misdemeanors and felonies that did not result in a conviction

  • Convictions for misdemeanors and felonies only if they were reversed, vacated, or pardoned. You must also have a Certificate of Eligibility from the Prisoner Review Board.

  • You are an honorably discharged veteran.

  • You were sentenced to supervision, you’ve successfully completed supervision, and the waiting period since the date of your completion has passed.

  • You were sentenced to qualified probation, and 5 years have passed since the date you successfully completed your qualified probation.

Cases that cannot be expunged, are:

  • Any federal or conviction outside of Illinois

  • Any sentences you have not yet completed, including parole, probation, or court supervision

  • Minor traffic offenses (unless you were released without being charged)

  • Convictions for misdemeanors and felonies (unless they were reversed, vacated, pardoned, or approved by the Prisoner Review Board)

  • Court Supervision or qualified probation that was not completed

  • Court Supervision for reckless driving (If you were 25 years old, or older, at the time)

  • Court supervision for sexual offenses against minors.

  • Court Supervision for driving under the influence.

  • Eviction cases

Record Sealing

Records that can be sealed, those include:

  • Arrests and charges for misdemeanors and felonies that did not lead to a conviction

  • Minor traffic offenses if you were released without being charged

  • Felony traffic offenses that were reduced to an eligible misdemeanor

  • Convictions for most misdemeanors and felonies 3 years after the end of the sentence.

  • A misdemeanor conviction of public indecency.

Records that cannot be sealed include:

  • Reckless Driving, unless you were under 25 at the time of the offense and you have no other prior convictions for DUI or Reckless Driving

  • Driving under the Influence

  • Domestic Battery

  • Violation of an Order of Protection

  • Violation of a Civil No-Contact Order

  • Violation of a Stalking No-Contact Order

  • Soliciting a Prostitute or Patronizing a Prostitute

  • Felony Conviction of Public Indecency

  • Any other misdemeanor offense listed under Article 11 of the Criminal Code

  • Any offense that requires registration under the Sex Offender Registration Act

  • Dog Fighting

  • Class A Misdemeanors under the Humane Care for Animals Act

Having your permanent record continually come back to haunt you is no way to go through life. Even more aggravating for those who have moved on in their lives and are try to achieve a better life, and having to be brought back to, and answer for, previous transgressions. If you fall within this category, then contact my office and I will go through your permanent record with you and together we can put the past where it belongs.