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Chicago Expungement Attorney

When you are arrested or charged with an offense, a criminal record is created, even if you are released without being charged or found not guilty. These criminal records can be viewed by the public, including potential employers.

You can hide some of these charges from being seen by the general public. This is called sealing. You might even be able to have these records destroyed. This is called expungement. Whether you qualify depends on a number of factors:

  • What type of crime you were arrested or charged with;
  • What happened in the case; and
  • How long it’s been since it happened

Understanding the differences between expungements and sealing can be tough, which is why the Law Office of William Carlos Weeden is here to help. We understand that this can be a confusing topic, but pursuing a clean record can be an effective tool for your future

Expungement and sealing are two different options that remove records from public view. Expungement erases the record so that it’s like it never happened. Sealing means that it is just hidden from most of the public’s view, but certain agencies and employers can still see it.


Expungement can remove arrests, court supervisions, and certain probations from your criminal record.

You cannot expunge convictions. A conviction is when you are found guilty and sentenced to:

  • Fines for ordinance violations
  • Regular probation (other than “710,” “1410,” “TASC,” or other “qualified” probations)
  • Time considered served
  • Jail or prison time
  • Conditional discharge
  • Supervisions or qualified probations that are not successfully completed

If your request for expungement is approved, the following happens:

  • The arresting authority, State Police Department, and FBI remove your arrest record from their official files;
  • The circuit clerk removes your name from the public record, and does not let anyone see it;
  • Even though your record is officially clear, the Department of Corrections and law enforcement agencies will still have access to the expunged record for offenses requiring a 5-year waiting period only (710-1410 probation, TASC probation, etc., and supervision for domestic battery or criminal sexual assault); and
  • Your criminal record no longer appears on background checks.


When a record is sealed, it cannot be seen by the general public.

However, employers required by law to do background checks can still see sealed felony convictions. Examples of these employers are:

  • A hospital or school
  • An organization that requires you to work with or around children
  • Fire departments, police departments, or other public or government jobs

No other employer can see any cases that are sealed. Landlords also cannot see any record that has been sealed.

Law enforcement agencies, on the other hand, can still see sealed records. Law enforcement agencies include police departments, the courts, and State’s Attorneys.

Sealed records cannot be accessed without a court order. This also applies to you.


Automatic Expungement

Arrest and court records will be automatically expunged in the following cases:

  • Arrest that did not result in charges. 

The expungement will happen one year after the arrest. It must be six months after any later arrests or charges.

  • Arrest and court records of cases if they result in:
    • Dismissal
    • Finding of “not delinquent.”
    • Order of supervision that is terminated successfully
    • Finding of guilt for a Class B or C misdemeanor or petty or business offense.
    • Finding of guilt for a Class A misdemeanor or non-violent felony. Expungement will happen 2 years after case is closed. Must be no other pending cases or findings of guilty.

You can make sure the automatic expungement has worked by contacting the law enforcement agency that arrested you. There should be no record of your arrest after the expungement process.

If you are not eligible for automatic expungement, you can still petition the court to expunge your record. Learn more about What juvenile records can be expunged.

Expunging the Juvenile Record

If you were arrested before your 18th birthday and the case was handled in juvenile court, you have a juvenile record. Juvenile records are different from criminal records. Criminal records come from cases handled in adult court. Juvenile records do not affect your eligibility to expunge your criminal record.

Juvenile arrest and court records are automatically sealed. This means they can only be seen by certain government agencies and employers. This is different from adult records which anyone can view. When a juvenile expungement is granted, however, these government agencies and employers can no longer see these records.

Immigration and Expugement

Immigration officials may have access to erased records or see that you had an arrest expunged, but can not see the details of that arrest. Speak to an immigration lawyer about how getting an arrest expunged could impact one’s immigration status.  

If you are not a US citizen, you should consult an immigration lawyer before you try to seal or expunge your record.

In immigration proceedings, any evidence of criminal activity may be used against you. It will not matter if the record has been sealed. The record can still be used in proceedings.

Expunged juvenile records may still be seen and considered by immigration officials. If you are not a US citizen, you should talk to an immigration lawyer before trying to expunge your juvenile record.

Chicago Expungement Attorney

The Law Office of William Carlos Weeden can provide you the focused and experienced representation you need when seeking to expunge your criminal record. Our office will work to locate all possible government records related to your arrest and conviction, so that your criminal history can be minimized to the fullest extent allowed by law. Trust your criminal record expungement matter  to a knowledgeable Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney. Contact our office today at (773) 683-1060 for a confidential initial consultation at no cost.

Call us: 773.683.1060 Criminal Matters 24/7

Law Office of William Carlos Weeden

The information on this website has been provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice nor create an attorney-client relationship or warrant that a certain result will be attained in a specific case. The Supreme Court of Illinois does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law and the certificate, award or recognition is not a requirement to practice law in Illinois. We encourage you to contact us or another legal professional for advice regarding your individual situation.

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