In Illinois, an individual may request an expungement to clear certain charges from their criminal record. Only certain charges are eligible for expungement, and it is best to first determine if the charge is eligible before wasting time and money on filing a Petition for Expungement.
The following situations are more likely to result in expungement: (1) Formal charges were never filed; (2) The charges resulted in an acquittal or dismissal; (3) the conviction was reversed or vacated; (4) an individual was successfully discharged following a sentence of court supervision; or (5) an individual was released without conviction following a period of probation.
Unfortunately, even if the charge falls under section (4) or (5), only certain charges are available for expungement, and the amount of time you must wait to request an expungement varies depending on the charge and the period of probation or court supervision. For instance, minor traffic offenses, are NOT considered criminal offenses for the purposes of expungement, and can therefore not be expunged.
To request an expungement, a Petition for Expungement is filed in the Circuit Court in which the charges were filed. The Court will serve the Petition on the appropriate governmental entities, and each entity is given sixty (60) days to file objections to the request for expungement. If objections are filed, a court date may be required, and the court will set the matter for hearing.
In Illinois, an expungement is not the only way to help clear a criminal record or to make sure that a charge is out of the public domain. If a charge is not available for expungement, other legal options include sealing the records, or petitioning the Governor of Illinois for executive clemency.
Finally, I note that those currently prohibited from possessing a firearm in Illinois can seek a restoration of their gun rights. My firm handles such cases and I find it particularly rewarding to help clients seek the restoration of their right to have a gun for self defense, hunting, and other lawful purposes.