In the state of Illinois, as well as all over the United States, any arrest that is made will go on the record. Even if an arrest did not result in a conviction it will still remain on an individual's record despite the passing of time. Arrest records do no disappear on their own. The only way for a previous arrest record to be eliminated is through expungement. In some states there is expungement for certain misdemeanor and felony convictions, but in Illinois the only cases that are eligible for expungement are those that did not receive convictions. This includes convictions in other states also. Expungement petitions are granted a majority of the time. Those that are eligible for expungement do not always receive this order because expungement is not a right, it is a privilege. The granting of this privilege depends solely on the judicial system of Illinois. For instance an individual may not be granted expungement because he or she was arrested yet not convicted of battery seven times. In this case the erasing of the record is not in the favor of the court.
Under certain circumstances Class 4 Felony cases can be expunged. Also if an individual has been arrested for a driving under the influence charge, he or she is not eligible for expungement, even if there was a plea of guilty, probation, supervision, or conditional discharge. DUI charges can only be erased through the pardoning of the Governor. Even as some charges are not eligible for expungement, some are eligible for record sealing.
The Illinois Expungement Process
In Illinois all expungement petitions are to be sent to the county judge in which the arrest took place. Once granted, all original records shall be returned from the Illinois State Police, the city police where the arrest took place, and the FBI. These files include the arresting records, mug shots, and fingerprints. All internal computer records will be eliminated and removed from public accessing systems. The files are then sealed at the courthouse to prevent public access. In the cases of multiple arrests in different counties in Illinois, petitions must be sent to each county courthouse.
Many records cannot be expunged, but some records can be sealed if there has been a conviction. The state of Illinois offers two kinds of sealing: complete sealing and partial sealing. Complete sealing is where all cases on record are sealed from public access although all arresting agencies and government services still have access. These can include records of thrown out cases and dismissed cases, such as some misdemeanor charges. In complete sealing the entire record is sealed. In partial sealing only certain portions of a record are sealed. Partial sealing is sealing of some criminal offenses on a record but not others. This can eliminate a long list of charges even if others remain.
In record sealing no felony conviction is eligible for sealing nor are misdemeanors deemed as violent crime convictions. Most misdemeanor convictions are able to be sealed in Illinois along with some Class 4 Felonies. See also:
Illinois Misdemeanor External link (opens in new window)
Illinois Felony External link (opens in new window)
Illinois Gun Laws External link (opens in new window)