Things to Know About Expungement:

Decisive Utterance # 1

Definition of Expungement: “to physically destroy the records or return them to the petitioner and to obliterate the petitioner’s name from any official index, public record or both.” 2630/5.2a(1) (E)

In Illinois you are allowed to expunge your arrest record under certain statutory situations. The Expungement statute is 20ILCS2630/5.2. Only certain crimes and dispositions of those crimes are eligible for expungement. An example of that would be: If the arrest or charge sought to be expunged resulted in an acquittal or dismissal of the charges. The most common disposition that is expunged is when an order of supervision after a guilty plea or trial is entered by the court. A disposition of supervision is NOT considered a conviction under Illinois Law.

The statute also contains specific situations where expungement is not allowed. An example of where expungement is not available is any sexual offence committed against a minor; driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; or a felony. The expungement statute requires that certain dispositions of supervision require a waiting period of from 2 to 5 years at the end of a supervision disposition.

If a person is eligible for court supervision, a petition can be filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County on a preprinted form provided by the Clerk. The petition is forwarded to the arresting agency, the Illinois State Police, and the State’s Attorney of that County. The State can then chose to allow the petition to be uncontested and expungement will be ordered by the judge. If the petitioner is not eligible for an expungement because the sentence or disposition is specifically barred by the expungement statute then the State’s Attorney will file an objection which will then be heard at a contested hearing before the judge. Sounds simple and easy to do on your own right?

The Simple Answer is NO.

I recently represented a client who received a diversion program (a program offered by the State’s Attorney’s office to avoid having an arrest record) as a sentence which means that there was no conviction, no guilty plea, and no supervision. The defendant filed a petition to expunge the arrest. One would think that there would be no basis for an objection by the State and that the judge would grant the request. However, this defendant surprisingly received an objection from the State’s Attorney’s office. The written objection did not cite any of the statutory reasons for denial of the expungement petition but instead stated that “not enough time has passed to insure petitioner will remain law abiding”. Such a subjective and non-statutory basis to deny the petitioner’s request was clearly unfair. I prepared a written reply in support of the petitioner and argued in favor of allowing the expungement. The court granted the expungement petition over the State’s objection.

The expungement procedure may seem routine, but without legal assistance, this petitioner may have had the expungement request denied and that arrest record would follow the petitioner the rest of the petitioner’s life.

It is important to contact an attorney when dealing with such a life altering legal proceeding.

Please call : 847-559-9109 to speak with an attorney.