Sealing or Expunging your Criminal Record

The State Appellate Defender has a comprehensive guide to getting your criminal record expunged or convictions on your criminal record sealed:


Our guide on Prostitution Laws and Sentencing includes information on what types of prostitution-related sentences can be sealed and how long you have to wait to clear different types of convictions from your record.


For free legal aid on sealing and expunging records:

Criminal Department – Daley Center

 Room 1006

50 W. Washington St., Chicago, IL

From 9:00 a.m. Mon-Fri – walk-ins only – the first 25 people are served.

Cabrini Green Legal Aid

Clinic will you fill out your petition for a small fee or for free.

The Clinic also offers basic trainings for individuals who want to start the process of getting their record expunged:


740 N. Milwaukee


Quick Facts

  • Arrests are a part of your criminal record, even if your case was dismissed or you were found innocent. So if you’ve been arrested, you will have to expunge your criminal record.
  • If you have convictions on your record, you cannot expunge your record. However, you can seal Prostitution Misdemeanor & Felony Convictions (after 4 years) and Felony Drug Convictions (after 5 years).
  • Conviction =final judgment of guilt by the court. A conviction includes terms such as: Probation (except “710,” “1410,” “Section 10,” “Section 410,” “40-10,” or “TASC” probation), Conditional Discharge, Fine (without the term “supervision”), Time Served, Jail Time, Finding of Guilty by a judge or jury (without the term “supervision”), PG /FG (pleaded guilty/found guilty).
  • Non-Conviction = no final judgement of guilt by the court. Acquittal (Finding of Not Guilty); SOL (Stricken with Leave); FNPC (Finding of No Probable Cause); NP (Nolle Prosequi); No charges filed; Dismissal; Successfully completed supervision; Successfully completed Section 10,410 (710 or 1410), 70 or TASC Probation = a non-conviction.
  • Expunge = to physically destroy records or to return the records to the petitioner, and to obliterate (remove) the petitioner’s name from any official index or public record.
  • Seal = to physically and electronically maintain records, but to make the records unavailable to the public without a court order and to obliterate (remove) the petitioner’s name from any official index or public record. Law enforcement agencies and the courts will still have access to the records, as will a few employers and other entities as allowed by law.

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