Anyone convicted of a felony in Illinois can expect the charge to stay on their record for life unless there is a possibility of record expungement sometime in the future. Expungement is not offered as a general rule in Illinois. However, sealing is possible depending on the type of crime associated with the conviction. Felonies are easily the most serious criminal matters in any court system, and the details of the case can impact the decision to expunge in specific criminal situations.
Qualification for sealing
The first test for a record sealing is the type of crime and the date of release from custody and parole. Almost all convicted defendants will exit through the parole system as they return to society, and parole gives the state an opportunity to monitor behavior for a specific amount of time until they are assured the parolee poses no limited risk to the community. Different felonies have differing waiting periods for expungement requests, but 2-5 years is standard.
Restricted felony conviction sealing
There are some felony classifications that cannot be sealed for any reason. Those begin with sex offenses or any crime of a violent nature, and cases involving guns in the commission of a crime. Domestic violence cases also cannot be sealed, and there is a specific designation of no sealing for drunk driving convictions of any type.
Sealing serious felonies typically involves an attorney filing a petition with the court and allowing the judge to review the case particulars. The prosecutor will be informed and has an opportunity to contest the order. There will be a hearing when this occurs, but other than this the final decision rests with the judge.
It is always best to research whether or not a particular felony is eligible for expungement before beginning any process request. Many convictions are actually not eligible, especially those classified in the upper felony levels.