When a person is arrested or charged with a criminal offense in Illinois, a criminal record will be created even if the person is found not guilty. Criminal records can often be read by any member of the public. To get a criminal record erased or hidden, a person must file a Request to Expunge and/or Seal Criminal Records with a court to have a judge approve the request.
There are essentially three ways for people to erase their criminal records. Expungement erases arrests and court supervision from a person’s criminal record so it is like they never happened. Record sealing allows people to hide their criminal records from certain segments of the public, while still be accessible to entities such as law enforcement. Executive clemency is a pardon from the governor of Illinois that will authorize expungement.