This section of the book discusses the process of expungement in the state of Illinois in the United States of America. Many questions that are frequently answered by people have been answered in this section, such as the kind of documents that are required, how much the entire process costs and whether or not a person will need to enlist the help or services of a lawyer.
In order to start the process of obtaining expunction, the individual himself or herself needs to take initiative by filling out the Petition form. It is up to the individual to ensure that all the information that has been provided on this form is filled out accurately and in great detail. If the court finds any information to be incorrect, misleading or missing, then it is possible that the individual’s application for having his or her records sealed or expunged will be turned down. This petition form has to be filed in that county where the individual was either charged for a certain conviction or criminal offense or where he or she was arrested.
Contrary to popular belief, a person does not need to employ the services of an attorney if he or she wishes to apply for expunction. At present, the procedure in Illinois has been designed in such a way to ensure that a person can go through the process on his or her own as well. However, if the person himself or herself wishes to get in touch with an attorney, then that is allowed obviously. The website of the Illinois government provides a list of attorneys – an individual can go through the list and consult any of the attorneys who have been listed there. The advantage of going through this list is that it contains the names and contact details of only those people who have entered into an agreement with the government to offer their services to people seeking expunction at little to no fee. It is important to keep in mind here that just because a person hires an attorney from this list does not mean that he or she will win the case, as the Office of the State Appellate Defender has not endorsed this list.
In general, if a person applies for expunction in the state of Illinois, he or she can expect to pay a filing fee to the courthouse. In addition to this filing fee, the individual will also have to pay approximately $60 to the department of the Illinois State Police. It is also possible for any local law enforcement authority or agency to charge a small processing fee on its own. The exact amount that has to be paid as filing fees tends to differ depending on the county in which the individual is filing his petition. In order to find out what this exact amount is for each county, a person can get in touch with the relevant Circuit Clerk.
If a person feels that the filing fee is too much for him or her to pay at this time that does not mean that he or she cannot apply for having his or her criminal records expunged. Instead, he or she is encouraged to fill out an application to obtain a waiver from the fee. This application also has to be submitted along with the petition form. These forms can be referred to as the ‘In Forma Pauperis’ or the ‘Application to Sue as an Indigent Person’.
Please visit the website of the Office of the State Appellate Defender (http://www.illinois.gov/osad/Pages/default.aspx) to find out more information and access the forms.
However, it is possible that a person’s jurisdiction does not have this form. In this case, the website of the government of the state of Illinois also offers a form known as the Indigency Application form. This can be submitted along with the application. However, the ultimate decision power resides with the judge. If the judge decides that the individual cannot be classified as an indigent individual, then he or she will be required to pay the fee.
A person applying for expunction can expect the entire process to last for approximately a few months. Once the petition form has been submitted, the State is allowed to take up to sixty days to determine whether it wants to accept or reject the Petition to Expunge or to Seal. Furthermore, the total time it takes also depends on other factors, such as which jurisdiction the individual is in and whether or not the court has any objections with the person’s petition. In addition to this, if the judge does rule for expunction or record sealing, it can take an additional sixty days for the law enforcement institutions to process the orders that have been issued by the court.
There are certain convictions or criminal charges for which a person cannot obtain expunction in the state of Florida. If a person has been charged for driving under the influence or assault or aggravated assault, then he or she cannot be considered eligible for expunction. Other convictions or charges that make a person ineligible for expunction include pimping, soliciting a prostitute, fornication, patronizing a prostitute, adultery, public indecency or sexually exploiting a child. A person who has been charged with reckless conduct or batter may not apply to have his or her criminal records expunged.
In addition to the aforementioned examples, if a person has violated the Human Care for Animal Act or the Order of Protection, then he or she is not deemed to be eligible for having his or her criminal records expunged. Furthermore, a person who has been registered as a sex offender according to the Sex Offender Registration Act also cannot apply to the court and the judge to have his or her criminal records or files completely removed, obliterated and deleted. If a person has violated the Cannabis Control Act, the Illinois Controlled Substance Act, the Illinois Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependence Act, then or she can apply for expunction approximately five years after he or she has successfully completed the probation or if the probation has been terminated, given that there not any other criminal charges.