Getting arrested creates a record that will remain with the person for the rest of their lives.  Even if found not guilty, the record remains and can lead to trouble getting a job, housing and anything that requires a background check. Fortunately, there is some relief but action must be taken because criminal records never expire.

On May 21
st, I attended the monthly CSAC West meeting held at the 15th Police District building on Madison St. The meeting every 3rd Thursday of the month and is open to anyone. One of the guest speakers was Courtney Kelledes, a Staff Attorney for Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA), a nonprofit legal aid organization. For more about CGLA visit www.cgla.net. The information in this post came from Ms. Kelledes’s presentation.

There are three kinds of relief from the disabilities imposed criminal records: Expungement, record sealing and certificates/waivers. Each state has it’s own definitions and laws on this topic. This article applies only to Illinois.

Expungement essentially destroys the records. Once expunged, the records cannot be accessed by the public or by employers. However, they will be available to police and the courts on subsequent arrests. Convictions cannot be expunged. Only non-convictions, like arrests, being found not guilty, or supervisions can be expunged.

Record sealing is similar to expungement but the records are available to certain employers that are required to fingerprint employee candidates. Some convictions can be sealed.

Certificates and waivers are available to those who qualify. These documents can waive certain statutory barriers around professional licensing and careers in fields such as healthcare.

Go to the downloads section to download
Expungement.pdf that describes all this in more detail.  That document was prepared by CGLA.

CGLA also offers the Expungement Help Desk in two locations.

Daley Center (50) W. Washington St. Room 1006,
Monday thru Wednesday 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM,
Thursday 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.  

District 6, Markham Courthouse
16501 S. Kedzie Parkway, Room 102J
Wednesdays from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

It costs $16 and you will need a copy of your Chicago RAP sheet to receive assistance.

Please download and read the Expungement.pdf before going.


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