On August 24, 2017, Governor Rauner signed HB 2373 into law and it became effective immediately. Public Act 100-0284 is the largest sealing expansion that Illinois or any other state has ever passed! Illinois is now the nation’s leader in removing collateral consequences for people impacted by the criminal system and focuses on reducing recidivism to ensure that Illinois families can achieve positive outcomes associated with stable housing, access to employment and educational options.
What is now eligible to be sealed?
Before August 24, only 9 felony convictions were eligible for sealing. Now every felony is eligible for relief, with only four exceptions: (1) DUIs and reckless driving, (2) animal crimes, (3) sex offenses (except prostitution and misdemeanor public indecency), (4) domestic battery and violations orders of protections. ALL OTHER FELONY AND MISDEMEANOR CONVICTIONS ARE ELIGIBLE FOR SEALING!
Where can you get help to seal your record?
If you or someone you know would like to petition to have your convictions sealed, you can start today. The first step is to obtain your Chicago Police and Illinois State Police Rap sheet from the Chicago Police Department at the Chicago Police Department Headquarters located at 3510 S. Michigan Ave. You must appear in person between 8:30 am and 12 pm, Monday thru Friday. The cost for a Rap sheet is $16. For complete advice on your criminal record, ask for your Statewide Background Report. You can return 1 week later to pick up adult Rap sheets between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm. Juvenile records Rap sheets are free and can be picked up on the same day. See Cabrini Green Legal Aid’s Sealing FAQ for more information.
To receive legal assistance by having petitions to expunge and seal prepared, bring all 3 Rap sheets – Adult Chicago, Illinois State Police/Statewide and Juvenile – to a Cabrini Green Legal Aid’s Help Desk at the Daley Center or Markham Courthouse. Please note the help desks are first-come, first-served, so please arrive early as the help desks only have capacity to assist so many people in one day.
Daley Center Help Desk
50 W. Washington St. Room 1006
M-Th 9-12 & Th. 1-4pm
*Sign in starts at 30 minutes early!
Markham Courthouse Help Desk
16501 S. Kedzie Pkwy. Room
Wednesdays, 10am – 2pm
*Drop off starts at 9am
How long do you have to wait to seal your record?
You can file a petition to seal three years after you completed your last sentence (completion is when you finish probation or parole). If you received a degree, diploma or career certification during your last sentence, you are eligible to petition immediately after your sentence ends. If you have to register on the Murder or Violent Offender against Youth Registry, that case is eligible once you no longer have to register.
What does sealing do?
Sealing hides the information from public view, though it may still be accessed by law enforcement and employers who run fingerprint-based background checks. The sealed record will not show up on private background checks for employers or landlords.
Will my sealing be automatically granted?
No. You have to petition the court where the conviction occurred. The prosecutor, arresting agency and Illinois State Police have 60 days to file an objection. If an objection is filed, you go to a hearing before a judge, who weighs your past record against what you are doing today and why you need the relief. It is up to the judge whether to seal your records.
This monumental expansion would not have been possible without your advocacy! Thank you to our FORCE leaders, RROCI (Restoring Rights and Opportunities Coalition of Illinois) partners, and chief sponsors Representative Camille Lilly and Senator Don Harmon for leading this important work.
RROCI is a coalition spearheaded by Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Community Renewal Society, and Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights. RROCI is committed to solutions driven with a community voice and believes that Illinois needs a fair system of justice that recognizes human dignity and that everyone deserves a meaningful future.