Beginning January 1, 2014, certain types of felony offenders will now be eligible to leave their criminal record in the past.

Under the new law, offenders with convictions for non-violent Class 3 and Class 4 felonies may petition to seal their criminal records four years after the successful completion of their last sentence. Previously, only Class 4 felonies involving possession of marijuana or a controlled substance, prostitution or a violation of the Methamphetamine Precursor Control Act or Steroid Control Act could be sealed.

The new guidelines do not however, permit sealing for felony convictions involving: 1) DUI, 2) reckless driving, 3) sex offenses, 4) dog fighting, 5) violating an order of protection, 6) violent crimes or 7) crimes requiring registration as a sex offender. Class A misdemeanors under the Humane Care for Animals Act are still not eligible for sealing.

To seal your record, you must file a petition with the court. The State’s Attorney, Illinois State Police and the arresting police department then have 60 days to object to your petition. In Chicago, a hearing may be set at the time you file your petition. Otherwise, your case may be set for hearing if there is an objection.

If you have questions about sealing or expunging your criminal record, contact an experienced criminal law attorney. Even with the changes in law, the rules for what can and cannot be expunged can be tricky. An attorney can help determine if you qualify and represent you in court if there is an objection to your request.

If you have questions about this or another related criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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