Application Process for Expunging Adult Criminal Records in Illinois

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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The expungement process involves several steps.

The first step is to obtain a copy of your criminal record also referred to as your “rap sheet”. You must go to the police station and request this information yourself. The police will take your fingerprints and then print out a copy of your rap sheet for that district. You need to obtain your rap sheet from each police department that arrested you.

Once you have your criminal record, go to the clerk of the district court in the district where your case was filed to obtain the necessary forms which are the “Petition to Expunge” and “Order to Expunge”. The clerk will provide you with further information about the procedure, including filing fees, scheduling of court dates, etc.

You will need to make copies of the petition so that the clerk can send copies to the following agencies: the State’s Attorney of the county that you are filing in, the Illinois State Police, the Arresting Authority; and the Chief Legal Officer of the unit of local government that arrested you.

Once you have filed your Petition to Expunge, the various agencies have 60 days to file an objection. The court will notify you whether or not a hearing is required. If your Petition is granted, the Circuit Clerk will mail a copy of the order to all applicable agencies. For further online information and forms, visit

If there were arrests in multiple counties, petitions must be filed in each county courthouse. Additionally, local procedures may be slightly different and should be followed. For example, Cook County uses its own procedures and uses its own forms for expungement.

Finally, if you were the victim of criminal identity theft, you can have your record expunged, but the procedure is different. You will need to contact the Circuit Court in the county where the ID theft occurred. For more information click The guidelines for getting your Illinois adult criminal record expunged are set forth in the “Criminal Identification Act”. 

For more information on expunging Illinois criminal records, click on the following articles:

Application Process to Expunge Juvenile Criminal Records in Illinois

Sealing of Criminal Records in Illinois

Application Process for Sealing Criminal Records in Illinois

Clearing of Criminal Records or Expungement in Illinois

Clearing or Expungement of Juvenile Criminal Records in Illinois

Using an Attorney to Clear or Expunge Illinois Criminal Record

Certificates of Relief from Disabilities and Good Conduct in Illinois

Eligibility for Expungement of Adult Criminal Records in Illinois

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