Chicago, IL Expungement Lawyers

People with qualifying arrests and convictions may petition the court of their sentencing county to expunge or seal their records. We can answer your questions regarding eligibility for expungement and sealing.

Sealing or Expunging Criminal Records

It is a common misconception that if a person is arrested and charged with a criminal offense, and the charge is later dismissed, there will be no record of the offense on the person’s record. As many individuals discover unexpectedly, this is not necessarily the case. When a person is detained by law enforcement, regardless of the outcome of the case a record of the detention will be filed with certain state and/or Federal governmental departments, even if the person never had to go to court.

This detention record will show any time in the future when that person is pulled over for even routine traffic stops. Having a criminal record may also make it difficult to obtain a mortgage, business loans, student loans, and other grants because lenders tend to turn down applicants who have criminal records. Even in cases where formal charges were never made, it can be difficult for people who have previously been arrested to get a job, find a house, or enroll in higher education, and may result in higher scrutiny when traveling out of the country whether at the airport, customs, or border checkpoint.

In Illinois certain records can be removed from public access, but removal never happens automatically. An eligible person must petition the court for records to be expunged or sealed. Without a petition the records are permanently public. In evaluating a petition, a court must determine that the harm to a person with a record is greater than the harm to the public in taking away public access to the records. Once a judge has sided in the petitioner’s favor, there are two types of orders possible, an order sealing the record or expunging the record.

Record Sealing

Considering how negatively a criminal record can impact a person’s life, it is nice to know that there are options available to people who find themselves in these circumstances. Sealing a criminal record is a legal process by which a person’s record can be sealed and only law enforcement may view it. Others, such as the general public, may not. The court file is no longer available for public viewing and is not listed in public searches, but members of law enforcement with an appropriate need can access the files.

Criminal Defense attorneys at Motta & Motta will help you take the legal actions necessary to seal your criminal record, thereby preventing employers, banks, loan officers, schools, and public housing authorities from seeing information that would damage your chances of obtaining what you need from them.


Expungement means the record is erased, as if it never existed. The arresting agency returns the records to the petitioner, including police reports, fingerprint cards, and booking photographs that were generated by the arrest. The circuit court clerk erases the records, both physical and electronic of the court activity. Expungement means that from a legal standpoint the case did not happen.


If you have been charged with, or believe you will be charged with, a criminal offense in the Chicago area, contact our law offices right away. In a criminal case, every second matters. The earlier you contact a criminal defense attorney, the sooner they can get to work building your case.

Fill out the form to receive your free case evaluation and one of our team members will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

If you need to speak with an attorney now, please give us a call at our Chicago or Aurora, IL office to discuss the specifics of your case and what defense options may be available to you.

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