Below are questions we frequently get asked about criminal records. If your question is not answered here, you should not hesitate to call our intake office at 773-731-1762. We will get the information we need to begin assessing your case and discuss your options with you.
What are my options for dealing with my criminal record?
Your options for addressing your record will depend on your individual goals and your record. You should contact Chicago Legal Clinic at 773-731-1762 to begin the process of having one of our attorneys assess your case.
What are the first steps for addressing my criminal record?
Get your rap sheet and contact Chicago Legal Clinic at 773-731-1762. Click here to get instructions on how to get your rap sheet.
I was arrested outside of Chicago; can Chicago Legal Clinic still help me?
Although we do not provide in-court representation outside of Chicago, we are still able to provide many services—including free assessments and representation in pardon proceedings—for individuals with arrests outside of Chicago. You should contact Chicago Legal Clinic at 773-731-1762 to begin the process of having one of our attorneys assess your case.
Can I get my name removed from a Google search?
Probably not, but this does not mean you should not pursue some other form of criminal records relief. Most employers do not rely on Google for researching criminal records because they do not want to be sued for making a mistake.
Can I pursue expungement or sealing without an attorney?
An attorney is not required for you to pursue expungement or sealing. However, because the law surrounding expungement and sealing is complex and constantly changing, you should at least consult with an attorney before pursuing expungement or sealing. Chicago Legal Clinic will assess your record for free and provide you with an explanation of your options, including whether free legal services may be available to assist you. Contact Chicago Legal Clinic at 773-731-1762.
Can I pursue a pardon without an attorney?
An attorney is not required for you to pursue a pardon. However, pardon decisions can take up to 5 years, so you want to be sure your petition does not have any mistakes and that a pardon is your best option. Chicago Legal Clinic will assess your record for free and provide you with an explanation of your options, including whether free legal services may be available to assist you. Contact Chicago Legal Clinic at 773-731-1762.
How much are attorney fees for your services?
Our fees are set on a sliding scale based on income. In rare cases, we may be be able to take cases free of charge, and we are always able to provide resources for proceeding on your own.
Are there other costs?
The court filing fee for expungement or sealing is typically $135 plus $9 per case. This fee may be waived if the court finds you have insufficient income. There is no filing fee for pardon.
I want a Firearm Owner's Identification (FOID) card; will my record get in the way?
If you have been convicted of a felony or of a crime of domestic violence, you likely need a pardon from the governor (or president, for federal crimes) that restores your right to possess a firearm if you wish to possess a firearm.
I was told I have felony convictions that cannot be sealed; what can I do about those?
You probably need either a certificate of eligibility for sealing or, more likely, a pardon from the governor. You can find information about these remedies here or by calling Chicago Legal Clinic at 773-731-1762.
I got an expungement or sealing, but my record is still coming up; why is this?
There are many reasons you might still have a record after receiving an expungement or sealing. Maybe not all of your cases were ordered expunged or sealed, or maybe someone did not properly comply with the order. Keep a copy of every background check that is run on you. If you spot a mistake, contact that background check agency or call Chicago Legal Clinic at 773-731-1762.
I got an expungement or sealing, but then I received a motion from the Illinois State Police asking to unseal my records; what should I do?
Contact the attorney who represented you in your expungement or sealing, or contact Chicago Legal Clinic at 773-731-1762. These motions can be quite complicated and should not be handled without first consulting with an attorney.
My record came up during the immigration process; should I get my record expunged or sealed?
Probably not. You need to speak with an immigration attorney about how to best handle your issue. If you get your records expunged or sealed, you may be unable to access those records when immigration authorities or attorneys require them later. Chicago Legal Clinic has immigration attorneys — call our intake specialists at 773-731-1762.
I applied for a license but was denied; what can I do about that?
You might need a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities, or you might need to appeal the denial of your license. Call our intake specialists at 773-731-1762.
I can't work in certain health care fields because of my record; what can I do about that?
You might need a Healthcare Worker Waiver. Call our intake specialists at 773-731-1762.