Find out if you're eligible to pursue records relief today
Start by answering the following questions. If you answer yes to ALL of these questions then you may be eligible to pursue records relief in Illinois!
- It has been more than 3 years since your last involvement with the criminal legal system? (ie. completion of sentence, end of MSR, no new arrests in this window)
- Your name is not currently on any registries (Arson, homicide, violent offense against a minor, etc.)
- Charges you have been convicted of do NOT include: DUI and reckless driving, domestic battery, violation of an order of protection, sex crimes (except prostitution and misdemeanor public indecency), violations of the Humane Care for Animals Act.
If you are currently eligible
- Request your police records/RAP sheet. Often local law enforcement will process this request for you for a comparatively low fee, but some background check companies will also produce your local and state RAP sheets.
- Get help! Reach out to your local legal aid for help writing your petition. Cabrini Green Legal Aid in Chicago and Illinois Legal Aid Online at illinoislegalaid.org can both be resources to you throughout this process.
- Prepare your petition with the help of your local legal aid.
- Wait. If the local State’s Attorney’s Office chooses to object to your petition, you will should receive a court date. If there are no objections, you should receive notice when your petition is processed.
- If you do need to defend your petition, work with your local legal aid and find out what you can do. Often steps you can take include reaching out to family, employers, members of your community, and others to ask them to write letters of support for you. Assembling documentation of volunteer work and employment history to show the judge at your hearing. Being able to show a broad base of support and personal success can help convince a judge to approve your petition.
- Attend your hearing.
If you are not currently eligible
- Look into alternative forms of relief. Healthcare worker waivers and court-issued Certificates of Good Conduct can all make accessing employment easier.
- Keep trying! Unless you have one of the four offenses listed above, you will become eligible 3 years after the end of your involvement with the criminal legal system and once you are off of all registries.
- Please consider joining our fight to expand access to records relief access for Illinoisans! You can build organizing and advocacy skills, community, and support as you fight to expand opportunities for Illinoisans with records.