CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — “They had a mistake that was made 15 years ago, and it’s still preventing them from being employed at the level that they could be.”
Now those people have the chance to move forward from their mistakes.
People petitioned to clear their criminal records during the Champaign County Circuit Clerks Office annual Expungement and Record Sealing Summit.
Some people drove from other states to take advantage of the legal help, including one woman who drove all the way from Kentucky to file a petition.
Officials say they had about 500 people go through the process this year, which they made easier, so people who were eligible found out before today.
The process goes like this: someone who wants their record cleared went to a local police department for fingerprints, then they met with attorney’s to start filing their petition.
“If they are successful in the petition, if it’s granted by the judge, then that means they can seek better employment or in some cases housing or education, those are the biggest reasons that people tell us they want to come through the process.”
And a lot of different groups in the county helped out.
MTD helped out by driving people to the church for free, and Champaign and Urbana police assisted with the fingerprinting.
They say they’re planning on making even more improvements for next year.
Officials say the expungement opportunity paired well with Amnesty Week which happened earlier this month.
People with outstanding criminal or traffic fines waived all late fees if the original fine was paid. Court records show the county has around $62 million in collections for unpaid court fines and fees.