Class 3 and Class 4 Felony Offenses Eligible For Sealing

Felony Record SealingIllinois legislature has continued its trend of expanding the list of criminal offenses eligible for sealing.  Although certain Class 4 and Class 3 Felony records were already eligible for sealing, this could only be accomplished after obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility for Sealing. Effective January 1, 2014, Illinois legislature removed this extra hurdle and expanded the list of Class 4 and Class 3 felony offenses that can be sealed following the requisite waiting period, without obtaining the Certificate of Eligibility.

Class 4 felony convictions now eligible for sealing:

  • Prostitution;
  • Possession of Cannabis;
  • Possession of Controlled Substance;
  • Offenses under Methamphetamine Act;
  • Offenses under Steroid Act;
  • Theft;
  • Retail Theft;
  • Deceptive Practices;
  • Forgery
  • Possession of Burglary Tools;

Class 3 felony convictions now eligible for sealing:

  • Theft;
  • Retail Theft
  • Deceptive Practices;
  • Forgery;
  • Possession With Intent To Manufacture or Deliver a Controlled Substance.

Can Traffic Tickets Be Expunged or Sealed?

Can Traffic Tickets Be Expunged or Sealed?

Can Traffic Tickets Be Expunged or Sealed?

Although expunging traffic tickets was a common practice in Illinois several years ago, especially amongst CDL drivers.  This is no longer an option for Illinois drivers.  As of January 1, 2010, pursuant to ILCS 2630/5.2(a)(3)(B), “the court shall not order the sealing or expungement of records of minor traffic offenses.


2630 ILCS 5.2(a)(1)(G) defines “Minor traffic offenses” as “a petty offense, business offense, or Class C misdemeanor under the Illinois Vehicle Code or a similar provision of a municipal or local ordinance.”


Consequently, ordinary traffic violation such as speeding, immaterial if the sentence is supervision or a conviction, cannot be expunged or sealed.  The only remaining remedy is the lapse of time.  The secretary of state purges traffic violations, which do not result in suspension, after 5-6 years and 7-8 years for violations that result in suspension.


It should also be noted that other traffic violations such as driving while a driver’s license is suspended (625 ILCS 5/6-303), which is a Class A misdemeanor, can still be expunged or sealed.  Reckless driving (625 ILCS 5/11-503) can also be expunged if the offense occurred before the individual reached the age of 25 years old and the offender has no other convictions for reckless driving or DUI.

Certificate of Good Conduct

730 ILCS 5/5-5.5-25 provides a good alternative for relief for for those individuals who do not qualify to have their record expunged or sealed. Although expunging or sealing a record still carries more benefits than a Certificate of Good Conduct, the latter does not have the same stringent requirements. Convictions even for relatively minor criminal offices may serve as a bart expunging other records. Other offenses, such as “crimes of violence” may not be sealed. If an individual has a sentence of supervision for assault or battery, but has other convictions on his or her record, such record may not qualify for expungement or sealing. This is precisely the type of scenario under which a Certificate of Good Conduct may serve as a good alternative.

Benefits: Certificate of Good Conduct limits an employer’s liability for the conduct of a employee with a criminal record. An employer may not civilly or criminally liable for an act or omission by an employee who has been issued a Certificate of Good Conduct, except for willful or wanton act by the employer in hiring the employee who has been issued a Certificate of Good Conduct. Further, unlike expungement and sealing, an Illinois Circuit Court may issue a Certificate of Good Conduct to an individual previously convicted of a crime in any other jurisdiction, when the applicant demonstrates that there exist specific facts and circumstances that have an adverse impact and warrant the application to be made in Illinois.

Limitations: A Certificat of Good Conduct does not limit an employer from accessing criminal background information; nor does it hide it, alter, or expunge the record. The Certificate of Good Conduct can also be revoked upon subsequent convictions.

Eligibility: An applicant for Certificate of Good Conduct must prove to the Court that: 1) The applicant has conducted himself or herself in a manner warranting the issuance for a minimum period; 2) The relief to be granted is consistent with the rehabilitation of the applicant; 3) The relief to be granted is consistent with the public interest; 4) The minimum period of good conduct by the applicant shall be one year if the most serious crime the applicant has been convicted is a misdemeanor; and two years if the most serious crime an applicant was convicted of is a Class 1, 2, 3, or 4 Felony. The minimum period of good conduct is measured from the date of the payment of any fine imposed, or from the date of release from custody by parole, mandatory supervised release or commutation or terminate of his or her sentence.

Illinois Passes The Medical Marijuana Law

On August 1, 2013, Gov. Pat Quinn signed The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. The law will take effect on January 1, 2014.

Under the new law, patients will have to be diagnosed with one of 33 debilitating medical conditions, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, or HIV/AIDS in order to qualify for medical marijuana.

Pursuant to the Medical Cannabis Act, a registered qualified patient will not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or denial of any right or privilege for the possession of 2.5 ounces of cannabis per 14 days. In addition to a registered qualified patient, a registered designated caregiver will also be given the same immunity.

The Act provides for a rebuttable presumption that a registered qualifying patient or a designated caregiver is engaged in the medical use of cannabis if he/she (A) is in possession of a valid registry identification card; and (B) is in possession of an amount of cannabis that does not exceed the amount allowed (2.5 ounce per 14 day period). This presumption may be rebutted by evidence that conduct related to cannabis was not for the purpose of treating medical conditions.

Section 25(f) of the Act also grants immunity from prosecution to individuals involved in: (1) selling cannabis paraphernalia to a cardholder; (2) being in the presence or vicinity of the medical use of cannabis; or (3) assisting a registered qualifying patient with administering cannabis.

The General Assembly also addressed the discrepancy with federal law, saying that states are not required to enforce or prosecute people for engaging in activities prohibited by federal law. (This, of course, does not mean that the FBI cannot enforce federal laws within the state.) Although it should be noted that approximately 99 out of 100 cannabis arrests in the U.S. are made under state law, not federal.

For a more comprehensive coverage of The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act click here.


Illinois Expungement Statistics for Year 2012

Illinois law requires the Illinois State Police to publish certain statistics regarding expungements and sealing of criminal records. The numbers for Fiscal Year 2012 are both commendable and alarming. First, the Illinois State Police has done a remarkable job, entering the vast majority of orders to expunge that the agency received for the year, and thereby preventing major backlogs. On the other hand, it’s alarming that in the entire state of Illinois, only 8,620 Petitions to Expunge, were filed for the year. This number clearly indicates a lack of awareness amongst the public that pleas involving supervision, dismissal of charges, and not guilty verdicts do not on their own yield a “no record.” Every such record still needs to be expunged! The finger cannot be pointed at any one agency of division of the judicial system for this disconnect. But the lawyers, the judges, and the police, should all certainly do a better job informing the public.

Supreme Court Rules That Pre-Miranda Silence Can Be Used In Court

Another reason why any individual being questioned by the police should assert his fifth amendment right to silence and request counsel.  It has long been established that a voluntary statement made before the miranda warnings, is admissible in court.  Now, the United States Supreme Court in Salinas v. Texas holds that even pre-miranda silence can be used against a criminal defendant in court.  Is this another incentive for the police to delay reading miranda warnings or is the decision merely consistent with USSC’s earlier holdings?  The only thing that is clear is that if you want to protect your rights, you have to assert them.  If you don’t want to talk to the police, do not just stay silent – assert your fifth amendment right!

Supreme Court Rules That Pre-Miranda Silence Can Be Used In Court.

More Criminal Records Could Become Eligible for Sealing Under Proposed Law

Under the proposed amendment to the Criminal Identification Act, the list of felony convictions that can be sealed will expand dramatically.  This law is much overdue!  As any criminal defense attorney will tell you, it does not take much to be charged with a felony offense in the state of Illinois.  Absent a favorable plea bargain, any offender can end up with a felony conviction, which will haunt him or her for the rest of their lives.

Everyone deserves a second chance.  The notion that keeping a criminal conviction on one’s record will deter him or her from committing future crimes is absolutely absurd.  In fact, the opposite is often true.  If we want more of our citizens to become contributing tax payers, we have to allow them.  Cumbering people with perpetual criminal convictions because of lapse of judgement in their youths, certainly does not accomplish this!

This legislature is clearly a step in the right direction.  I look forward to being able to seal more criminal records for my clients and give them a fresh start.

More convicts could get a clean slate under proposed law –