Types of Record Clearing Petitions in Illinois


Expungement– When a Petition to Expunge is granted, the physical and electronic records with details of your arrest are actually removed from court and police files, and a search by law enforcement for any criminal history will yield no results.  This type of relief is only available “non-convictions.”  The definition of a non-conviction is complicated, and certain types of probation qualify as non-convictions.  Waiting periods apply in many cases.

Juvenile Expungement– Almost every type of juvenile criminal record can be expunged.  Waiting periods may apply, depending on the offense.

Sealing– Most convictions can be sealed.  Almost all misdemeanors are eligible for sealing, as well as many Class 3 or 4 felonies.  A new law in 2017 greatly expanded the types of convictions that are eligible for sealing.  Sealed records do not show up on background checks but are still available to law enforcement agencies.  Waiting periods often apply.  Sealing may come in handy if you are seeking a professional license during an expungement waiting period, assuming the expungement doesn’t require a waiting period.

Certificate of Eligibility for Sealing– For Petitioners who are otherwise not eligible for sealing, a single offense in a lifetime is available for recommendation by the Prisoner Review Board to the Circuit Court to order the sealing of a Class 3 or 4 Felony, excluding a long list of offenses including violent crimes, certain sex crimes and DUI offenses.  Waiting periods often apply.

Clemency– A Petition for Executive Clemency is essentially a petition asking the Governor to expunge your record when you don’t otherwise qualify for an expungement.  Petitioners have the option (and should almost always take it) to appear before the Prisoner Review Board and plead their case.  There is no time limit within which the Governor must act, and these petitions often take a year or more to be adjudicated.  An overwhelming majority are denied, and the Governor’s Office never provides any explanation for its decisions.

Pardon– A Petition for Pardon is the same as a Clemency Petition, but it is directed to the President of the United States and extends only to offenses recognizable under Federal Law.

Certificates of Good Conduct– Like Clemency Petitions, these Petitions are very rarely granted, because the state takes on liability for recidivism.  This type of relief excludes all Class X offenses.  Petitioner must demonstrate that he or she is law-abiding and fully rehabilitated.  Waiting periods apply.

Relief from Disability– This is for Petitioners who are seeking one of 27 professional state licenses (hyperlink: statute containing exhaustive list), for which they require a clean record.  No waiting period.

Health Care Waivers: – This type of relief is available to Illinois health care workers who were terminated due to a disqualifying criminal conviction.  Relief is granted by the Department of Public Health, and applicants are required to complete an extensive Health Care Worker Waiver Application (hyperlink).  A granted application permits an employer to rehire, but does not impose a requirement to do so.

ATTENTION!  This is general information that will not necessarily be updated regularly.  It is not legal advice.  Do not try to practice law without a license.  Don’t rely on information that you read on the internet. Your use of this information is at your own risk.