Expungement of Marijuana Offenses in Illinois

Earlier this week, Illinois enacted one of the most far-reaching cannabis legalization laws of any state in the country. The law, which becomes effective January 1, 2020, contains provisions for the expungement of marijuana offenses.

Over the past decades, hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents (and non-residents) have been arrested for cannabis-related offenses and, as a result, have arrest records that have affected their lives by negatively impacting their ability to gain admission to educational institutions, ability to obtain employment, secure professional licensing and in a variety of other ways. Recognizing the harm that these offenses have had on the lives of offenders, the legislature has included expungement provisions in the new legislation to wipe away the criminal records of persons for offenses occurring prior to the effective date of the new law.

The law provides for expungement by 2 different methods (1) automatic expungement which does not require any action on the part of the offender; and (2) expungement that can only be granted by a petition to the court filed by the offender or his or her attorney.

background-check-300x225

Automatic Expungement

Automatic expungement will be available only in cases involving the possession, manufacturer and/or distribution of 30 grams or less of cannabis. Additionally, to be eligible for automatic expungement, the offense must not have included a penalty enhancement due to delivery to a minor (less than age 18) who was at least 3 years younger than the offender. Furthermore, if the offense involved an arrest, conviction or other disposition for certain violent crimes, the offender will not be eligible for automatic expungement. These offenses include violent sexual offenses, sexual offenses involving a minor, stalking, animal abuse, and any offense which requires the person to register as a sex offender.

How Does Automatic Expungement Work?

(1) If more than 1 year has passed since the incident and the person was not charged (but a record was created due to police contact) or the charge was dismissed or an acquittal was entered, then the law enforcement agency is required to expunge the record; or 

(2) If a conviction was entered, the Illinois State Police is required to identify all qualifying records and notify the Illinois Prisoner Review Board (“Board”). If the offense is a Class 4 felony, the Board will also notify the State’s Attorney in the county where the offense occurred, who may then file an objection to the expungement with the Board stating that the offense does not qualify for expungement. If an objection is filed, the Board will set a non-public hearing to determine whether the offense still qualifies for expungement.

Following receipt of all qualifying records from the Illinois State Police, together with the results of any hearings held on Class 4 offenses, which the State’s Attorney has filed objections to, the Board will file recommendations to the Governor as to whether an expungement should be granted. If granted by the Governor, the Attorney General’s office will file a petition for expungement with the court where the offense was originally heard. The court will then enter the order granting the expungement.

Petition for Expungement

The fact that a person does not qualify for automatic expungement (due to the fact that the offense involves the possession, manufacture and/or distribution of more than 30 grams of cannabis) does not mean that the person cannot obtain an expungement. However, in order to obtain expungement in such cases, the offender will have to file a petition with the court. In order to be eligible to file a non-automatic petition for expungement, the offense the person was convicted of must either be a misdemeanor or Class 4 felony.

This means that a person convicted of a Class A misdemeanor possession of cannabis (31-100 grams) offense or Class 4 felony possession of cannabis (101-500 grams) offense may file a petition to expunge with the court.

Note that since any offense involving the manufacturer/delivery of cannabis of more than 30 grams would be greater than a Class 4 felony, and therefore, is not eligible for automatic expungement or a petition for expungement. However, the offense may still be sealed if other eligibility requirements are met.

Contact Our Cannabis Expungement Attorneys Today

The expungement attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. have been helping our clients clean up their criminal records for decades. We have a thorough understanding of Illinois cannabis law and expungement rules and procedures. We help clients clear records throughout Cook County, Lake County and DuPage County. More information on expungement and sealing can be found on our Expungement and Sealing FAQ Page. Contact us today by filling out the form on our website or by calling (847) 390-8500.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
I wanted to let you know that I finally got my license back today. I want to thank you guys from the bottom of my heart. You did an amazing job and helped another person turn their life around. I will forever be indebted. Rest assured that I will refer anybody that I hear is in trouble to you guys. Thank you again. All the best.
★★★★★
I want to extend my sincere gratitude for the success in getting my charges reduced. It has been a rather traumatic experience for me. Though I try to keep an optimistic outlook, it didn't seem possible. But you guys pulled it off and I couldn't be more grateful. This has been a great weight lifted off my shoulders. D.F.
★★★★★
I would like to take this time to thank you for a job well done. I received my full reinstatement documents today for full driving privileges. This took me by surprise. I did not expect to see the results this fast. I just want to say that I am blessed to have a very good lawyer like yourself to guide me through the process... I am very grateful. You're the best. Thanks again. G.B.
★★★★★
My special thanks for your help, guidance, and support during a most difficult time. You came recommended as "the best" and you lived up to your reputation! I wish you a lovely holiday season and a new year of challenges overcome, new joys experienced, and much fulfillment realized. All good thoughts your way. S.S.
★★★★★
I am very grateful for your work and representation. Although it is difficult for me to truly express my gratitude through e-mail, I hope you can still understand how thankful I am that we were able to dismiss my case on the first court date. I am very pleased with the outcome. Again, thank you very much for your time. Please enjoy the rest of your week. D.K.
Justia Lawyer Rating for Brandon K. Davis
Featured In
Contact Information