The Clemency Process in Illinois: How it Works and What to Expect

While many charges in Illinois are expungable or sealable, some are not, including most felonies. And in some cases people with sealable convictions are interested in moving beyond that and removing all traces of their record.

If you have a felony conviction on your record from the State of Illinois and want it expunged the procedure is called clemency. The clemency process is long and involved, but it is usually the only hope of removing a felony conviction from your criminal record.

The basic rules for expungeability or sealability:

You can expunge your record if you have never been convicted. Convictions include the following: Probation, Conditional Discharge, Time Considered Served, Prison or Jail Time and Fines (municipal ordinance violations). A record is eligible for expungement if it is one of the following dispositions:

– Acquittal
– SOL/Nolle Pros
– Dismissal
– Supervision completed successfully
– Specialized drug probations – 410, 710, 1410, 40-10 or some TASC

You cannot expunge, ever:

Any sexual offense against a minor under the age of 18

All other cases are expungeable, though they have a two year waiting period after the completion of any sentence of supervision, except the following which have a five year wait:

– Suspended registration for non-insurance
– Displaying false insurance
– Failure of scrap dealer to keep records
– Reckless driving
– Domestic Battery (if you got supervision)
– Criminal Sexual Abuse (victim over 18)
– Retail Theft (can seal in THREE years)
– 410/710/1410/40-10/TASC cases

If you have been convicted, you can possibly seal your record. When a record is “sealed,” your file remains intact but under seal. The records can only be released to governmental and other law enforcement agencies. Employers will not have access to the records. The following can generally be sealed: misdemeanor acquittals and dismissals, misdemeanor convictions and supervisions, felony acquittals, dismissals and convictions for the following (all Class 4):
(1) Prostitution
(2) Possession of Cannabis*
(3) Possession of Controlled Substance*
(4) Carry/Possession of Firearm (between 1995 and 1999)
*Proof of clean drug test required to file.

You can seal anything that you can expunge, though some (like Retail Theft) have different waiting periods.

You cannot seal supervision for:

– Any sex offense under 720 ILCS 5/11, except:
Public Indecency
Marrying a Bigamist
– Dog fighting
– Crime of violence, defined by 740 ILCS 45/2, including:
 Assault
 Agg Assault
 Battery
 Domestic Battery
 Crim Sex Abuse
 Reckless Conduct
– Violation Order of Protection
– Humane Care of Animals Act violation
– Any offense you register as a sex offender for

A further examination is available here:

Once it is determined the client’s only recourse is a clemency petition, she begins collecting the necessary information from the court files. A written clemency petition is required to be submitted to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board. There is a great deal of information required in the clemency petition, including the client’s life history and the facts surrounding the conviction. Once the petition is written, it is filed with the necessary supporting documents with the Illinois Prisoner Review Board. A hearing is then held before the Illinois Prisoner Review Board.

The Illinois Prisoner Review Board has the responsibility of reading these clemency petitions, holding hearings and then making a confidential recommendation to the governor as to whether or not the petitioner should receive clemency. The final decision regarding clemency rests solely with the governor. The Illinois Prisoner Review Board holds hearings four times a year.

Once the Prisoner Review Board submits the recommendation to the governor, the petitioner has to wait for the governor to make a decision. The governor has no time frame in which he must make a decision regarding clemency. He can grant or deny the request immediately or wait years to issue his decision.

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