970 McHenry Avenue, Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC

Call Today for Your FREE Consultation

Call Us800-338-3833 | 815-338-3838

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Illinois Expunging Low-Level Marijuana Possession Convictions

Posted on in Drug Crimes

Illinois Expunging Low-Level Marijuana Possession ConvictionsThousands of Illinois residents are already taking advantage of the legalization of recreational marijuana that was enacted at the beginning of the year. Many people had already received a gift before the end of 2019: a pardon of their past marijuana possession conviction. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced the pardons of more than 11,000 misdemeanor marijuana offenses, which are now eligible for automatic expungement. This number is only the beginning as Illinois estimates that there are 116,000 records that are eligible for automatic expungement. The stated goal of expungement is to help people whose opportunities have been limited by the stigma of a low-level marijuana conviction on their criminal record.

Expungement vs. Pardon

The terms “pardon” and “expungement” are being used interchangeably when talking about the Illinois marijuana law, but the two actions are different:

  • A pardon is an executive order to forgive someone for a crime.
  • An expungement is removing an arrest or conviction from someone’s criminal record.

Receiving a pardon is one way to become eligible for expungement. Another would be a court order to vacate a conviction. Expungement is a superior outcome as opposed to sealing a criminal record, which is what most criminal convictions in Illinois are limited to. Sealing limits who can see a conviction on a criminal record, while expungement treats the conviction like it never happened.

Expungement Eligibility

A marijuana conviction is eligible for automatic expungement if the offender possessed 30 grams or less of marijuana and it was a non-violent offense. Illinois will also expunge arrest records that did not result in a conviction for possessing up to 30 grams of marijuana. Automatic means that you do not need to ask the state for expungement, but your expungement may not be immediate. It could take a year for state’s attorneys and the Prisoner Review Board to review all of the previous convictions and decide whether to recommend them to be pardoned or vacated. The state will notify you when your conviction has been expunged.

You may still be eligible for expungement if you were convicted of possessing between 30 and 500 grams of marijuana, but you will need to petition the state’s attorney to vacate your conviction. Regardless of whether your expungement is automatic, the expungement will not extend to other criminal convictions you received during the same case.

Contact a Crystal Lake, Illinois, Criminal Defense Lawyer

Whether you need to petition to expunge a previous marijuana conviction or have questions about the new marijuana rules, you need the guidance of a seasoned lawyer. A McHenry County criminal defense attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can answer your legal questions related to marijuana in Illinois. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.



Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
Back to Top