State Law Summary

The Illinois Second Chance Expungement and Sealing Gap


The following is a summary of the law prepared by law students under the supervision of a professor based on consulting multiple sources. It is only up to date as of the dates shown below and in many cases we had to make judgment calls. Therefore we encourage you to also consult the sources below, as well as the Restoration of Rights Project that include summaries of the law for all 50 states and US territories.

Summary of the Law


  1. Misdemeanors and Felonies:
    1. Sealing for misdemeanors and felony convictions after a 3-year waiting period beginning on date of completion of most recent sentence, if clean (no convictions) since conviction. (20 ILCS 2630/5.2(c)(2);(c)(3)).
    2. Expungement for misdemeanor and class 4 felony convictions for cannabis offenses under section 4-5 of the Cannabis Control Act (possession of 500g or less, or manufacture/delivery of 30g or less) upon petition after completion of sentence with no wait-period.  (20 ILCS 2630/5.2(i)(3)-(5)).
    3. Automatic expungement for pardoned convictions for “minor cannabis offenses” (defined as possession or sale of 30 grams or less, no enhancements, no violence) with no wait-period. (ILCS 2630/5.2(i))
  2. Not eligible:
    1. Expungement not allowed for arrests and charges, that result in convictions or orders of supervision, for any sexual offense against a minor, DUI, or reckless driving (unless it was a misdemeanor and occurred before individual turned 25). (20 ILCS 2630/5.2(2.5)(3)(A))
    2. Sealing not allowed for convictions for DUI, animal care crimes, domestic battery (2630/5.2(a)(3)) or offenses requiring registration for arson, traffic offenses, sex offenses, or murder/violent offenses against minors, until petitioner is no longer required to register. (20 ILCS 2630/5.2(c)(3)(c))
  3. Lifetime or other Limits: Any subsequent felony after petitioner already had a felony conviction sealed is ineligible for sealing (and may result in prior conviction being unsealed. (20 ILCS 2630/5.2(c)(4))
  4. Treatment of Multiple Convictions from the Same Incident: Multiple convictions arising from the same incident are eligible for sealing (20 ILCS 2630/5.2(d)(1)).
  5. LFO payment required for sentence completion: Yes for restitution (unless it has been converted to civil judgement), but no requirement for all other forms of LFO’s. (20 ILCS 2630/5.2(e)(6)(C))
  6. Other Unmodeled Criteria or details:
    1. Notwithstanding the definition of “expunge” above, records of drug offenses disposed of through diversion programs may be maintained by the state police. (20 ILCS 2630/5.2(b)(7))
    2. Expungeable if conviction is vacated or reversed (sub. (b)(1)) or approved by the Prisoner Review Board (sub. (e-6)).
    3. Not sealable: felonies after petitioner already has had a conviction sealed.
    4. Sealable if completed sentence of first offender probation (sub. (c)(2)(E)), and if either 3 years have passed since completion of petitioner’s last sentence (sub. (c)(3)(C)) or upon the completion of petitioner’s last sentence without a waiting period if petitioner completed an educational diploma, degree, or certificate (sub. (c)(3)(E)) or until petitioner is no longer required to register under Arsonist Registration Act or Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registry.
    5. Expungement (defined as destruction of records) for misdemeanor and felony convictions only in limited circumstances where the conviction was set-aside on direct review or collateral attack and the court determines the petitioner was factually innocent, with no waiting period (20 ILCS 2630/5.2(b)(2)(A)). See generally (20 ILCS 2630/5.2(b)(6)).
    6. Sealing for pardoned misdemeanors and felonies where the pardon expressly allows for expungement, with no waiting period. (20 ILCS 2630/5.2(e))


  1. Sealing for misdemeanor and felony arrests and charges resulting in acquittal/dismissal at dispositional hearing, with no wait-period, staying clean requirement, or restrictions on eligibility. (20 ILCS 2630/5.2(g))
  2. Expungement for misdemeanor and felony first-time drug offenders given deferred adjudication (here deemed a non-conviction) upon completion of sentence with no wait-period if clean (no convictions) during deferred adjudication period. (570/410(f))
  3. Expungement for certain misdemeanor and felony arrests and charges given an “order of supervision” (treated as not a conviction) upon completion of sentence after variable waiting-periods:
    1. 5-year waiting period since successful completion of court supervision for domestic battery, criminal sexual abuse against a person 18 years or older, operation of an uninsured motor vehicle, operation of a motor vehicle when registration is suspended for non-insurance, display of false insurance card, or processing of scrap metal without proper record keeping. (20 ILCS 2630/5.2(b)(2)(B)(i))
    2. 2-year waiting period from successful completion of sentence for any other charges. (20 ILCS 2630/5.2(b)(2)(B)(ii))
    3. Until the individual turns 25 for misdemeanor reckless driving that occurred when petitioner was under 25 (but cannot have any other reckless driving or DUI convictions). (20 ILCS 2630/5.2(b)(2)(B)(i-5))
  4. Expungement for misdemeanor and felony arrests and charges given “qualified probation” (treated as not a conviction) after a 5-year waiting-period starting from the date of completion of sentence. (20 ILCS 2630/5.2(b)(2)(C))
  5. Automatic expungement for arrests for “minor cannabis offenses” (defined as <30 grams, no enhancements, no violence) after a 1-year wait-period starting from the date of arrest. (20 ILCS 2630/5.2(i)(1)(A)(i))
    1. Post 1/1/2013 arrests to be expunged by 1/1/2021, those between 2000 and 2013 by 1/1/23, and those prior to 2000 by 1/1/2025. (20 ILCS 2630/5.2(i)(1)(C)).


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