Illinois May Soon Allow for the Expungement of Marijuana Convictions
While possessing small amounts of marijuana is no longer a criminal offense in Illinois, people who had previously been convicted of marijuana possession marijuana possession still have a criminal record for offenses that are no longer a crime. However, those people might soon be able to have their records expunged, thanks to House Bill 2367.
Prior Possession Laws
Possession of small amounts of marijuana was decriminalized in Illinois by a bipartisan law that was signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2016. Prior to this law, the Cannabis Control Act made possession of amounts up to 2.5 grams of marijuana a Class C misdemeanor, which carried a punishment of up to 30 days in jail, and possession of 2.5 to 10 grams of marijuana was a Class B misdemeanor, which carried up to six months in jail. After the passage of the 2016 law, possession of 10 grams of marijuana or less is a civil offense that carries a fine between $100 and $200.
Records Could Be Expunged
If the new law passes, those who were convicted of possession of marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia before 2016 could have their records expunged. Under this bill, you would have to wait at least three years after the completion of your sentence to petition for expungement of your charges. In order to have your records of convictions or guilty pleas relating to those offenses expunged, you must petition a circuit court.
What is Expungement?
Expungement is a process in which the record of an arrest or conviction of a crime is erased in the eyes of the law. Once you have expunged your criminal conviction, you do not have to disclose information about it for things such as a job application. Your conviction also will not show up if a background search or a search of public records is conducted.
What Does it Mean to Petition the Court?
Petitioning a court is simply the act of asking a court to hear a case. Petitioning a court means that you have gone through the process of filling out the right forms to ask permission from the court to have your matter heard. Petitioning the court can mean a lot of paperwork and possibly a lot of stress, but with the help of an experienced attorney, it can be completed effectively, allowing you to clear your criminal record.
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with a drug offense like marijuana possession, a Joliet drug criminal defense lawyer can help you take the steps needed to benefit you. Contact the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba to explore your options for defense against charges or learn how we can help you expunge or seal a previous conviction. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule your free consultation.