The only way to get rid of a criminal record that can’t be expunged or sealed in Illinois is to get the governor to pardon you. While it’s not always easy – Governor Pat Quinn has pardoned about 37 percent of the people whose cases he’s evaluated since taking office – it can be done.
How to Get a Pardon in Illinois
A pardon could give you a new lease on life. You wouldn’t have to worry about employers, landlords or even law enforcement using your past against you.
In order to get a pardon in Illinois, you have to petition the governor’s office. It’s called executive clemency, and the governor has the authority to approve or deny your petition.
The Requirements for Executive Clemency
Anyone can petition the governor for a pardon. Most people choose to work with a Chicago pardon lawyer because the process can be confusing, and it requires you to compile a lot of information. In addition to your personal information, you’ll have to provide information on the criminal record you want pardoned. You’ll also need to create a personal history and explain why you want a pardon.
Your lawyer can help you compile all of that information, and he can help you submit supporting documents or evidence. Your Chicago pardon lawyer might also suggest that you obtain supporting statements from other people.
Getting a Pardon in Illinois
Once your petition is filed, you’ll be able to speak at a hearing. You can also bring in other people to speak on your behalf. Your lawyer can help you prepare and walk you through what will happen at your hearing.
Approval or Denial of Executive Clemency
If your petition for a pardon is approved, potential landlords, employers and law enforcement officers will not be able to see it; there will be nothing left for them to see. Your criminal record will be destroyed.
If your petition for a pardon is denied, you must wait a year before you can file another. There is no limit to the number of times you can file, but you have to wait a year unless you have significant new evidence to support your petition.