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Certificates of Relief from Disabilities and Good Conduct in Illinois

UPDATED: July 12, 2018

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In Illinois, if your criminal record cannot be expunged or sealed, you can apply for a “Certificate of Relief from Disabilities” or a “Certificate of Good Conduct”. To be eligible to receive either of these certificates, you must not have been convicted of more than two felonies. Anyone convicted of crimes that would subject them to registration under the Sex Offender Registration Act, the Arsonist Registration Act, or the Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registration Act, or convicted of violent "Class X" felonies, aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, or aggravated domestic battery or other forcible felonies is also ineligible. You can apply for a CRD to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board or to the sentencing court if the Illinois sentence did not result in incarceration in state prison.

Certificate of Relief from Disabilities (CRD). You are eligible for a CRD as early as your sentencing. The purpose of the CRD is to aid in getting a license in twenty-seven specific areas. It creates a “presumption of rehabilitation” that must be given consideration by the licensing board. If you are granted a CRD you may not be denied a license solely on account of having been convicted, or by reason of finding a lack of good moral character. However, you can still be denied a license if the licensing board finds that there is a direct relationship between the previous conviction and the license being sought or that issuing the license would involve an unreasonable risk to property or to the safety or welfare of specific individuals or the general public. You can apply for a state license whether or not you have a CRD. If you do have a CRD, the licensing agency has to prove its case if it denies you the license.

With a CRD, first felony offender are given access to licenses in areas for which they would otherwise be denied; for example, licenses for animal welfare, athletic training, cosmetology, boxing, interior design, land surveying, marriage and family therapy, professional counseling, real estate, roofing, and more.

Certificate of Good Conduct (CGC). The purpose of the CGC is to provide evidence that you have been rehabilitated for employment and other purposes. It is granted by the Illinois Prisoner Review Board (PRB) and shows you are a law-abiding citizen and fully rehabilitated. It does not, however, create a presumption of rehabilitation like a CRD. It has no other legal effect. To be eligible for a CGC, there is a waiting period of one to three years.

Federal and out-of-state offenders are eligible for either certificate as long as they reside in the state. Obtaining either of these certificates does not guarantee a job or license. A certificate is not a pardon. It does not erase the record of your conviction. It must still be disclosed on applications if you are asked about prior arrests or convictions.

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For more information on expunging Illinois criminal records, click on the following articles:

Application Process to Expunge Juvenile Criminal Records in Illinois

Application Process for Expunging Adult Criminal Records in Illinois

Sealing of Criminal Records in Illinois

Application Process for Sealing Criminal Records in Illinois

Clearing of Criminal Records or Expungement in Illinois

Clearing or Expungement of Juvenile Criminal Records in Illinois

Using an Attorney to Clear or Expunge Illinois Criminal Record

Eligibility for Expungement of Adult Criminal Records in Illinois

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