As Illinois moves to become the latest state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, many individuals who have criminal records for possession are about to see those records expunged. Under the new law, possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana at a time is authorized by law. Possessing greater quantities, however, is still considered criminal under Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.
Law enforcement will use an algorithm to go through all the criminal records in Chicago and expunge any record of possession of marijuana that was at or below 30 grams. Those who have been caught with 500 grams or less can also have their records expunged, but they are required to petition the court to do so. 500 grams is over a pound, so this would be considered trafficking territory.
If you have a conviction for under 30 grams, then you do not have to do anything at all. The court will take care of it automatically and issue you a notice that your record has been expunged. Anything over 30 grams will require you to petition the court for an expungement.
Why Marijuana Convictions Matter
Even now that the law has been passed, there is no statute that prevents employers from screening employees for marijuana, nor does the law prevent employers from conducting criminal background checks. Those found with marijuana-related convictions can still find themselves being denied employment or housing on that basis. While there are invariably some who do not look at a marijuana conviction as a big deal, there are going to be others who use any evidence of a criminal conviction as a sign of moral failure and considered the employee a risk to their corporate culture.
In cases in which the individual is seeking employment as a bus driver, EMT, truck driver, or does work that is considered dangerous, the employer may look at a marijuana conviction as a potential liability issue and an insurance risk.
It is important to understand that just because marijuana offenses are no longer criminally actionable, it does not mean that they cannot come back to bite you.
An Expungement Attorney can Help
Expungement is an important step in the process of building your career, taking out lines of credit, or securing better quality housing. Landlords and employers will conduct criminal background checks and can afford to be discriminating in the right kind of market. Expungement gets the charges erased from your record and allows you to move on with a clean slate.
While not all crimes are expungeable, some may be sealable, meaning that an employer would not have access to it. Certain crimes, however, violent crimes, for instance, can never be erased from your record. A Chicago expungement attorney can help file your petition and provide the necessary support to complete the process.
Talk to David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 and we will help you toward a fresh start.