Can Drug Possession Be Expunged?
If you have been arrested or charged for drug possession, possession with intent, possession of drug paraphernalia or a related offense, you may be wondering if you can get your record cleared.
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Can Drug Possession Be Expunged?

Posted on: August 20, 2013 Posted By: Okabe & Haushalter Posted in Drug Crimes

Possession of a controlled substance is illegal in the state of Illinois as detailed in 720 ILCS 570 (The Controlled Substances Act). If you have been arrested or charged for drug possession, possession with intent, possession of drug paraphernalia or a related offense, you may be wondering if you can get your record cleared. In the state of Illinois, certain criminal arrests can be cleared through a process known as expungement.

What criminal offenses can be expunged in Illinois?

Illinois law only allows certain offenses to be expunged. Procedures for filing for expungement and qualifying can vary slightly based on jurisdiction. As Chicago criminal defense attorneys, we want to provide information specifically regarding expungements in Cook County. According to the Circuit Court of Cook County, only prior arrests and charges can be expunged from your record. If you were convicted of a drug possession charge, then this cannot be removed from your record.

If you were not convicted, there are still guidelines that your priors must meet in order to qualify for expungement. If you were charged in the past with drug possession or a related offense, but you were acquitted or released without charging, then you might qualify. If you were not convicted of an offense, your past charges might include the following phrases:

  • Finding of Not Guilty (FNG)
  • Stricken with Leave to Reinstate (SOL)
  • Finding of No Probable Cause (FNPC)

Even if you were convicted for drug possession, but that conviction was ultimately reversed or vacated, you may be able to qualify for expungement.

What role does supervision or probation play in qualifying for expungement?

Some criminal offenses carry a two or more year supervision or probation. If there has been a termination of your supervision or probation and the full amount of time has passed (depending on the terms of your probation/supervision) then you may file for expungement. Even if one of the offenses on your rap sheet does not qualify for expungement, there may be other offenses our your record that do.

What forms do I need to file for expunging my drug possession offense?

There are three separate forms that you must fill out and file to receive expungement.

  1. Petition to Seal (CCCR 0322)
  2. Notice of Filing
  3. Order to Seal (CCCR 0320)

For certain drug offenses, you may also be required to attach a copy of a drug test to your petition.

Are some drug possession offenses more serious than others?

Yes. In the state of Illinois, drug possession charges range in severity based not only on the amount of the drug you are accused to have been in possession of, but also the type or “Schedule” of the drug. There are five different schedules of drugs, I through V. Drugs listed in Schedule I are dealt with the most severely. Recently, the possession of marijuana, although it remains a Schedule I drug, became decriminalized in Chicago and would only warrant a ticket.

What are the benefits of expunging a drug possession offense?

Any criminal offense on your record, even if you were never convicted of the crime, is serious and can have a negative impact on your ability to get a job, rent an apartment, etc. Drug possession can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony (and even as an infraction in some cases). In Cook County, it costs $120 to file for expungement, which we believe is a worthwhile payment in exchange for getting your record cleared. Some people may even qualify for a waiver if they cannot afford the fee. Expungement is effective in removing your name from the Clerk’s Office records and the Illinois State Police must also destroy your expunged records.

Although you are not required to retain a lawyer when filing for record sealing of your drug possession charge, it can be extremely beneficial. To learn more, please call a Chicago drug attorney at Okabe & Haushalter today.