Reinstatement of Occupational Licenses
(Certificate of Relief from Disabilities)
Illinois law provides some assistance to individuals convicted of a crime. (730 ILCS 5/5-5 and 730 5/5-5.5)
A "Certificate of Relief from Disabilities" may be issued to an eligible offender for a conviction that occurred in that court if the court imposed the sentence. The Certificate of Relief from Disabilities may be issued at the time the sentence is pronounced or later by verified application to the court. It allows eligible offenders to obtain/retain their licenses, and thereby maintain their livelihood, while serving their terms of probation or parole.
A Certificate of Relief from Disabilities can be granted for licenses issued under one of the following Acts:
- The Animal Welfare Act (with some exceptions);
- The Illinois Athletic Trainers Practice Act;
- The Barber, Cosmetology, Esthetics, and Nail Technology Act of 1985;
- The Boiler and Pressure Vessel Repairer Regulation Act;
- The Professional Boxing Act;
- The Illinois Certified Shorthand Reporters Act of 1984;
- The Illinois Farm Labor Contractor Certification Act;
- The Interior Design Title Act;
- The Illinois Professional Land Surveyor Act of 1989;
- The Illinois Landscape Architecture Act of 1989;
- The Marriage and Family Therapy Licensing Act;
- The Private Employment Agency Act;
- The Professional Counselor and Clinical Professional Counselor Licensing Act;
- The Real Estate License Act of 2000;
- The Illinois Roofing Industry Licensing Act;
- The Professional Engineering Practice Act of 1989;
- The Water Well and Pump Installation contractor’s License Act;
- The Electrologist Licensing Act;
- The Auction License Act;
- The Illinois Architecture Practice Act of 1989;
- The Dietetic and Nutrition Services Act;
- The Environmental Health Practitioner Act;
- The Funeral Directors and embalmers Licensing code;
- The Land Sales Registration Act of 1999;
- The Professional Geologist Licensing Act;
- The Illinois Public Accounting Act;
- The Structural Engineering Practice Act of 1989.
Not everyone qualifies for a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities. A person who has been convicted more than two times of a felony, or a person convicted of any offense or attempted offense that would subject a person to registration under the Sex Offender Registration Act, the Arsonist Registration Act, or the Child Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registration Act would not be eligible. Similarly, a person who has been convicted of committing or attempting to commit a Class X felony, aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, or intoxicating compound or compounds, or any combination thereof, aggravated domestic battery, or a forcible felony would not be eligible.
The statute requires licensing agencies to consider eight factors when determining whether to grant a license to an applicant. The eight factors are:
- The public policy of the state to encourage the licensure and employment of persons previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses;
- The specific duties and responsibilities necessarily related to the license being sought;
- The bearing, if any, the criminal offense(s) of which the person was convicted would have on his or her fitness or ability to perform one or more such duties and responsibilities;
- The time elapsed since the occurrence of the criminal offense(s);
- The age of the person at the time of occurrence of the criminal offense(s);
- The seriousness of the offense(s);
- Any information produced by the person or produced on his or her behalf in regard to his or her rehabilitation and good conduct, including a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities issued, which creates a presumption of rehabilitation in regard to the offense(s) specified in the certificate; and
- The legitimate interest of the licensing agency in protecting property and the safety and welfare of specific individuals or the general public.
A "Certificate of Good Conduct" may be issued by the circuit court where the conviction was entered. To receive a Certificate of Good Conduct, a rehabilitation review is held where an eligible offender must satisfy the court that three criteria are met. The three criteria are:
- The applicant has conducted himself or herself in a manner warranting the issuance of a Certificate of Good Conduct for a specified period of time;
a. If the most serious crime of which the individual was convicted is a misdemeanor, the minimum period of good conduct is one year;
b. If the most serious crime of which the individual was convicted is a Class 1, 2, 3 or 4 felony, the minimum period of good conduct is three years.
- The relief to be granted by the Certificate of Good Conduct is consistent with the rehabilitation of the applicant; and
- The relief to be granted is consistent with the public interest.
Prior to 2010, the Certificate of Good Conduct was issued by the Prisoner Review Board. Recent changes in law transferred that authority to the circuit court.