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19th Judicial Circuit > Center for Self Representation > Occupational Licenses

Reinstatement of Occupational Licenses
(Certificate of Relief from Disabilities)


Some industries have laws that limit people with criminal records from obtaining a license to work or obtain employment in such fields Illinois law provides some assistance to individuals convicted of a crime who want to obtain a license and/or employment in such industries by offering the opportunity to obtain a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities, pursuant to 730 ILCS 5/5-5.5 et seq. The Certificate is a court order that says the court has found a person to be rehabilitated.  

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.

A Certificate of Relief from Disabilities can be granted for licenses issued under one of the following Acts:

Eligibility for a Certificate of Good Conduct from the Circuit Court

To qualify as an “eligible offender,” the individual may NOT have any of the following on their criminal record:

  • Any class X felony convictions, such as murder, aggravated robbery, or aggravated criminal sexual assault;
  • Any felony convictions where the victim suffered great bodily harm or permanent disability;
  • Any convictions that require post-release registration, such as sex offenses, offenses against children, rape, arson, or any other crime; o
  • Any aggravated DUI or aggravated domestic battery convictions.

When Can the Court Issue a Certificate

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:

1.  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 as required by the statute;

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.

2. The relief to be granted by the Certificate of Good Conduct is consistent with the rehabilitation of the applicant; and

3. The relief to be granted is consistent with the public interest.

Eligibility to obtain a license

The statute requires licensing agencies to consider eight factors when determining whether to grant a license to an applicant (see 730 ILCS 5/5-5-5). The eight factors are:

  1. The public policy of the state to encourage the licensure and employment of persons previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses;
  2. The specific duties and responsibilities necessarily related to the license being sought;
  3. The bearing, if any, the criminal offense(s) of which the person was previously convicted would have on his or her fitness or ability to perform one or more such duties and responsibilities;
  4. The time which has elapsed since the occurrence of the criminal offense or offenses;
  5. The age of the person at the time of occurrence of the criminal offense or offenses;
  6. The seriousness of the offense or offenses;
  7. 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 to the applicant, which certificate shall create  a presumption of rehabilitation in regard to the offense or offenses specified in the certificate; and
  8. The legitimate interest of the licensing agency in protecting property, and the safety and welfare of specific individuals or the general public.

You can read the laws governing the Certificate of Good Conduct on the Illinois General Assembly’s website.

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