IDFPR Expands List of Expungeable Discipline

New Illinois Licensing Rules Make It Easier For Criminal Record Holders To Get Professional License

Every month the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) reports the names of licensees it has disciplined. During a recent six-month-period the IDFPR disciplined 56 newly-licensed individuals because of a prior criminal record. The IDFPR’s practice of disciplining new licensees for prior criminal conduct is an open secret.

Licensees Permitted to Expunge Discipline Due to Past or Current Criminal Record

Until now, licensees disciplined for (past or recent) criminal misconduct ended up with a permanent stain on their license record. This left them with fewer job prospects. As of January 1, 2018, however, discipline issued due to a criminal charge or conviction is expungeable.

Under the IDFPR’s amended expungement rules licensees can apply to expunge their disciplinary record following the latter two events:

  • Date offense occurred, or
  • Date license reinstated to “unencumbered” (discipline-free) status

The IDFPR charges a $175 fee to expunge. An updated application form, titled Application to Classify Records as Confidential, is available on the IDFPR’s website.

Sealed and Expunged Criminal Records No Longer Subject to Review by Illinois Licensing Authorities

Another change benefiting people who have a criminal background is that they no longer must disclose expunged or sealed criminal records. Licensing agencies can't take this information into consideration with one exception: health care worker applicants who have a forcible felony conviction must disclose this information. Here's a link to the IDFPR's definition for forcible felony.

Some Disciplinary Records Follow A Licensee for Life

The IDFPR's new expungement rules do not benefit everyone. The expanded rules will not eliminate the disciplinary history of licensees (e.g., health care workers) whose discipline is reported to an outside agency.

The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), for example, is a federal data bank that collects disciplinary action information for all licensed health care practitioners in the U.S. Once this information is reported to the NPDB, it remains in the database unless the disciplinary action is later voided (rescinded). What that means is the information is still available for employers to see.

There are only a few why a licensing agency would rescinds someone’s discipline:

  • A court reverses the licensing agency’s disciplinary action;
  • A court reverse underlying basis for the discipline ( criminal conviction); or
  • Licensee receives clemency for underlying crime.

When the IDFPR expunges a disciplinary record it merely removes the information from public access. The disciplinary action hasn’t been rescinded – which similar to what happens when someone seals a criminal conviction in Illinois.

This article highlights the importance of expunging or sealing your criminal record – especially if you want to apply for an Illinois professional or occupational license. Please contact me if you have a criminal background and are considering a career in a licensed profession or occupation. The path to obtaining a discipline-free license has gotten a lot easier.