Commonly I receive phone calls from prospective clients who are interested in “clearing” their driving record. The most common reasons are to lower insurance rates and to make themselves a better job candidate for perspective employers. The first thing I usually explain is that most traffic offenses are considered petty offenses and under Illinois law you cannot expunge a petty offense, business offense or class C misdemeanor charged under the Illinois vehicle code.20 ILCS 2630/5.2(a)(1)(G). If a traffic conviction is less than 2 years old section 735 ILCS 5/2-1401 gives the Judge the discretion to vacate the conviction if the following criteria are met: (1) there is a meritorious claim or defense to the entry of the conviction; (2) the defendant exercised diligence in presenting the defense to the original Court of venue that presided over the action; and (3) the defendant exercised due diligence in filing his petition for relief. 735 ILCS 5/2-1401(a)(c) see also Smith v. Airoom, 114 Ill. 2d 209, 221; 499 N.E. 2d 1381; Ill. LEXI 332; 102 Ill. Dec. 368 (1986).
In some cases the law allows relief from older tickets. For example, if a motorist has a failure to appear mark on his driving record he may move to vacate the failure to appear in Court regardless of how old the ticket is. The two year time limit restriction only applies to final orders and judgments in traffic cases. Therefore, many non-final judgments may be motioned back into Court at anytime. The best way to proceed is to provide your attorney with a Court purposes driving abstract which you may obtain at any Illinois DMV for a $12 fee. An experienced lawyer will be able to review the abstract and determine if you will be able to improve your driving record in order to accomplish whatever goals you are seeking to achieve.