How to Read My Rap Sheet

How to Read My Rap Sheet
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Last updated: July 2006

What is a Rap Sheet?
Where Can I Get my Rap Sheet?
What Does my Rap Sheet Say About Me?
What Does my Rap Sheet Say About my Arrests? 

What is a Rap Sheet?

A criminal history report, or a "rap sheet," is a record of your arrests and convictions in the State of Illinois.  Only arrests and convictions occurring after you turned 17 are reported on your rap sheet. 

Rap sheets are maintained by the Illinois Department of State Police, Bureau of Identification.  Each time a person is arrested or fingerprinted, the local police department sends a report of the arrest to the Bureau of Identification.  So, your Illinois rap sheet will only contain information about your arrests and convictions in the State of Illinois.  However, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is notified of all arrests across the country. The FBI can provide you with a detailed report of all your arrests and convictions in the United States. 

Your rap sheet can be viewed by almost anyone who specifically requests a copy from the State of Illinois.  So a rap sheet can be a barrier to housing or employment for a person with a criminal record.

If you went to court for any offense, you need to ask the clerk at the courthouse for a copy of your court disposition.  If the rap sheet and the court disposition differ in any way, the disposition controls. 

Click here to see a sample rap sheet

Where Can I Get my Rap Sheet?

You can get a copy of your rap sheet from a local police station, but you have to go there yourself. You cannot have a lawyer go for you.  Once you are there, the police will take your finger prints.  They will then print out your rap sheet for that police district and give it to you.

For records in the city of Chicago, use the following information:

3510 South Michigan
Chicago, IL
8:30 AM – 3:30 PM

Fee: at least $16.00

For records in the entire State of Illinois, use the following information:

Illinois State Police (in Joliet, Illinois)
Division of Administration
Bureau of Identification
260 North Chicago Street
Joliet, IL  60431
815-740-5160, extension 2743

Order forms online at the Illinois State Police website
Fee for non-fingerprint conviction information: at least $12.00
Fee for fingerprint conviction information: at least $14.00

What Does My Rap Sheet Say About Me?

The top of your rap sheet contains information about you. 

In Chicago, the most important piece of information is your "IR Number."  This is an internal record keeping number associated with your finger prints.  Almost every person who has been fingerprinted has an IR Number and your IR number always stays the same, even if you change your name. 

The State Police "Bureau of Identification" uses a similar identifier, but calls it a State Identification Number or "SID."

The top of your rap sheet also contains all the different names you have gone by.  It is important to make sure that these are actually names that you have used. 

You should also check for the accuracy of your birth date. 

What Does My Rap Sheet Say About My Arrests? 

The second part of your rap sheet contains information about your arrests.  Each arrest will contain the following pieces of information:

Arrest Date

Your arrest date is the date you were arrested on.  For example, if you were arrested on October 20, 2001, your arrest date will be "10/20/2001" or "Oct. 20, 2001."

CB Number

In Chicago, a CB number is a "central booking number" and it is used by the police to identify different arrests.  You may have to reference your CB number when expunging or sealing your criminal record if no case number is available.

DCN Number

State records will have a Document Control Number, or "DCN."  This tracks all proceedings linked to a specific arrest.

Case Number

Your case number is the number the court assigns to your case.  You will have to reference your case number when expunging or sealing your criminal record.

Felony Case Numbers in Cook County

Anyone tried with a felony in Cook County will have two separate case numbers.  The case number given at arrest, and then a second case number with a "C" in it given when the case was transferred to the felony schedule.

Pre-2001 Case Numbers in Chicago

On pre-2001 Chicago rap sheets, the case number did not match the number on the court records.  A court case number has four parts: the year, the municipal district, the random six digit identifier, and the defendant number.  The pre-2001 Chicago rap sheets leave out the district number (which is always 1 for Chicago) and usually leave off the defendant number.

Charge

Each arrest will detail the violation(s) of law that you allegedly committed when the police officer arrested you.  Each charge will be abbreviated and some of these abbreviations are easier to understand than others.  For example, "PROS" means "prostitution."  However, "CTTL" means "criminal trespass to land" and "CTTP" means "criminal trespass to property.

If you are having trouble understanding what an abbreviation means, please see Common Abbreviations on RAP Sheets.

Disposition/Sentence

Each arrest will also detail a disposition, which is the conclusion the court came to after your trial.  These dispositions will also be abbreviated.

If you plead guilty, for example, the disposition will read "PG" which means "plead guilty."  Similarly, if you were put on probation, your disposition will read "PROB" which means "probation."

If you are having trouble understanding what an abbreviation means, please see Common Abbreviations on RAP Sheets.

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