Expungement is a court process that forces the police and courts to hide your juvenile record from view. It prevents almost anyone from viewing your criminal record. This may help you get a job or housing.
To get your record expunged, you have to file a petition with the court and then go to a hearing in front of a judge. The process takes at least 5 months. Learn more about the time involved in juvenile expungement.
There is no fee to file, but you may have to pay to get copies of your records.
What are juvenile records?
Juvenile records are the police reports, computer database entries, and court documents that are created when a person under age 18 is accused of a crime. Every time a person is arrested, even if they are a teenager, a record is created. Learn more about what juvenile records are.
Aren't juvenile records already hidden?
Sort of. All law enforcement and court records in juvenile court are sealed. This means that most people cannot see them.
But there are some employers and government agencies that can still see sealed records. Expungement will prevent them from seeing your records, too. If your arrest happened in Cook County, you can attend the Circuit Court of Cook County Expungement Summit that takes place on the first Saturday in June. Search for the dates and location for this year.
What about automatic expungement?
Arrest and court records will be automatically expunged in the following cases:
- Arrests that did not result in charges. The expungement will happen one year after the arrest. It must be six months after any later arrests or charges.
- Arrest and court records of cases if they result in:
- Finding of "not delinquent."
- Order of supervision that is terminated successfully
- Finding of guilt for a Class B or C misdemeanor or petty or business offense.
- Finding of guilt for a Class A misdemeanor or non-violent felony. Expungement will happen 2 years after case is closed. Must be no other pending cases or findings of guilty.
You can make sure the automatic expungement has worked by contacting the law enforcement agency that arrested you. There should be no record of your arrest after the expungement process.
If you are not eligible for automatic expungement, you can still petition the court to expunge your record. Learn more about What juvenile records can be expunged.
What if I have records in more than one county?
If you have been arrested or charged with a juvenile offense in more than one county in Illinois, you will have a juvenile record in each county. You will have to:
- Identify each county where you have a record;
- Get your juvenile arrest records from each county;
- Fill out separate expungement forms in each county; and
- File separately in each county.
Updated: September 2017