The juvenile expungement process usually takes at least 5 months, but can take much longer. The time depends on the waiting periods that may apply, as well as if there are any objections.
Note that some juvenile records are expunged automatically.
Different types of juvenile records can be expunged at different times.
Once the case is closed
Some juvenile records are eligible to be expunged as soon as the matter is closed, even if you are not 18 at that time.
The situations where you can expunge a juvenile record as soon as the case is closed are as follows:
- You were arrested and never went before a judge (this includes informal and formal station adjustments, and some diversion programs);
- A juvenile case was filed and:
- the charges were dismissed;
- you were found not guilty;
- you were found guilty of charges, and you were sentenced to supervision, which you finished; or
- you were found guilty of a Class B or C misdemeanor offense.
After a waiting period
Sometimes there is a waiting period before you can expunge a juvenile record.
If 1) you were arrested as a juvenile, 2) a case for a Class A misdemeanor or felony offense (not including exceptions above) was filed against you, and 3) you were found guilty of that offense, you are eligible to expunge that record under the following circumstances:
- You have turned 21 years old, or it has been 5 years since the date your sentence was completed (whichever is later); and
- You have not been convicted of any offenses (including misdemeanors) since you turned 18. If you have been convicted as an adult, you are never eligible to expunge any findings of guilty for Class A misdemeanors, or felony offenses, from your juvenile record.
If you were found guilty of murder or a felony sex offense in juvenile court, those records are never eligible to be expunged. If you are required to register as a sex offender for a juvenile case, you may be able ask a judge to order you off the sex offender registry.
What if this is my first offense?
If you are found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor offense in juvenile court, and it is your first offense, then you are eligible to expunge this juvenile record on your 18th birthday if your lawyer makes a motion during your case. If you or a family member have a pending juvenile case, talk to your lawyer about whether or not this provision of the law applies.
If you get a court hearing date when you file, you must attend. If expungement is granted, it may take at least 60-90 days for the court, arresting agency, and the Illinois State Police to comply with the expungement order.
Updated: January 2018