Do Juvenile Records Get Automatically Sealed in Illinois?

Many people mistakenly believe that juvenile records are automatically sealed in Illinois. Although most juvenile records are treated as confidential and not normally accessible to the public, some employers and colleges access them and use them when making important decision. Because of potential collateral consequences, it is important to have Illinois juvenile records expunged.

While not all juvenile offenses are eligible for expungement, most are. This article will discuss what appears on a juvenile record, types of records eligible for expungement, when individuals can apply, the procedure involved, the associated costs and who can still access them.

What a Juvenile Record Contains

A juvenile record contains information about arrests, even if the person was not subsequently charged or the case was dismissed, charges, adjudications of delinquency and cases in which the individual was found not delinquent at trial. Information also includes data about probation supervision or commitments.

What is Eligible for Expungement

For juvenile offenses, only those that were charged under the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 are eligible for expungement. 705 ILCS 405 et. seq.; 705 ILCS 405/5-915. Other offenses, such as DUIs, are considered to be adult offenses and thus cannot be expunged through the juvenile process. There are two methods for expungement of juvenile records.

1. Records eligible for expungement at age 18

When a juvenile reaches the age of 18, he or she can petition the court for expungement of the following types of records for incidents occurring prior to the age of 17:

2. Records eligible for expungement at age 21

For offenses that do not fall into any of the categories above, you must be at least 21 years of age at the time of your petition, the offense cannot be first degree murder or a sex offense that would have been a felony if committed by an adult and to have all of the following apply to your circumstances:

Expungement Procedure and Costs

In order to get a juvenile record expunged, an individual must complete a petition for expungement. There are several steps to the process involved.

  1. Get a copy of the juvenile record from the local law enforcement agency or courts
  2. Review the record and determine what information appears that needs to be expunged
  3. Get the title and address for every agency that was involved in your case, including the arresting agency, the prosecutor's office (just the address and name of the office, not the name of the individual prosecutor) and the Illinois State Police.
  4. Get a juvenile expungement packet from the court clerk's office, complete the forms, and file the original petition and the Expungement Notice with the court. When submitting the forms, you will either be required to pay a $64.00 fee along with a $60.00 fee for the expungement cost unless you submit and are approved for a motion to waive the filing fee due to indigent status. Every order of expungement costs an additional $60.00 fee.
  5. The Court will then set a court date, which you or your attorney must attend. If there is an objection, there will be a hearing. If no objection is filed, then the Court will sign the expungement orders, which will subsequently be mailed by the clerk to each agency.

Will Anyone Still have Access to Expunged Records?

Most employers and the public will not be able to access expunged records. However, the military, state police, certain government agencies and court system can access them.

Although public access to juvenile records is limited in Illinois, it is still a very good idea to petition for expungement in order to avoid collateral consequences that can occur. The process is a bit complicated, so seeking the assistance of an attorney to help with the process is a good idea.

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