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Are Criminal Records Public In Illinois?

Per the Illinois Uniform Conviction Information Act, which became law in 1991, all criminal history record conviction information issued and held with any state’s relevant agencies are public records and must be available to citizens upon request. The Illinois State Police (ISP)‘s Bureau of Identification (BOI) collects and maintains criminal records in the state. However, this law allows members of the public to only access information on convictions. Other exhaustive details about a person’s criminal information may only be accessible by the owner of the record.

What Is Included In A Criminal Record In Illinois?

An Illinois criminal record contains a detailed summary of a person’s criminal history in the state. There are three types of criminal records in Illinois. Some persons may need just one or all three types. The records include:

  • Court dispositions
  • Arrest records (local RAP Sheet)
  • Illinois State Police Criminal History Transcript (State RAP Sheet)

Arrests and encounters with law enforcement agencies do not always end up in court. However, when they do, it makes up part of a court disposition. A court disposition is the final judgment of a case and says explicitly whether or not the accused is guilty or innocent. The court disposition also carries the date of the final judgment.

Generally, a RAP (Record of Arrests and Prosecutions) sheet is a detailed list of encounters with Illinois law enforcement, and their outcomes. It contains information about when and where a person is arrested and what the person was arrested for. The RAP sheet also shows the details of a person’s prosecution and the case outcome, if the case heads to court.

Individuals may obtain a local RAP sheet from the Sheriff’s Office or the Police Department in the county or city of residence. The content of this criminal history record is limited to arrests and convictions of the subject within that local jurisdiction.

The Illinois State Police Criminal History Transcript is an overall record of a person’s criminal history across the state. This transcript contains all arrests and possible convictions in the state, regardless of the agency that carried out the arrest.

Generally, Illinois criminal records contain the following details of a person:

  • Full name and any known aliases
  • Mugshots with details such as tattoos and other markings
  • Personal biodata including date of birth, gender, physical descriptions, and ethnicity
  • Dates and details of arrests
  • Dates and details of convictions.

How To Look Up My Criminal Records In Illinois?

Criminal records in the state are accessible from the Illinois State Police (ISP). Requestors may order criminal records either by mail or online. Mail orders are possible through one of two available Uniform Conviction Information Forms:

  • Non-Fingerprint Request Form (ISP6–405B): This is used to perform a search based on alphanumeric queries. These queries may include the name, date of birth, sex, or race of the person named on the record.
  • Fingerprint Request Form (ISP6–404B): This is used to perform a search via submitted fingerprints. The Fingerprint Request Form is primarily regarded as more exhaustive because any available convictions may have been finalized under a person’s maiden name, an alias, or an old name if a person has changed their name.

Both forms are only accessible by completing an order form on the Uniform Conviction Information Forms page. Complete the order form by providing information such as the requestor’s name, email address, street address, city, and state. The ISP then generates a personal form for the requestor, which includes a Transaction Control Number (TCN), a Document Control Number (DCN), and a personal barcode. Both numbers and the barcode are linked to each requestor and cannot be used for any other person seeking a criminal record.

For a Non-Fingerprint Request, enclose the completed form with a check or money order made out to Illinois State Police. This request costs $16. Mail the request to:

Illinois State Police 
Bureau of Identification
P. O. Box 88727
Chicago, IL 60680–1727

The Fingerprint Request Form costs $20 and requires visiting a live scan fingerprint vendor to roll fingerprints on a card. Note, fingerprint vendors may charge additional and varying fees for their services. Endeavor to use the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation Licensed Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation Licensed Live Scan Fingerprint Vendor List to find a licensed vendor.

The TCN on the fingerprint card must be the same as on the Fingerprint Request Form. Enclose the completed form with a check or money order made out to Illinois State Police, and a rolled fingerprint card. Send the request to:

Illinois State Police
Bureau of Identification
260 North Chicago Street
Joliet, IL 60432–4072

Applicants requesting a criminal record from outside Illinois should also order either of both forms via the Uniform Conviction Information Forms page. For applicants outside the U.S, select Non-US from the State drop-down menu and the country of request from the Country drop-down menu. Requestors may not attach any other correspondence to the request. Allow up to three weeks for processing, and up to 10 business days to receive a criminal record.

How Can I Get My Criminal Records For Free In Illinois?

Requesting criminal records in Illinois requires paying a fee. However, indigent persons may be eligible to request a record and get a fingerprint service for free. Such persons may contact the Illinois State Police, use the ISP’s District Finder, or contact the nearest law enforcement agency for more information.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that the person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent of government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How To Search Criminal Records Online In Illinois?

The Illinois State Police allows online access to criminal records. This search may be name-based or fingerprint-based. However, online criminal record searches are restricted to Illinois law enforcement agencies or other agencies that have a User’s Agreement with the Illinois State Police.

A representative from an eligible agency may use the Digital ID Registration provided by the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology. After receiving a Digital ID, Visit the Illinois State Police’s Criminal History Information Response Process page to begin.

How Long Does A DUI Stay On My Record In Illinois?

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a very severe offense in Illinois, which carries a zero-tolerance policy. According to the Illinois General Assembly’s DUI statute, a DUI charge mostly depends on the severity of intoxication or the substance ingested. Anyone may be charged with DUI if the person is found: 

  • With.08 BAC (Blood-Alcohol Concentration) or higher
  • Has ingested any amount of alcohol that has rendered the person unsafe to drive
  • Is under the influence of other intoxicating compounds such as gasoline or cleaning agents
  • Is under the influence of legally prescribed medications such as a sleeping pill
  • Is under the influence of cannabis or any other substances as provided on the Illinois Controlled Substances Act
  • Has ingested a combination of drugs and alcohol rendering them unsafe to drive even if it was taken in legal quantities

When arrested for or convicted of a DUI, the criminal record details the arrest, as well the particular scenario or substance, as listed above. In accordance with the Illinois implied consent statute, it is assumed that all motorists have given the state consent to a chemical test if there is any reason to believe that the motorist is driving under the influence of any substance. Anyone who refuses or fails a test will automatically receive a driver’s license suspension.

 A DUI perpetually remains on a person’s criminal record and may not be erased. However, there are two ways to have it removed:

  • If a person is arrested on a DUI charge but was not found guilty at trial, the person could petition to expunge the record. This will require copies of the charges, a record of the arrest (if available), and proof that the court dismissed the case.
  • If a person is charged and found guilty at trial, the only way to have the record expunged is a direct pardon from the Illinois governor. While this is a possibility, a DUI pardon from the state governor is extremely rare.

How To Get Criminal Records Expunged In Illinois?

According to the Illinois Criminal Identification Act, expunging a record is to either physically destroy it, or to return it to the petitioner. Expunging a record also means that the person named on the record will have their name removed from any official index or public record or both, with related offenses. However, related Circuit Court records may only be impounded but not physically destroyed.

Expunging records is only possible for offenses or crimes that did not record a conviction. The following are cases that qualify for expungement:

  • A conviction that has been reversed or vacated
  • An acquittal, release or dismissal without a charge or conviction
  • Completed court supervision or qualified probation

Illinois also has a two-year waiting period before a person may file for expungement. However, the following offenses require a minimum waiting period of five years:

  • Driving a motor vehicle without insurance
  • Criminal sexual abuse
  • Domestic assault
  • Driving a motor vehicle with registration that has been suspended because of noninsurance
  • Displaying fake insurance documents

A person who qualifies for expungement may begin by completing the Request to Expunge & Impound And/Or Seal Criminal Records. File the request with the Circuit Clerk in the county of record. Requestors who wish to expunge records in multiple counties may file separate applications in each county. Alternatively, use the Illinois Court E-Filing platform to file online. The cost of filing varies between counties. However, people who cannot afford the fees may request a fee waiver from the court.

Requestors who qualify will be notified of a court date. If a judge grants the request, all related records will be expunged. After the ruling, all agencies with related records have 60 days to expunge the criminal records on order.

How To Get Criminal Records Sealed In Illinois?

The processes required to seal or expunge Illinois criminal records are similar. A requestor should complete the Request to Expunge & Impound And/Or Seal Criminal Records form and file it with the Circuit Clerk in the county of record.

 However, there are different requirements to qualify for sealing. Ex-offenders usually choose to seal their records when they do not qualify to have the record expunged. While an expungement requires that the records are destroyed or returned, sealing maintains the record but does not allow access to the files. Note that regardless of the seal order, law enforcement agencies may obtain access to inspect sealed records.

According to the Illinois Criminal Identification Act, the following felonies may be sealed:

  • Possession of a controlled substance
  • Forgery
  • Theft (including retail theft)
  • Offenses prescribed under the Illinois Methamphetamine Precursor Control Act
  • Deceptive practices
  • Offenses specified under the Illinois Controlled Substances Act
  • Possession with intent to deliver or manufacture a controlled substance
  • Possession of burglary tools
  • Prostitution

The following are offenses that cannot be sealed:

  • Driving Under the Influence
  • Patronizing a prostitute
  • Minor traffic offenses, except where there were no charges
  • Reckless driving, for people 25 years or older
  • Domestic assault
  • Sexual offenses against a minor
  • All offenses that require registration under the Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act
  • Animal offenses, including dogfighting, and tormenting, beating or abandoning an animal

Depending on the offense and its severity, sealing records may require waiting periods of between two years to 25 years. In the same way, if a judge grants the order, the related agencies have 60 days to seal the records. Note that any new felony conviction after sealing a criminal record may result in unsealing older convictions.

Who Can See My Expunged Or Sealed Criminal Record In Illinois?

When criminal records are expunged in Ilinois, the records are either completely destroyed or returned to the persons named on the records. This expunction means that no one may have access to these records except shown by the owner. Also, the information contained on this record may not be admissible in court, and the person named on the record may not be required to disclose them at any time or anywhere.

However, sealed records are not destroyed or returned to the persons named on the records. In Illinois, though access is very restricted, authorized entities may still view sealed records. Illinois allows law enforcement agencies to see sealed records. Also, employers that are permitted or required by law to view a potential employee’s criminal records may view sealed records. However, except the employer is an Illinois law enforcement agency, the employer cannot view misdemeanor convictions and any other cases that did not end in a conviction.

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