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What are Illinois Juvenile Court Records?

The Juvenile Justice Division of Illinois Circuit Courts handles juvenile cases in the state. These offenses do not constitute crimes by the state definitions. Still, adjudication of charged juveniles serves to penalize delinquent behavior among people between the ages of 10 and 17 years. Juvenile court records contain written accounts of court proceedings and documentation regarding the case. these records are generated by the court and maintained at the Circuit Court clerk's office where the offender was adjudicated.

What Information is Contained in an Illinois Juvenile Record?

Juvenile records comprise documentations from the courts and the law enforcement agencies in the state. Juvenile records are arrest records, detention records, and court records. Most of the time, juvenile records are closed from public access, except for cases that are defined by the state as crimes. Such exceptions include sex offenses, serious traffic violations, and other felonies. Outside of the criminal cases aforelisted, a typical juvenile record in Illinois contains the following:

  • History of arrests
  • Necessary information about the charged juvenile
  • Court dispositions concerning the case
  • Copy of state definitions of delinquent acts
  • Youth Center enrolment programs and progress reports from the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice
  • Reports on youth-supervisions and probations

What Cases are Heard by Illinois Juvenile Courts?

The Juvenile Justice Division of the Circuit Court has jurisdiction to hear the following cases:

  • Dependency and neglect
  • Alcohol or drug addiction
  • Runaways
  • Truancy
  • Incorrigible behavior
  • Curfew violation
  • Simple assaults
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Any other act that is deemed as delinquency under the state laws

Who is Eligible to View Juvenile Records in Illinois?

Juvenile records in the state are held by law enforcement agencies and Circuit Courts where the case was filed. The documents are not available to the general public, except to the following persons:

  • The bearer of the record and the parents/guardians
  • The delegated staff of law enforcement agency authorities
  • Persons appointed by the court to perform essential responsibilities regarding the case. Examples are Judges, prosecutors, hearing officers, and social workers
  • Authorized military staff
  • Victims of the case and legal representatives
  • Persons with a court order or executive order.
  • The school superintendent of the child

Availability to the persons listed is based on the provisions of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987

Some drug and traffic offenses by minors 13 years and older are accessible to the public. The same is true of felony offenses.

How to Find Juvenile Records in Illinois

Juvenile court records are available in the Clerk's office of the Circuit Court, where the case was filed. Again, these records are disclosed to eligible persons or persons with a court or executive order. Arrest records and conviction records of criminal cases of juveniles can be obtained at the Illinois State Police (ISP). At the ISP, follow these steps for a name-based criminal history investigation:

  • Go to the 'New User' link and create a new account. New users must obtain a digital certificate as evidence of a complete registration as a new user. Only persons with a valid driver's license are qualified to register.
  • Read and agree with the terms and conditions of the State of Illinois Central Management Services by clicking the "I Agree" button
  • This page returns a new login page. Enter the username and password that used to register in the requested format.
  • Prepare to pay for searches using a credit card.

For fingerprint searches, submit fingerprint transactions electronically to ISP through an approved Livescan vendor. For out-of-state requesters, submit fingerprints to any of these out-of-state livescan vendors.

The State Department of Juvenile Justice provides information about a youth offender upon the approval of request using the Public Records Request Form. An Authorized Release Document from the holder of the record, or his or her parents/ guardian must accompany the request form. Send by mail to:

Michael Walters
Freedom of Information Officer
Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice
1112 South Wabash Avenue,
2nd Fl., Chicago, IL 60605

Otherwise, send by fax to (312) 814-0701 or either this email or this email. Note that the services' cost will be charged by the processing office, which depends on the nature of the record and labor consumed in processing the request.

The Sex Offender Act of the state considers juvenile delinquents convicted of sexual crimes in public information. Members of the public can access this information online at the State Sex Offenders Database for free.

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 person resides in or was accused in.

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

Can you Lookup Illinois Juvenile Records Online?

Yes. Juvenile records that were tried using the adult criminal process are available online. Some are:

  • Arrest records and traffic violations will be visible on the ISP Criminal History Information Database
  • Sex offense records are open online using the Sex Offender's Registry at the county and state levels.
  • Some counties have remote online access to criminal court records online, while some do not.
  • Selected offenses related to controlled substances and firearms committed at the age of 13 and above are also visible online via online court records. Other records are felonies committed by juveniles and major traffic violations such as a DUI. The public has access to the names, addresses, and information about the offenses committed.

Do Illinois Juvenile Records Show up on Background Checks?

Unless juvenile records are sealed or expunged, these records are visible to the public during criminal history checks. Criminal information includes arrests, sex offenses, traffic violations, and court adjudications. Under the state laws on expungement and sealing, qualified juvenile record-holders are notified of the right to petition to have the record expunged upon attaining 18 years of age. While other documents may be automatically deleted from the database, arrest records remain until a petition is filed.

How Long are Juvenile Records Kept in Illinois?

Under the state laws, minors who have juvenile records with the Department of State Police automatically qualify to have records expunged at the age of 18, provided:

  • No petition of delinquency was filed with the Circuit Court clerk during his or her arrest
  • There has not been any recent arrest within six months of the last incident
  • It has been over a year since the previous arrest report was documented
  • All court proceedings on the case have been concluded, and the minor's commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice was terminated two years ago
  • Arrests for misdemeanors and class 3 /4 felony arrests that did not lead to charges

These records are deleted automatically when the Circuit Clerk delivers a certified copy of the expungement order to the state police. Exceptions to this rule are based on Illinois Compiled Statutes which state that:

If a law enforcement agency certifies in writing that an investigation involving the minor is currently ongoing about a felony case, all processes to delete the juvenile record will be suspended until the minor is cleared.

Note that not all juvenile cases filed with the adult criminal court qualify for automatic expunction. Felonies and other crimes that, if committed by an adult, will lead to convictions are also not subject to expunction in Illinois.

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