If you were arrested, charged with, or even convicted of a crime as a juvenile, it is extremely important to learn about the expungement process and how it can help you. Anyone who has a criminal record—even if it is a juvenile criminal record—can face numerous difficulties when it comes to applying for and obtaining employment, credit, housing, and other benefits that require background checks. Juvenile records can contain almost any interactions with the police that you had as a juvenile (meaning you were under the age of 18), including police reports and court documents. In short, any police contact that you may have had prior to your 18th birthday can be included in juvenile records.
Expungement is the process of getting your juvenile court and arrest records erased. Once your records have been expunged, they cannot be accessed by anyone or any entity conducting a background check, including most employers and government agencies.
Automatic Expungement of Juvenile Records
Under Illinois law, some juvenile law enforcement and juvenile court records are automatically expunged. Accordingly, if your juvenile records fall into this category, you do not need to take any additional steps to have your juvenile record expunged:
- One year or more has passed since the date of your arrest or interaction with law enforcement;
- No petition for delinquency or criminal charges were filed in connection with your arrest or interaction with law enforcement;
- At least six months have passed since the date of your arrest or interaction with law enforcement;
- In the period since the arrest or interaction with law enforcement you have not been arrested or been subject to other charges (whether or not related to the juvenile arrest or interaction in question); and
- Your juvenile arrest or interaction with law enforcement occurred after January 1, 2000.
Filing a Request to Expunge Your Juvenile Record
Even if you are not eligible for an automatic expungement, you may be able to file a request to expunge your juvenile record. To file a request, all of the following must be true:
- All court proceedings related to the juvenile arrest or interaction with law enforcement have been closed; and
- At least two years have passed since your case ended (if you were found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor or felony offense).
If the above apply, then you must take the following steps to be eligible for expungement:
Obtain copies of your juvenile records;
- Work with a lawyer to determine whether you meet the requirements for expungement;
- Fill out required expungement forms; and
- File forms with the clerk of the court to have a court date set.
Generally speaking, it takes about 120 days (or three months) from the date you file your request to the date that your juvenile record can be expunged.
Contact a Chicago Expungement Lawyer
If you have juvenile records and want to learn more about having them expunged, you should get in touch with a Chicago expungement attorney as soon as possible. An advocate at our firm can discuss post-conviction relief and the expungement process with you today. Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Minkus for more information.