When you are arrested or charged with an offense, a criminal record is created, even if you are released without being charged or found not guilty. These criminal records can be viewed by the public, including potential employers.
You might be able to erase charges and arrests from your record though. This is called expungement. Expungement is different from sealing, which hides your record from being seen by the general public. Qualifying for expungement or sealing depends on:
- What type of crime you were arrested or charged with;
- What happened in the case; and
- How much time has passed since it happened.
If you were arrested before your 18th birthday and the case was handled in juvenile court, you have a juvenile record. Juvenile records are different from criminal records. Criminal records come from cases handled in adult court. Juvenile records do not affect your eligibility to expunge your criminal record.
You may be eligible to expunge your juvenile records even if you have an adult record. Learn more about Juvenile expungement.
If you live in Cook County, you can also find more information by visiting the Juvenile Expungement Help Desk at 1100 S. Hamilton, Chicago, IL 60612, or calling (312) 229-6359.