The Importance of Expunging Juvenile Records
Illinois Makes Expunging Juvenile Records Easier
As of January 1, 2015, certain juvenile records will be automatically expunged by the Illinois State Police (ISP). This is a good news for teenagers who, at some point, will visit the police station -- and not on a school field trip.
The new law acknowledges a sad truth: even a juvenile record can upend someone's job prospects years later.
The rule automatically expunging juvenile records only applies to arrests that occur after December 31, 2014. For juvenile records prior to January 1, 2015, you still need to file a petition to expunge your record in juvenile court. Once you get convicted as an adult, you lose the right to expunge your juvenile record.
Limited Access to Juvenile Records Does Not Mean No Access
In Illinois, the public has limited access to juvenile records. For example, I can't go to the courthouse and look up a juvenile record. Companies that perform background checks for employers can't purchase juvenile record information.
States differ regarding public access to juvenile records. At present, seven states do not restrict public access to juvenile records: Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. For information about other state juvenile record policies, see https://www.jlc.org/juvenilerecords.
Even in Illinois, when you apply for work in certain job sectors (e.g., financial services, health care, or any job located at or near an airport), there is a strong possibility your juvenile record will be disclosed during an FBI fingerprint criminal background check.
Prior to January 1, 2011, the ISP routinely reported Illinois juvenile record information to the FBI. If you were arrested as a juvenile prior to 2011, the FBI has this information on file and will release it in response to a fingerprint background check. The ISP does not release juvenile record information.
Preserve Job Opportunities by Expunging Juvenile Records
I urge anyone who was arrested in Illinois as a juvenile, before January 1, 2011, to expunge their record. Does anyone want to lose a job opportunity because of something they did when they were young and stupid?