Having a juvenile record can prevent you from getting certain jobs – particularly those in regulated fields, such as nursing or law enforcement. Although juvenile records aren’t supposed to be available to the general public, sometimes they’re accidentally shared with potential employers.
The only real way to make sure nobody can find out about your juvenile record is to have it expunged. However, the military, some law enforcement agencies and the Department of Corrections can still access juvenile records if you apply for work with them, even after expungement.
Who Qualifies for Expungement of Juvenile Records in Chicago?
You can’t apply for expungement until you turn 18, but the good news is that there’s no upper age limit to apply. In some cases, your juvenile record will automatically disappear; this can happen if no petition for delinquency was filed and at least 6 months have passed since your arrest without another arrest or charge when you have turned 18 within the last calendar year.
You can only ask the state of Illinois to expunge certain parts of a juvenile record, including:
- Arrests when you were not charged with a crime
- Juvenile convictions for “lesser crimes,” such as Class B and Class C misdemeanors
- “Not guilty” verdicts
- Sentences of supervision
If you were convicted of a felony or a Class A misdemeanor as a juvenile, you can only ask for expungement if you are over 21, 5 years have passed since your sentence ended, and you have no criminal convictions as an adult.
You can also find out if you qualify for an expungement before you call an expungement lawyer for help.
Keep in mind that just because you were a minor at the time of your arrest or conviction, some things will not count as juvenile records.
You’ll have an adult record, not a juvenile record, if:
- You were arrested after you turned 18
- You were arrested for a felony after your 17th birthday and that arrest was before the year 2014
- You were arrested over a traffic offense, such as driving under the influence
- You were charged as an adult at any time while you were a minor (in this case, you may still be eligible for expungement; your attorney will just need to file different paperwork)
Some records can never be expunged, including convictions of:
- First-degree murder
- Sexual offenses that would be a felony if they had been committed by an adult
- Class A misdemeanors or felonies if you have been convicted as an adult
How to Expunge a Juvenile Record
If you talk to a Chicago expungement lawyer, he’ll ask you for whatever supporting documentation you have. This can include:
- The name of the agency that arrested you
- The date of your arrest
- What you were charged with
- Your case’s disposition (dismissal, adjudicated delinquent or adjudicated not delinquent)
- Your final charge
- The date that your probation ended, your case was dismissed or that you were adjudicated not delinquent
It’s important to note that while many people can seal adult criminal records that cannot be expunged, you can’t seal juvenile records because they are already private.
Your attorney will be able to petition for an expungement on your behalf. If the state objects to expunging your record, you will be allowed to argue your case – and your attorney can do that for you, as well.