Expungements for Juveniles

Individuals who were arrested under the age of 18 may be eligible to have their arrest and court records expunged (erased). Even if a youth is arrested and the case does not go to court, the arrest record may still exist and need to be expunged.

While juvenile records are treated as generally confidential by law, there are a number of employers, agencies and other entities that may still be able to view and consider these records while the record still exists (ex. employers required by law to conduct fingerprint-based background checks). When a record is expunged, it is as if the incident never occurred.

Expungement includes erasing both local and state law enforcement records, and court records if the case proceeded to court. Generally speaking, if an inquiry is made on an individual’s criminal background and the records were expunged, the answer back to the person or entity making the inquiry will be that "no records exist." 

Please note: Even when a record is expunged, if you are subject to an FBI background check (ex. immigration petitions, military employment, etc.), you may still be required to disclose an expunged record and provide additional documentation and information about a particular arrest and/or court case. It is important to seek assistance from a licensed and experienced attorney in these circumstances.

Juvenile Records Not Eligible for Expungement

Adjudications (findings of guilt):

  • First Degree Murder
  • Felony Sex Offenses (while the individual is still required to register on the juvenile sex offender registry)

Get Assistance with the Expungement Process

If you would like free legal assistance to expunge Cook County juvenile records, there is a free court help desk located in the Cook County Juvenile Center. Staff can get a copy of your Cook County juvenile records on site for free as part of the expungement process.

Juvenile Expungement Help Desk

    The Rich Cozzola Memorial Juvenile Expungement Help Desk (JEHD) is located at:

    1100 S. Hamilton Ave.
    Ground Floor
    Chicago, IL, 60612

    Walk-ins only, Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Subject to court holiday closures. For updated hours and additional information, call (312) 229-6072.

    The help desk is operated by Legal Aid Chicago.

    Filing for Juvenile Expungement

    If you would like to proceed in this process on your own, please continue reading below. Please note that this is meant to provide legal information and NOT legal advice. Always speak with a licensed attorney for specific legal advice for your case.

    Get Copies of Your Juvenile Records

    If you would like to pursue expungement of Cook County juvenile records on your own, you must first obtain copies of your juvenile records. Juvenile records list the offenses and the dates you were arrested, the charges you were arrested for, the offenses you were charged with and the outcome of the cases including any sentences you received.

    These records can exist in two primary ways:

      Commonly referred to as a “RAP Sheet,” these are records of arrests from the local law enforcement agencies that arrested you and this local law enforcement information may have also been forwarded to the Illinois State Police. Even if an arrest did not result in a case being filed in court, the record of the arrest can continue to exist on a RAP Sheet. In Cook County, a Chicago Police Department (CPD) RAP Sheet will often include information from other law enforcement agencies throughout Cook County and is usually an excellent first step in getting your record information.

      When the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office files a case against you as the result of an arrest, a court record still may exist even if the case was dismissed. The court clerks within the Juvenile Division can assist with providing case file information and certified dispositions (official documentation of an outcome of a case). You have a legal right to access your own court files and records but note that obtaining physical copies may require a small fee.

      Prepare and File Juvenile Expungement Petition

        Once you have copies of your juvenile records, you need to prepare and file the required court documents. The Office of The State Appellate Defender (OSAD) provides detailed step-by-step instructions on how to do so and provides court documents that should be accepted statewide, by law. 

        In Cook County, all juvenile expungement petitions are heard in the Cook County Juvenile Division, located at 1100 S. Hamilton Ave., Ground Floor, Chicago, IL, 60612. This is also the location to physically file your court petition with the Clerk of the Court, which must be done in person. 

        There is no e-filing at this time for juvenile expungement petitions, nor file-by-mail. There is no cost to file juvenile expungement petitions.

        When you file your court petition, you should receive a “file stamped” copy of the petition back to keep for your personal record as proof of the day you filed the petition. 

        Wait for Notice and Court Date

          The Clerk’s Office is required to provide notice of your filing to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Illinois State Police (ISP) and each local law enforcement agency that arrested you in Cook County. 

          These entities have 45 days from receiving notice of your filed expungement petition to notify you if they object to your expungement petition being granted for some reason. Once a response is filed and/or that time period has lapsed, the Clerk’s Office schedules a court date for each petitioner and should notify you of that court date, time and location.

          If there is an objection to your expungement petition being granted, you will have an opportunity to respond and explain why you believe your petition should be granted and your need for expungement. 

          If you are asking for expungement where you were found guilty of a Class A Misdemeanor of Felony offense, the judge has a choice in whether or not to grant the expungement for those arrests/cases. 

          For arrests that did not result in a court case being filed, a court case was filed and dismissed, cases that resulted in a sentence of supervision that was completed successfully, and cases where you were found guilty of a Class B or C Misdemeanor, or a petty offense, these must be expunged as a matter of law.

          Obtain Court Order

            Regardless of the outcome of your juvenile expungement case, you should be provided with a court order granting and/or denying expungement of the arrests and cases you filed for. This court order is signed by a judge and is an official record of the outcome of your filed petition. 

            Once an order granting expungement is entered, law enforcement and the court have 60 days from the service of the expungement order to comply with the order and expunge the records listed. Once an order granting expungement is entered, the records or files for that offense shall be treated as if it never occurred.

            Occasionally, law enforcement may not receive notice of the expungement in a timely manner, or at all, so it is important to always keep a copy of any court orders for your personal records to ensure that if an expunged record ever comes up again, you have a legal document stating that it should be treated as if it does not exist.

            Full text of Expungement of Juvenile Law Enforcement and Juvenile Court Records Section of Juvenile Court Act: 705 ILCS 405/5-915.

            Additional Information

              Juvenile Justice Division
              1100 S. Hamilton Avenue
              Chicago, IL, 60612
              (312) 433-4757

              Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County
              (312) 433-4941

              Cook County State’s Attorney Office
              (312) 433-7000

              Cook County Public Defender
              (312) 433-7046

              Chicago Police Department - Juvenile Intervention and Support Center
              (312) 747-3934

              Illinois State Police Bureau of Identification
              260 N. Chicago St.
              Joliet, IL, 60431
              Attention: Expungement

              Office of the State Appellate Defender
              (866) 431-4907