If you have a history as a juvenile offender, you are likely concerned that your past might come back to haunt you despite the fact that you have long since moved on with your life. Unfortunately, sometimes the law can make it difficult for you to leave the past behind, which is why it is crucial to seek the skilled legal advice of a criminal defense attorney to find out if you can expunge your juvenile record. Expungement is the process through which the police and courts hide your juvenile record from view, preventing nearly anyone from accessing your past run-ins with the law as a youth. As a result, you could stand a better chance of getting a job or better housing.
What is a Juvenile Record?
Your juvenile record includes the police reports, computer database entries, and court documents that are created while you are under the age of 19. Every time a person is arrested as a teenager, a record is created. Oftentimes, people tend to believe that juvenile records are already essentially hidden, but this is a common misconception. While all law enforcement and court records in juvenile court are sealed, some employers and government agencies are still able to see them. If your record is expunged, however, they will no longer be able to access this information.
Is Expungement Automatic?
The answer to this depends on the details of your case. Arrests and court records are usually eligible for automatic expungements under the following circumstances:
- The arrest did not result in any charges.
- The arrest resulted in a dismissal, a terminated order of supervision, a finding of guilt for a Class B or C misdemeanor or petty offense, a finding of guilt for a Class A misdemeanor or non-violent felony.
While expungement should be automatic in some cases, you should follow up by contacting the law enforcement agency that arrested you to ensure that there is no longer a record of your arrest.
What if I Have a Record in More Than One County?
If you were arrested or charged with a juvenile offense in more than one county in the state of Illinois, this means you have a juvenile record in each county. If this applies to you, make sure that you:
- Identify the counties where you have a record
- Obtain your juvenile arrest records from any county where you have a record
- Fill out separate expungement forms for each one
- File separately for an expungement in each county
Experienced Juvenile Crimes Lawyer in Chicago
If you have a juvenile record and are concerned about the impact it might have on your life now or in the future, you need to seek skilled legal advice. At the Law Office of Steven Fine, our criminal defense attorney has more than two decades of experience in providing exceptional legal guidance and will help ensure that your past mistakes do not continue to impact your future.
Get started on your case today and contact us at (312) 436-0638 to discuss your legal options.