Any case prosecuted in juvenile court other than first degree murder and felony sex offenses may be expunged.
When Is A Person Eligible To Petition For Expunction?
A. The later of age 17 or case termination if placed on supervision and terminated successfully, found not guilty, case dismissed by the court or prosecutor, review of law enforcement reports by the State's Attorney results in no Petition being filed, or sentenced to probation or conditional discharge for an offense that would be a Class B or Class C misdemeanor if committed by an adult.
B. The later of age 18 or case termination if the minor, as a first offender, is placed on probation or conditional discharge for an offense that would be classified as a Class A misdemeanor if committed by an adult.
C. The later of age 21 or five years from case termination if the minor is placed on probation, conditional discharge, or committed to the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice for an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult.
Recent Laws Affecting The Expunction Of Illinois Juvenile Court And Law Enforcement Records
First, the passage of P.A. 95-1031 amends 705 ILCS 405/5-105 and 5-120 to require the prosecution of all persons under the age of 18 (previously 17) who are charged with a misdemeanor to occur in juvenile, rather than criminal court. A study will determine if this law will be expanded to include 17 year-olds with a felony (which would take effect 1/1/11). If, through plea negotiations, or a trial results in a guilty finding only on a misdemeanor charge, the person has the benefit of receiving a juvenile court sentence. I have yet to hear what happens to the criminal court file and report of proceedings when such a case is sent back to juvenile court. Second is P.A. 96-707, which allows first offenders with misdemeanors to schedule an expungement review hearing to be held within one month of the minor's 18th birthday or, if later, within one month of the sentence's termination. At most hearings, the judge will order your court and law enforcement records expunged within 60 days.
So How Do I Get My Case Expunged?
The Circuit Court Clerks of several counties have expunction forms available online. To find your County's directory type www.co.[your county].il.us in your web browser and scan "Agencies" or something similar to find the Clerk of the Circuit Court. Then look for "Forms" available for the Juvenile Division. The Illinois State Appellate Defender's website, http://www.state.il.us/defender/juvexp.html, also contains forms allowing you to fill in your County's name, and easy-to-read instructions and suggestions for completing these forms and what to do with them when you're done. Once the forms are completed they need to be filed at the Clerk's Office and served upon the State's Attorney, the State Police, and the arresting police agency. In some instances you may be given a court date right then. In others, you may be notified by the Clerk's Office if a court appearance is required and when that will occur.
Does It Cost Anything?
No attorney is required, but if you want one you have to hire one. At least in Lake County, expunction proceedings are deemed civil in nature so a Public Defender will not be appointed, even if one represented the minor on the case sought to be expunged. Not including attorney's fees, if you choose to retain one, there is typically a fee assessed by the Clerk's Office for filing a Petition to Expunge. In the northern region that fee is $60. In Cook it costs $120. Each county also charges a small fee to certify (authenticate) copies of an order granting an expunction.
"Concurrent jurisdiction" means the police can charge the offense under a city ordinance rather than state law and refer the case to a branch court. Branch court isn't just for speeding tickets or status offenses. Some offenses carry the prospect for jail. Juvenile court participants are assured confidentiality of their records, but a minor prosecuted in branch court is not afforded any degree of confidentiality. The law for expunging these records is different.
Second, Just because a person is eligible to have his or her case expunged does not mean the judge has to grant the Petition. Don't lose hope, though. A petition is denied "without prejudice," meaning that the individual can try again in the future if the facts and circumstances change (e.g. denied a specific job because of the case) such that it would influence the judge to change his/her mind.
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