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What is on "My Record?"

Posted by attorney Vijay Sharma

I get asked this a lot. To be clear, there is no ONE record. Many clients imagine something that is kept in a database somewhere that shows where you went to elementary school to high school, college and all of your jobs. There is no such thing.

When a client asks if something is going to be on their record, there are actually several records. Aside from records that can be kept with a police department, a person has a criminal record and a traffic record.

A speeding ticket will show up on your traffic record or traffic abstract. The same speeding ticket will not show up on a criminal record. Your traffic record will contain your entire traffic history. It will include the citation, disposition, location, ticket number and whether your license is suspended. The traffic record may show citations that occurred outside of the state, but it is most accurate for in-state infractions. I had a client with a suspension from Kentucky. His Illinois abstract said there was a suspension from Kentucky, but nothing could be done about it here. This client had to hire a Kentucky attorney and deal with the suspension and then wait for Kentucky to report the clearance of the suspension to Illinois.

Now, something appearing on this record is not always a bad thing. I had a violation of a stop sign ticket in 2005, just after I became a prosecutor. I received supervision and paid the fine. The ticket was not reported to my insurance. If I received a ticket today, this ticket would not be held in aggravation of any disposition on that ticket. This means it wouldn’t be held against me.

A battery charge will show on your criminal record but not on your traffic record. The record will show location, arresting agency, disposition and sentencing among other things. However, this will only show crimes in Illinois. To check a national database, the state will pull an FBI record. I’ve had clients luck out because an offense I wasn’t told about occurred in another jurisdiction and the state had no reason to check the national database.

So, in sum, there is no one record. There are several records which show and do different things.

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