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How Can a Juvenile Record Affect Me as an Adult in Illinois?Making mistakes is part of growing up, and unfortunately, some of those mistakes can result in run-ins with the law. Judgments of juvenile delinquency, while typically not considered criminal convictions in Illinois, can still have consequences that last into your adult life. If you have a juvenile record, it is important to understand how those consequences can affect you, as well as what you may be able to do to avoid them through expungement.

Possible Consequences of an Illinois Juvenile Record

There is a wide range of potential consequences that come with a record of juvenile delinquency, including:

  • Public Access to Records: If your juvenile offense involves first-degree murder, sexual assault, gang-related activity, or certain drug and firearm charges, your record may be accessible to the public.
  • College Enrollment and Military Enlistment: You may be required to disclose judgments of delinquency when applying for college or enlisting in the military, which can affect your acceptance or eligibility.
  • Employment Opportunities: Law enforcement agencies, correctional facilities, prosecutor’s offices, and fire departments may consider a juvenile record in the decision to hire an employee.
  • Registration as a Sex Offender: For actions that would be considered a criminal sex offense for an adult, juveniles must register as sex offenders in Illinois.
  • Collection of DNA: If your judgment of juvenile delinquency was for a sex offense or the equivalent of a felony, you will be required to submit a DNA sample, which is stored in a database along with DNA from adult offenders.
  • License to Carry a Firearm: You may be denied a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card or have yours revoked if you have a judgment of delinquency for an offense that would be considered a felony for an adult.
  • Admission in Adult Criminal Proceedings: Judgments of juvenile delinquency can be admitted in criminal court if you face charges as an adult, and they may affect the severity of your sentence or your eligibility for certain second-chance programs.

Having Your Juvenile Record Expunged in Illinois

The good news is that is possible to petition for the expungement of many juvenile records. Upon your 18th birthday or the end of any juvenile court proceedings against you, you may be eligible to expunge records of arrests and charges if:

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What Are My Options to Clear My Criminal Record in Illinois?No one wants to have a stain on their personal record, no matter how minor or serious the charge is. It is fairly common to have a minor offense on your record from earlier in life that was likely the result of a lapse in judgment. However, a bad choice you made in your 20s should not determine who you are now. All arrests and charges, even those that end with a finding of not guilty, are included in your criminal record. Illinois recognizes one’s ability to change and offers citizens a second chance by allowing them to clear their record. While not an option for all offenders, there are three ways to clear a criminal record, each of which has its own requirements and benefits.

Expungement

If you would like your criminal record cleared, expunging the charges is the best way to accomplish this. If you meet all the qualifications and are approved by the court, the expungement will erase all arrests and court supervisions from your record, as if none of them ever happened. Anyone whose charges did not end in conviction, including orders of court supervision and special probation, can apply to have their records expunged but may have to wait years after the end of their supervision or probation before they are eligible. Illinois is unable to erase your record from federal and out-of-state charges.

Sealing

Most criminal convictions in Illinois are ineligible for expungement but can be sealed. While expunging your record completely erases the charges and arrests, sealing your records keeps them from the public eye. Because all criminal records are accessible to the public, sealing them can provide you with more privacy. Having your records sealed does not keep them a secret from everyone — law enforcement agencies and employers will still have access to these records. However, sealed misdemeanor convictions will not be visible to employers unless they are a law enforcement agency.

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