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Illinois Arrest Records

Illinois arrest records are public records that detail an individual’s criminal history. Arrest records are criminal records kept by law enforcement agencies or other judicial institutions like the court. Under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act [5 ILCS 140], criminal history records, including an arrest, are public information. 

By law, an arrest record should contain the following:

  • Individual information, including the person’s name, age, and address. 
  • A photograph, when it is available. 
  • Any relevant details that relate directly to the arrest
  • Specific location and the time of the arrest
  • Name of the arresting or investigating law enforcement agency
  • Time and date a person was received, discharged, or transferred if incarcerated.


What Laws Govern Arrests in the State?

Under the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963, a person of authority can make an arrest when they have a valid warrant from the court. A law enforcer can also make an arrest without a warrant if he has reasonable grounds to believe such a person committed an offense or a crime. A person can also be arrested when an officer believes that a warrant has already been issued for their arrest. 


What Is the Arrest Booking Process in Illinois?

Once a person is arrested, he or she must be booked at the precinct. At best, the process can take hours to complete following the standard procedures outlined below:

Personal information and mugshot photos

As a first step, the suspect’s name and the alleged crime they were arrested for are entered into a computer database. After that, the police will take a mug shot of the suspect.

Personal effects

Booking officers will take a suspect’s personal effects, like any accessory or their clothing, into custody and return it after a suspect is released from jail. There are times when suspects can keep small personal items like a watch upon request. However, items that are considered evidence or contraband will remain in the custody of the police. 

Fingerprints and pending warrants

The next step is to take the suspect’s fingerprints. This part of the booking process helps law enforcers identify suspects even across the state since fingerprints are ented into a nationwide database that the FBI maintains. The police then run the fingerprints for comparison, which helps them identify the perpetrators. The search will also check for outstanding warrants or any pending charges. If the suspect happens to have a pending warrant, they are normally not allowed release on bail. 

Strip and full body search

Once that is out of the way, the police may perform a full body search and cursory pat-down as part of the booking process. Sometimes, law enforcers would perform a strip search to prevent drugs or any type of weapons from entering a jail. While it may feel intrusive, a strip search is legal. 

Health screening

Next, the police will perform a health screening that may include blood tests in case of sexually transmitted diseases or X-rays to check for tuberculosis. This is to protect the safety and health of jail officials and other inmates. The police can also ask for a DNA sample. 

Questioning with Miranda exception

A police officer can also interrogate an inmate if they have any affiliation, former or present, to gangs. Depending on their answer, an inmate may be placed in a different section of the jail or in protective custody. 


What Are Illinois Mugshot Records?

Illinois arrest records include mug shots. These are photographs of a suspect’s face at the time when they were arrested. Mug shots are essential since they provide a suspect’s current physical condition at the time of the arrest. Mug shots can also be taken as evidence if the suspect had been in an altercation or if the police used unlawful force in making the arrest. 

The police can publish mug shots since they are considered public records. Mug shots are also available from third-party websites, although their information must be up-to-date and accurate. 


How Long Does an Arrest Record Stay in Illinois?

Just like warrants, arrest records remain in Illinois as a public record. Since such records are available to the public, they do not expire in general and remain in the national or local database. 

How To Expunge an Arrest Record in Illinois

Similar to criminal records in Illinois, arrest records are expunged or hidden upon request. Expungement proceedings can take as much as a few months. To expunge an arrest record in Illinois, the suspect of the arrest must get a copy of their criminal records from the authorized law enforcement agency and fill out the expungement form detailing the following information addressed to the Illinois State Police:

  • Offender’s personal information (name, DOB, race, gender, and case number, if applicable)
  • Case numbers of all eligible criminal offenses or arrest records that can be expunged
  • County state attorney
  • Arresting agency
  • The county clerk of the circuit court 

Note that not all offenses can be expunged in Illinois. Arrest records for minor traffic offenses, reckless driving, DUI, misdemeanors and felony, and sexual offenses against a minor are exempted from expungement in the state. Illinois can also object to the petition to expunge within 60 days upon submission. 


How To Search Illinois Arrest Records

The state of Illinois has a search system online through the Illinois State Police (ISP) that the public can use to look for their arrest records. Anyone can view their own record and get their criminal history transcript detailing arrest records using their fingerprint. An individual may submit a request to the ISP and also provide other necessary information like their name, date of birth, gender, etc. 

The public can also access arrest records using the information provided by the Office of the Illinois court system, which includes public court records from the circuit courts, appellate courts, and even the Supreme Court. An eDocket is also available to search for cases using any of the following information: 

  • case number, 
  • case documents, 
  • case schedule, 
  • docket sheet, 
  • service list, or 
  • browse case details

Individuals can also use county-specific arrest records as long as they have personal information (name including the first and last name and date of birth), a business name, or a case number. 

The Public Access to Court Electronic Records (also referred to as PACER) is also available to search for Illinois arrest records, but requires the public to register online to perform case searches.

Counties in Illinois

Jails and Prisons in Illinois

Chicago RRM 200 W. ADAMS ST, RM 2915, CHICAGO, IL
North Lawndale Adult Transition Center2839 West Fillmore, Chicago, IL
Cook County Department of Corrections (Cook County Jail)2700 South California Avenue, Chicago, IL
Crossroads Adult Transition Center3210 West Arthington, Chicago, IL
DuPage County IL Jail501 North County Farm Road, PO Box 957, Wheaton, IL
Lake County IL Jail - Robert Babcox Justice Center20 South County Street, PO Box 38, Waukegan, IL
Lake County IL Juvenile Detention25467 North Milwaukee Ave., Vernon Hills, IL
Northern Reception and Classification Center16830 So. Broadway Street, P.O. Box 112, Joliet, IL
Stateville Correctional Center16830 So. Broadway St., P.O. Box 112, Joliet, IL