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What is an Illinois Criminal Record?

Criminal records in Illinois are official documents that detail the types and natures of crimes a person has committed. Commonly known as rap sheets, criminal records cover all known criminal activity of an individual that has been processed by the criminal justice system. Such data to be found can include arrest data, indictments, pending and past dispositions, finalized convictions, and more. The information in these records is gathered from all levels of government, from municipal, city, county, state, and even federal should a person commit a national crime. Illinois Criminal records encompass everything from the state level and down.


What is Contained in an Illinois Criminal Record?

Illinois criminal records typically contain the following information on a convicted criminal.

  • Full name including aliases, birth date, race/ethnicity, and other physical traits
  • Identification features like fingerprints and a mugshot
  • Previous and current/pending indictments
  • Arrest records, outstanding warrants, and incarceration information if applicable
  • Conviction information

What are Illinois Arrest Records?

Arrest records are created when a person is taken into custody by agents of law enforcement, and contain details on the individual arrested, as well as why they were arrested, and where they were taken. These records cannot function as criminal records as criminals are only titled as such upon facing conviction in a court of law. Further, some arrests take place but have no mandatory incarceration despite a person being fined in the form of a ticket or citation. An arrest record will usually contain the following information about the arrest, the arresting party, and the person arrested.

  • Personal information on the arrestee, including a name, birthdate, and gender
  • The date when and place where the arrest took place
  • The name, report, and rank of the arresting officer
  • The name of the jail, prison, or detention center an arrestee was held while processed
  • The name and title of the arrest warrant issuer should one exist

What is an Illinois Arrest Warrant?

Arrest warrants in Illinois are court-issued documents that detail the events that led up to, occurred, and will occur when an arrest happens. Arrest warrants are usually issued following a request from law enforcement agents or a district attorney that believe they have enough evidence to convict an individual of a crime. Warrants are issued by court authorities like judges and magistrates. The purpose of a warrant is to allow police or sheriff offers to arrest a person they suspect of a crime they have not witnessed. Arrests are permitted without a warrant but these instances usually happen when a law enforcement agent witnesses a crime.

Arrest warrants in Illinois typically contain:

  • The details of an alleged criminal offense
  • The personal information of the suspect
  • The time allotted and place where the arrest may take place
  • The expiration date should one exist
  • The date the warrant was issued, and the name and title of the issuer
  • Any bond or bail conditions if they exist

What are Illinois Misdemeanors?

Illinois misdemeanors are minor criminal offenses and other offenses that are considered less serious than a felony. In Illinois they are classified by a letter grade from Class A Misdemeanors to Class C Misdemeanors. Class A are more serious, while Class C are the least serious. These crimes carry punishments that mostly rely on fines and other punishments like community service. In cases where jail time is called for, misdemeanors in Illinois rarely exceed one year of imprisonment.

  • Class A misdemeanors in Illinois can be punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Common Class A misdemeanors are aggavated assault, domestic battery, criminal sexual abuse, and DUIs.
  • Class B misdemeanors in Illinois can be punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,500. Common Class B misdemeanors are speeding while driving in excess of 25 miles per hour over the speed limit, criminal trespassing, possession of marijuana in an amount between 2.5 grams and 10 grams, and window peeking (also known and peeping tom.)
  • Class C misdemeanors in Illinois can be punishable by up to a month in jail, and a fine of up to $1,500. Common Class C misdemeanors include assault, disorderly conduct at a funeral or memorial service, and educational intimidation.

What are Illinois Felonies?

Illinois felonies are considered more serious crimes that are often punishable with a minimum of jail time in addition to fines and other supplementary punishments. Illinois was the 16th state to repeal the death penalty, though for serious crimes it does employ life sentences.

Felonies in Illinois are divided into 6 categories called classes. Class 4 felonies are considered the least serious, followed by classes 3, 2, and 1. A fifth class is called Class X and is considered the most serious type of crime in the state outside of first degree murder which is a special 6th class of felony. The punishments for each of these classes as well as what constitutes each one are:

  • First degree murders are considered Class X felonies of the highest degree. They are no longer punsihed by the death penalty, but instead by life imprisonment. The punishment for this crime can be aggravated by factors such as age or status as a member of law enforcement. It can also be mitigated by factors such as mental status or intoxication during the events of the crime.
  • Class X felonies in Illinois are punishable by between 6 and 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. Class X felonies include armed robbery, aggravated kidnapping, home invasion, and possession of between 15 and 100 grams of a controlled substance with intent to deliver while within 1,000 feet of a public park or housing, church, or school.
  • Class 1 felonies in Illinois are punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. Class 1 felonies include criminal sexual assault, possession of heroin, cocaine and opiods, and theft of property valued at between $10,000 and $100,000.
  • Class 2 felonies in Illinois are punishable by up to 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. Class 2 felonies include arson, burglary, possession of a stolen gun, and kidnapping.
  • Class 3 felonies in Illinois are punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. Class 3 felonies include incest related crimes, forgery, criminal abortion, and aggravated battery.
  • Class 4 felonies in Illinois are punishable by up to 1 year in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. Class 4 felonies include computer fraud, financial exploitation of the elderly or disabled, eavesdropping, false fire alarms or police reports, and mob action.

Illinois Sex Offender Listings

The Illinois sex offender registries are online lists of registered sex offenders meant to notify the public of the whereabouts and existance of potentially dangerous individuals in their area. These listings were developed as part of a federal mandate following the introduction of Megan’s Law. Sex offender registries in this state feature the names, locations, and crimes of sex offenders in specific jursidictions across the state.

Sex offender registries are available online for easier distribution to the public, who may conduct their own research on these individuals as they deem appropriate. When a sex offender in Illinois changes residence, they must notifiy the local sheriff’s department that they may update the local registry. In this way, the purpose of the sex offender registry is fulfilled in that members of the public are made aware of an individual that has earned their freedom but may theoretically still pose a threat to their neighbors.

Illinois Megan’s Law

Megan's Law is the term for state laws that create and keep up a sex offender registry, which provides information on registered sex offenders to the public. The first Megan's Law appeared after the rape and murder of 7-year-old New Jersey resident Megan Kanka by a sex offender who lived in the girl's own neighborhood. Soon after passage of this first Megan's Law, the federal government enacted a requirement, mandating all states to set up sex offender registries and offer the public information about those registered.

The state of Illinois mandates the registration of any adult or juvenile found guilty of committing or attempting to commit any of the following offenses: forcible detention, if the victim is under 18 years of age, sexual exploitation of a child, sexual relations within families and exploitation of a child.

What is a Serious Traffic Violation?

A serious traffic violation is a term that refers to a crime committed behind the wheel that may not face the same penalties of a felony but are considered more serious than the average traffic crime. They typically refer to DUIs, but may also refer to multiple minor traffic violations committed by the same individual, and any traffic offense that results in damage to property, causes an injury, or causes a death. The Illinois Secretary of State will assign points to the driver’s license of a serious traffic offenders in an attempt to warn them that further action will result in (as a result of driver’s license points) higher insurance premiums, and the potential confiscation of an individual’s driver’s license.

What are Conviction Records?

Illinois conviction records are official documents that are created when an individual is convicted of committing a crime. This is the result of the individual failing to indicate in a court of law that they are innocent of a crime in the face of evidence gathered by law enforcement or state official prosecuting them. Misdemeanors and felonies are both subject to conviction records.

While these records will indicate if an individual has been found guilty of a crime. They indicate if a person has been placed on probation, dishonorably discharged (in the case of military court), has had to pay a fine, has been imprisoned, or has been granted parole. These records will exclude these final judgements if a plea deal, pardon, or reversed decision has been granted.

What are Jail and Inmate Records?

Jail and inmate records in Illinois are documents that show details on a person who entered the Illinois Department of Corrections system. This includes inmates at both county and municipal jails and state prisons. They are generated by the jurisdictions where the prisoner was housed, and often managed by the incarceration facility where they were assigned following their guilty sentence. Illinois maintains an inmate database to help people find where these convicted criminals are held, and what services are available to them, their family members, and their loved ones. Information commonly found in these records include:

  • The full name and any known aliases of an inmate
  • The details of the offense committed
  • Any personal data pertaining to the individual, such as birthdate, gender, physical attributes, and more
  • The date of their entry into prison or jail, and the prospective date of release
  • The address of the incarceration facility, and the security level of that facility
  • Any past convictions and sentences
  • Any bail or bond conditions

Where to get Illinois Parole Information

Parole in Illinois is granted to inmates that have fulfilled certain requirements such as good behavior, and convicted criminals instead of jail time. This applies to people who were found guilty, pleaded guilty, or pleaded no contest against criminal charges and were granted parole. Parole information in Illinois contains information on these individuals and the conditions in which they were granted parole. Parole is granted by the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, which is an independent body with members appointed by the Governor of Illinois. This board imposes release conditions for any convicted criminals that exit penal facilities, revokes and grants good conduct credits for inmates. The Parole Board also notifies victims and their families when an inmate is going to be released from custody. They also provide information on paroles and paroled people.

What are Probation Records?

Illinois probation records are documents that show when a convicted person is allowed to serve their sentences outside the confines of a correctional facility while under supervision. Probation records in Illinois feature the details of the indictment, including any criminal offense, the date of the judgement, and personal data of the probated person. These records are maintained and organized by the Illinois Court System under the probation services division.

Probation sentences differ, and individual sentences will likely vary. The length of time and the conditions and parameters of the probation agreement are usually determined by the crime and discretion of the judge. Some probation sentences are strict and intensively supervised, while others allow the convicted criminal to maintain their normal business.

What are Juvenile Criminal Records?

Illinois juvenile criminal records are similar to criminal records but are specifically focused on offenders that are under the age of 18. These records contain all the same information, including information on arrests, judgements and sentences, probation records, indictments, and any adjudications. Juveniles are often not considered convicted criminals, but instead are designated as adjudicated delinquents. Juvenile records are usually not available to the public, they may still be accessed for the purposes of employment and finding residence. These records are often considered to be sealed or expunged when a person turns 18, but the fact is that these records must be requested to be sealed or expunged. These requests are nearly always honored, as the purpose of the juvenile criminal department is to reverse the type of behavior that led to these actions; not to punish a juvenile for mistakes made in their youth.

Illinois History and Accuracy of Criminal Records

Computerization of records has dramatically improved record management in every industry, and criminal records are no exception. The accuracy and availability of criminal records are at a high point, and can be accessed through the site of the record’s creation in both physical and digital format. Records are also available online through government websites and third party record amalgamation websites like

Despite the advancement of record keeping technology, record keeping is ultimately reliant on the dedication of the officials and staff responsible for the creation, documentation, and maintenance of these documents. Because of this, the accuracy and availability of records in Illinois may be subject to change depending on the municipality, city, or county it is generated in.

How to Find Criminal Records in Illinois

Illinois criminal records are kept in offline and online record depositories. These records can be accessed through the facility or court where the record was created, which is often the same facility or court where the trial or hearing relevant to the record took place. They are also available online through the website of the facility or court in question.

Most records in the state can be accessed or at least researched through the Illinois Courts website. These records are also available through third party websites such as

Illinois State Archives

State Archives

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Criminal Record

Criminal Record