Running a free Illinois arrest and criminal records check for every IL county can be done right now and has never been easier. Search public record databases today with their full name and uncover details about any person’s past.
Illinois criminal records can be cumbersome to access since there are so many record-keeping agencies, so Illinois Records Page simplifies the process with our free guides that show readers what records are public, where to look for those records, and how the records can be used.

This guide empowers readers with the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to know how to:

  • Find Illinois recent arrests, mugshots, the reason for arrests, bail details
  • Review Illinois criminal records, obtain copies, and begin the expunge or sealing process
  • Check for warrants in Illinois
  • Find Illinois state prisoners and federal prisoners too
  • Locate sex offenders in Illinois neighborhoods
  • Perform an Illinois background check
  • Interpret laws surrounding Illinois state records, public records, and antidiscrimination

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Which Illinois’s Criminal Records & Arrest Records Are Open to the Public? Which Records Are Not Public Records in Illinois?

When searching records in Illinois, it’s important to know which ones are considered public records, and what restrictions are placed on disclosure. Not all records can be viewed by the general public, and how records are released to the public, and which ones can be released, is outlined in state law.
Under the state’s Freedom of Information Act, 5 ILCS 140, Illinois criminal records are considered public records and can be viewed by anyone. The act provides the public with guidance on what records can be accessed and how to make a request.
Arrest records in Illinois are also included under the state’s Freedom of Information Act guidance, making them public records accessible to anyone upon request, and allowing law enforcement agencies to publish certain details about arrests if the agency wishes to do so.

The state FOIA law further requires that arrest records be made available to the media when an arrest is made, and must include the following data:

  • Identify the person arrested (name, age, description, address, and a photo when available)
  • Charges filed against the person
  • Date, time, and location of the arrest
  • Law enforcement agency that made the arrest, and
  • The jail where the person is being held pending trial.

Certain criminal or arrest records are not considered public including juvenile delinquency records, matters that have been sealed or expunged, or those that are otherwise restricted by the courts or state law (such as investigative reports while a case is still being adjudicated or information that identifies witnesses, victims, or confidential informants). These records will not appear on daily arrest reports. In addition, per 20 ILCS 2635, certified or official background checks can only reveal convictions, not non-convictions, on any records requested by the public for adult criminal history.

Understanding the difference between an arrest record and a criminal history helps hiring managers, landlords, or licensing boards make decisions on candidate applications.

Illinois Criminal Records vs Arrest Records: Differences Between Each Type

Arrest records in Illinois reveal that a person was taken into custody by law enforcement, housed in a detention facility until bonded out or until trial and that the person was accused of committing a criminal offense. Arrest records do not show anything beyond the initial law enforcement contact with the suspect.
It is not a record of disposition, so an arrest record is only a portion of an overall criminal history. Because Illinois law prohibits background checks from placing non-conviction information on a report, an arrest may not even show up until there is a disposition against the defendant.
Arrest records are public records and can be requested by anyone, but they are only one part of the total Illinois criminal history. Illinois criminal records show all the data included in an arrest record plus what happened with the case in court, and if there is a non-conviction, such as a dismissal or acquittal, the matter will not appear on an official criminal history report.

Only convictions for misdemeanor or felony offenses become part of the public criminal record report.

This distinction between the two types of records is why agencies or businesses are advised against using just arrest records to make hiring decisions and are provided guidance from state and federal sources, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, on the use of criminal history when onboarding new staff. An arrest record may be how to find out what someone was arrested for, but may not show what they were convicted of. More about the laws surrounding background checks in Illinois can be found further below.

How To Search Recent Arrests & Learn Why Someone Is in Jail in Illinois: Try This Search for Free

When a person is taken into custody, people will wonder why they were arrested, or someone may want to know if a person they know has been arrested and where they are being held. Others may just be curious to see who’s in jail in their area and why someone is in jail.
Doing a jail inmate search is also how to find out someone’s charges in jail. Searching arrest records should start with the local sheriff’s office which usually maintains the county jail.
Even when the county agency is not the arresting agency, it is best practice to start with the county sheriff’s department for an inmate search instead of the local police department. For the searcher’s convenience, we have included a table below that lists the county sheriff’s offices, links to pages (where available), and information on whether the page has an inmate search tool and shows a mugshot.

Review County Arrest Records Search in Illinois: (IL Mugshots & Inmate Search Methods)

Using the table we’ve provided here, searchers can try to find out if a person in their area is in jail, or how to find recent arrests. Each listing provides a non-emergency contact number to make jail inquiries.
Individuals can also search using VINELink, which is the only approved third-party vendor for maintaining jail records for Illinois jails, and can help someone find recent arrests.

How to Access Recent Arrest Records in Illinois City Jails

When it comes to searching for recent arrest records in Illinois, county lockup facilities are typically the initial point of reference. However, it’s important to note that city law enforcement agencies in larger metropolitan areas with higher populations and increased crime rates may also release and maintain records of recent arrests in their respective city jails.

Searching for Arrest Records in Illinois

Chicago Police Department Arrest Records The Chicago Police Department offers an online portal for individuals to search for recent arrests. The information available includes the person’s name, date and location of the arrest, bond details, charges, and a mugshot. Additionally, there is a section that provides information about the release date or the location where the person is being housed if they have not made a bond or had a hearing. This arrest report allows users to understand the reasons behind an individual’s custody by the Chicago PD.

  • Aurora Police Department Arrest Records: The Aurora Police Department does not maintain an online list of current arrests. To obtain information about where someone has been taken after an arrest by the Aurora PD, individuals must contact the police department’s non-emergency line at 630-256-5000 or search the jails in one of the four counties where Aurora operates: DuPage, Kane, Kendall, or Will Counties.
  • Joliet Police Department Arrest Records: Similarly, the Joliet Police Department, which is the third-largest city in Illinois, does not publish a list of arrestees online. Those seeking information about Joliet PD arrestees should check the county lockup in Will County to determine if the individual is housed there.

Statewide Arrest Record Search in Illinois

While there is no statewide arrest records database in Illinois, individuals can use the Illinois Court search engine to search all court filings. This can help in identifying whether an arrest warrant has been issued in a specific case. Please note that this process involves clicking on individual case filings to review details, which may require some time.
Registration is necessary to access court records in the online database, but charges are only incurred when requesting official copies, not per search. The courts are the official compilers of the overall criminal record in the state.

Contacting an Illinois Inmate and Posting Bail

To contact an inmate in Illinois and learn about their bond status, it is crucial to determine where the person is housed. You can find this information by following the steps and using the table provided above for city and county law enforcement agencies. The agency’s website or the non-emergency number listed in the table or on the agency’s homepage can provide information about visitation, contact methods, and bond-related inquiries.

Please be aware that each jail may have its own visitation schedules and methods (in-person or via video), so it is essential to review all available information on visitation and contact on the department’s website. If a working website is not available, individuals can call the non-emergency number to obtain further information regarding visitation and contact.

Lake County Sheriff’s Office Bail Procedures

Lake County Sheriff’s Office exclusively accepts cash or cashier’s checks for bail payment, in accordance with their official website. Those wishing to post bail on behalf of an inmate, whether family or friends are advised to adhere to the following instructions:

  • Bail Bond Form: For bail amounts under $10,000, individuals must complete a bail bond form. This form can be obtained from the circuit court.
  • Bond Information Form: In the case of bail amounts exceeding $10,000, a bond information form must be filled out. Detailed guidelines for this procedure can be found on the agency’s website.

Contacting Inmates or Posting Bail

To obtain information on contacting inmates or posting bail at a specific facility, please refer to the table of county sheriff’s offices provided above. You can initiate contact via the respective website or the non-emergency contact number.

Understanding Arrest Records in Illinois

Arrest records in Illinois represent just one aspect of an individual’s comprehensive criminal history. They mark the initiation of an individual’s court or criminal record. Below, we provide more details on utilizing court records to construct a more comprehensive understanding of someone’s criminal history.

Accessing Criminal Records in Illinois (Search IL Criminal Records)

The Illinois Courts, a branch of government, are responsible for receiving all criminal complaints lodged in the circuit or jurisdiction where the arrest or charge was initiated. Their duties encompass scheduling hearings and maintaining records for each case within that circuit. Each county features a circuit clerk of the court who oversees the court staff in that particular region.

Searching Illinois Criminal Records

Victims, witnesses, or the public, in general, often seek information about individuals charged with crimes in their vicinity. To access Illinois criminal records via the court system, follow these steps:

  • Open the Illinois Courts Page: Visit the official Illinois Courts website.
  • Access the Service Menu: Hover your mouse pointer over the “Services” tab to reveal the drop-down menu.
  • Navigate to re:SearchIL: Click on the link for the online state court record repository titled “re:SearchIL.” Please note that this is a .net site, not a .gov site; however, it serves as the official state public records repository for court records.
  • Register for Access: Users are required to register for access to the website. Registration is free and can be completed in one of two ways:
  • As the defendant, in order to view their own record.
  • As a member of the general public seeking data related to their area.
  • Log In to Your Registered Account: Sign in using your registered account credentials.
  • Initiate an Advanced Search: Click the “Advanced Search” button on the website’s main page.
  • Select Search Category: In the first search category section, choose “party” from the drop-down menu. This selection allows you to perform a name-based search.
  • Enter Name for Search: Provide the first and last name of the person you are searching for.
  • Perform the Search: Click the “Search” button to initiate the search.
  • Review Search Results: A list of all cases associated with the specified party’s name will be displayed. Click on the name at the top of each box to access detailed information about the case.

Learn How To Get a Copy of Criminal Records in Illinois

The Illinois State Police is the official provider of certified employment or housing background checks in the state. Agencies or businesses must register with the state’s Division of Innovation and Technology for a digital ID to access records online.

To request a copy of a person’s criminal record through the Illinois State Police, follow these steps:

  • Open the Illinois State Police (ISP) website.
  • Click the link for CHIRP (Criminal History Information Response Process), which is the official online request portal.
  • Register for a digital ID through the state. Once a digital ID has been issued, the searcher can request Illinois criminal records online.
  • Once registered, log into the account and perform a name-based search for Illinois criminal records.

Submitting Background Check Requests: 
The ISP prefers requests for background checks to be submitted through CHIRP or through the online Uniform Conviction Information Form. There is a slight fee per record for an official background check.

Subject’s Consent Required: The subject must also be informed of the screening and give consent to the background check before the ISP will run this person’s history.

Checking Your Own Criminal Record: Individuals wishing to see their own Illinois criminal record can request a copy of it from any local state police department, correctional facility, or licensed vendor that can take the person’s fingerprints to run the record.

Why Check for a Criminal Record?

How to check if someone has a criminal record helps with making decisions for housing, employment, or personal reasons. Obtaining a person’s criminal record can show if the person was convicted of any misdemeanor or felony charges in the state and was placed in prison or received a sentence of probation (either supervised or unsupervised).

How To Determine if Someone Is on Probation or Parole in Illinois

Probation and parole is a form of court-ordered supervision that occurs in the community rather than in a prison setting.

Statistical Comparison

For reference, the following image displays the total number of probationers and parolees in Illinois and compares it with other states across the United States. Additionally, it showcases the ethnicities of individuals on community supervision in Illinois, including probation and parole.

How to Check Probation Status in Illinois: Access the Illinois Courts Probation Services Division Website
To check who is on probation in Illinois Search for Probationer Information

When you visit the Illinois Courts Probation Services Division website, you’ll find that there is no direct online link for probationer searches. To determine someone’s probation status, you will need to search their court records through the Illinois Court System Services statewide records repository link. This process requires registration.

Understanding How To Seal or Expunge a Criminal Record in Illinois

Sealing or expunging a record removes it from public view, ensuring it does not appear on a criminal background check. The process to seal or expunge a record in Illinois is as follows:

  • Initiate Online Search: Open an online search engine, such as Google.
  • Search for Steps in Illinois: Type “steps to seal or expunge cases in Illinois” into the search bar.
  • Visit Official State Agency Website: Locate the official state agency website responsible for handling sealing and expunging cases. In this search, it is the website of the Illinois Office of the State Appellate Defender.
  • Access Expungement Forms: On the official website, find the correct expungement form by clicking the link provided. Available forms include juvenile, adult, and cannabis forms.
  • Form Guidance and Download: Clicking the link will provide detailed instructions on how to complete and file the form. Download and complete the appropriate form(s).
  • File Forms at Circuit Court: Submit the completed forms to the circuit court where the disposition was entered regarding the charges. This can be done in person at the courthouse or through e-filing online on the Illinois Courts website.
  • Notification Process: The circuit clerk will notify the relevant parties, including the district attorney, city or town counsel/attorney where the arrest occurred, the agency that made the arrest or filed the charges, and the Illinois State Police, in case any of these entities wish to file an objection to the petition.
  • Objection or No Objection: If there are no objections, the court may grant the expungement without a hearing. However, if there is an objection, a hearing will be scheduled.
  • Final Court Decision: The court will make the final determination regarding the petition. If the expungement is granted, the concerned agencies will be informed of the decision, and the record will be handled according to the court’s order.

Eligible Cases for Expungement in Illinois

  • Individuals arrested and then released with charges never formally filed.
  • Cases that have been dismissed.
  • Situations where the defendant was acquitted.
  • Cases where the courts find no probable cause to proceed.
  • Any convictions where the disposition was reversed or vacated.
  • Most misdemeanor or felony convictions.

Ineligible Cases for Expungement or Sealing

  • DUI (Driving Under the Influence) convictions.
  • Reckless driving convictions for drivers over 25 years old at the time of the offense.
  • Traffic infractions or minor offenses.
  • Domestic battery convictions.
  • Battery of an unborn child convictions.
  • Violation of a protective order conviction.
  • Any sex offenses or matters that require a sex offender registry.
  • Public indecency charges.
  • Dog fighting convictions.
  • Animal neglect convictions.

Sealing or Expunging a Record in Illinois

Sealing or expunging a record in Illinois provides individuals with a better opportunity to secure employment or housing, especially when a criminal record has been a significant obstacle. Even if an individual has served a prison sentence, they can seek the court’s permission to seal or expunge their record, provided that all conditions have been met. Below, we outline how to determine if someone is currently incarcerated in Illinois.

Finding Illinois State Prisoners & Federal Offenders

Citizens in Illinois may have a legitimate interest in knowing who is currently incarcerated within their state or may wish to ascertain the incarceration status of a person they either testified against or who committed a crime against them. Illinois houses a total of five federal prisons and 43 state institutions. To conduct a search for federal inmates in Illinois, follow these steps:

  • Access the Federal Bureau of Prison (BOP) Search Portal.
  • Enter the Subject’s Name. If available, you can also include information such as race, sex, and age to narrow down the search criteria.
  • Click “Search” at the bottom of the page.
  • Review the Search Results. Look for records that match the subject’s information. If the individual is currently in federal custody, the search results will indicate their location in the “Located At” section.

Searching for State Correctional Inmates in Illinois

Federal prisoners constitute only a minority of the total prisoner population in Illinois. The majority of individuals in custody have been convicted of violating state laws and are incarcerated in state-managed correctional facilities.

How to Search for a State Correctional Inmate

  • Visit the Illinois Department of Corrections Website: Go to the official website of the Illinois Department of Corrections.
  • Navigate to “Individuals in Custody”: Hover your mouse pointer over the section titled “Individuals in Custody” on the website’s menu.
  • Select “Individual in Custody” Link: From the dropdown menu that appears, select the “Individual in Custody” link.
  • Choose Last Name Search: Check the circle indicating your preference to search by the individual’s last name.
  • Enter Last Name: In the provided search box, enter the last name of the subject you are searching for.
  • Initiate the Search: Click the “Find” button to begin the search.
  • Review Search Returns: Examine the list of search results to locate records matching your search criteria.
  • Select Records for Review: Highlight the records that correspond to the search subject you are interested in.
  • Access Inmate Details: At the bottom of the page, click the button labeled “Query a Highlighted Inmate” to access detailed information.

Explore Inmate Details

The details page will display:

      • A mugshot of the inmate
      • Physical description
      • Convictions
      • Inmate’s current location
      • Projected parole date
      • Projected release date
      • Total length of the imposed sentence.

Prison Sentencing and Conditions

Prison is usually the last part of a person’s sentencing unless the individual is released on parole. For those who serve out their term, once released they are no longer under any type of conditions unless they are required to register as a sex offender, which will be discussed later in the article.

Issuance of a Warrant: Cases typically start with the issuance of a warrant, which will be discussed in detail below.

Illinois Warrant Search: Find Out About Arrest Warrants

People want to know if there is a warrant out for their arrest, or if friends or family are wanted by the police. Warrants are generally considered public records in the state, but there is not centralized state warrant database that can be reviewed.
Instead, individuals need to check with the local law enforcement agency where they live or work to see if warrants have been issued.
Many agencies will publish a list online of active warrants and encourage those with a warrant to turn themselves in and resolve the matter. To search for warrants in a specific area, do the following:

Locating an Inmate, Posting Bail, or Visitation/Contact

Using the steps and table above on how to locate an inmate is also how to find out about posting bail or visitation/contact with an inmate at the facility where the person is housed. The agency may publish a most wanted list, a warrant roster, or the agency may not include warrant data on the webpage at all.

Example: Warrants in Lake County, Illinois

For example, someone in Lake County may ask themselves: how do I know if I have been charged with a crime? When searching warrants in that area, the searcher will type Illinois Lake County warrants, and the official site would be the Lake County Sheriff’s Office website. From this website, searchers can review a PDF file of all the active warrants in that county.
The warrant list has the individual’s name, last known address, age, sex, race, date of birth, height, weight, hair and eye color, and when the warrant was issued.

Chicago Police Department’s Active Warrants List

The Chicago Police Department maintains an active warrants list on its official website. This list provides additional information compared to the Lake County list, including details about the alleged crime and a mugshot of the individual accused. However, it’s worth noting that a search of the CPD’s website reveals that numerous warrant lists have not been updated for several years.16

Checking for Warrants

If an individual suspects that there may be a warrant out for their arrest, they have the option to retain an attorney to assist them in verifying the existence of a warrant. An attorney can also help the individual surrender to law enforcement and expedite the process of obtaining bail while simultaneously working on the individual’s defense in court.

Warrants and Background Screenings

The presence of warrants on a background screening depends on the type of check being conducted and the entity performing the screening.

Searching the Illinois Sex Offender Registry for Nearby Sexual Predators

In light of the gravity of sexual offenses, individuals convicted of such crimes are mandated to register with the local sheriff’s office within their respective counties of residence. Citizens possess the right to access this registry, thereby gaining insight into the identities of sex offenders residing in their vicinity. This transparency serves to enhance public safety and awareness.
There are various motivations for consulting the registry, ranging from mere curiosity to the necessity of such knowledge for purposes such as employment, licensure, or housing applications. In certain instances, individuals with a sex offense history may face housing denials if their residency breaches the registry regulations. Likewise, they may encounter employment rejections if their convictions pose a potential threat to public safety or the welfare of vulnerable populations.

To initiate a search within the registry, please follow these steps:

Access the Illinois State Police Website: Visit the Illinois State Police website.
Navigate to the Sex Offender Registry: Click on the link designated for the sex offender registry.

Acknowledgment of Disclaimer

  • Read the disclaimer carefully.
  • Click the “agree” button located at the bottom of the disclaimer to proceed.

Enter Subject’s Information

  • Provide the subject’s first and last name.
  • Click the “find” button to initiate the search.

Review Search Results: Examine the list of search results to identify the record that corresponds to the subject.

The information accessible through the registry encompasses the following details:

  • Offender Name
  • Aliases
  • Address
  • Mugshot
  • Physical Description
  • Crimes Convicted Of
  • County of Conviction
  • Compliance Status with Registry Requirements

Utilization of Sex Offender Registry Information for Housing and Employment

Utilization of the sex offender registry information for housing or employment purposes is subject to the same laws as other criminal history data but must comply with state and federal statutes.

Run-Down of Criminal Records & Arrest Records Laws in Illinois

Ultimately, any use of Illinois criminal records is subject to state and federal laws that limit what can be released and how it can be used.

The Employment Background Fairness Act (HB 3056) of 2021

In 2021, the state passed the Employment Background Fairness Act (HB 3056), making it unlawful to refuse employment to a person based solely on a past criminal conviction. Employers must assess how the conviction directly impacts the person’s ability to perform the job. For instance, while a person convicted of child abuse may be automatically denied employment in a childcare center, this statute prevents automatic denial of employment in a fast food restaurant based on past convictions.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Guidelines

This bill aligns with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines regarding the use of criminal or arrest records in hiring decisions. The EEOC enforces anti-discrimination laws on the local level, addressing the unlawful use of background checks in a discriminatory manner. The state law reinforces existing federal laws.

Uniform Conviction Information Act of 1991 (20 ILCS 2635)

The Uniform Conviction Information Act of 1991 designates the Illinois State Police as the official criminal record repository. This act restricts the release of records to conviction information within the state of Illinois only. Nationwide background checks must be processed through the FBI for a comprehensive screening.

The UCIA mandates agencies to maintain a file for two years, including the subject’s written consent to a background screening. The subject must be provided a copy of the screening report and given a seven-day window to notify the Illinois State Police if the information on the report is incorrect. The UCIA also establishes fees for the background check service.

Background Screenings for Specific Positions

Background screenings for certain positions, such as those involving work with children or vulnerable adults (elderly/disabled), are subject to the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act and the National Child Protection Act. These acts specify certain offenses as automatic disqualifiers for positions involving vulnerable persons.

Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act

Illinois also has the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act, which is the state’s “ban the box” law. This law prohibits employers from inquiring about a person’s criminal history until the person has been referred for an interview after an initial determination that the person meets the job qualifications.

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

The Fair Credit Reporting Act prohibits looking back more than seven years for most positions and applies to non-convictions as well. This means there is an added level of protection against non-convictions appearing on an Illinois background check. FCRA guidelines apply to commercial people finder sites as well as government agencies.

Governing Arrest Records

All of these laws also govern arrest records in Illinois, specifying what can and cannot be released to the public and outlining the responsibilities of agencies that possess these records when presented with a record’s request.


What is a complimentary criminal and arrest records lookup in Illinois counties?

A complimentary criminal and arrest records lookup in Illinois counties is a service that allows individuals to access publicly available information about criminal history and arrest records for free. It can provide essential background information about individuals who may have been involved in legal issues within the state.

How can I perform a complimentary criminal and arrest records lookup in Illinois counties?

To perform a complimentary lookup, you can visit the official website of the Illinois State Police or the respective county’s law enforcement agency. They often provide online databases or resources where you can search for criminal and arrest records using the individual’s name, date of birth, or other relevant details.

What information can I typically find in these records?

Complimentary criminal and arrest records may include details about arrests, charges filed, court dispositions, and sentencing information. However, the specific information available can vary by county and the level of access granted to the public.

Is there any confidential or restricted information in these records?

Yes, certain confidential or sensitive information, such as juvenile records or sealed records, may not be accessible through complimentary record lookups. Additionally, some counties may have restrictions on the release of certain information to the public.

Are there limitations to using complementary criminal and arrest records lookups for background checks?

Yes, it’s important to note that these records may not provide a complete picture of an individual’s criminal history, as not all offenses may be included, and there could be delays in updating the databases. For more comprehensive background checks, consider using official background check services or contacting the Illinois State Police directly.