Illinois Background Checks and Public Records

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The State of Illinois

The State of Illinois has a rich history and has some interesting facts. It is home to the world’s largest bottle of catsup, the world’s largest bakery, and the world’s only river that flows backward. This fifth-most populous state had two other state capitals before Springfield – Kaskaskia, and Vandalia.

Located in the midwest region of the United States, 80% of Illinois’ land area is farmland. The state has diverse economic interests, ranging from agriculture to manufacturing.

Counties In Illinois

AdamsDuPageJo DaviessMcHenrySangamon
BrownFayetteKendallMonroeSt. Clair
De WittJasperMassacRock IslandWinnebago

Where To Get Public Records In Illinois

Like in most states, Illinois doesn’t have centralized public records maintenance. Depending on the nature of the data, public records are handled by different government agencies. 

The State Police, for instance, is responsible for the arrest records, criminal history records, and any other reports containing conviction information. They also handle background checks. If you’re specifically looking for jail and inmate records, however, the Department of Corrections manages these. Then for court records, these can be accessed from the court in which the case was held.

If you’re searching for land records, you may navigate to the Illinois Public Domain Land Tract Sales. However, if you’re specifically looking for property deeds, the county recorder of deeds has these. Then if you want just the property tax records, these can be found in the county tax assessor’s office. 

The Department of Public Health maintains vital records, including birth and death records, marriage and dissolution of marriage records, civil union records and dissolution of civil union records, adoption records, and genealogy records.

Accessing and Acquiring Public Records in Illinois

Public records are mainly governed by Illinois’s Freedom of Information Act (IL FOIA). This law applies to any record including books, photographs, recordings, and any documentary material received or stored by a public entity. Also, the Uniform Conviction Information Act (UCIA) governs access to all criminal history records. There are several other state-specific and county-specific law enforcement relating to public records; all these are meant to fulfill public services and guarantee public safety.

There’s a due process (and a certain fee) in requesting such records which usually varies depending on the sensitivity of the information or the complexity of the procedure needed to gather the data. Some offer online access or via phone calls, while others require a formal written request or a personal visit to the office.

If the processes seem to be too tedious for you, you may always utilize a third-party people search engine.

Illinois Background Check Reports

While most background check requests received by the Bureau of Identification are for employment decision purposes, these reports may as well be used for tenant screening, license issuance, or child adoption application.

Illinois’ background is of no exemption from the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The state also passed Ban-the-box (HB 5701) in 2015 to further protect the rights of job applicants. They also have the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act prohibiting employers from executing unjust and conditional offers. All these state laws regulate standard, consumer credit, and criminal background checks.

Anyone can request a basic background check, but the Bureau of Identification is stricter when it comes to consumer credit and criminal history checks. In 2010, then IL Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill into law prohibiting the use of credit score as a pre-employment screening. There are some exceptions, however, such as the screening of a public officer of the Illinois government or the hiring process for employees that will need to handle financial or confidential information, trade secrets, or any security information.

Background check including criminal records costs $33 for paper and $28 for electronic. The records include basic information like employment and education history, as well as a more in-depth review of pertinent criminal history including the degree of offense, disposition date, and the sentence imposed.

Note that you may also conduct background checks using a trustworthy third-party site.

Illinois Official Websites

Frequently Asked Questions About Illinois Background Checks

How do I get an Illinois background check?

In Illinois, a person may request their criminal history transcript with their local law enforcement or correctional facility or licensed fingerprint vendor agency. You will be asked to sign the Record Challenge form and have your fingerprints taken. 

If you aren’t interested in obtaining information about yourself besides criminal records, opt to use an online third-party service like Kiwi Searches.

What shows up on a background check in Illinois?

It depends on the type of check being conducted. For example with Criminal Background Checks in Illinois, an employer can see someone’s criminal history for the last 7 years. 

Information that may be included on a background check:

  • Full Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Maiden Name(s)
  • Current Living Address
  • Phone Number
  • Marriage History
  • Criminal Charges and Convictions on the State and Federal levels.
  • Employment History

How far back does a background check go in Illinois?

Illinois is one of the states that follows the 7-Year Rule. This means that only a person’s criminal history from the past 7 years, found from running a background check, can be viewable.

Do arrests show up on background checks in Illinois?

Past arrests are not viewable on a person’s criminal background check, only charges and convictions for the past 7 years. Also, any charges and convictions that have been expunged are not viewable as well. 

How can I check my criminal record in Illinois?

To access and check your criminal records in Illinois, you must go through the process of requesting them with your local law enforcement or correctional facility or licensed fingerprint vendor agency. You will need to get your fingerprints taken and sign the Record Challenge form. There is no fee for this, but there may be one for having your fingerprints taken.