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    If my family member was arrested and the case dismissed, can the mug shot be removed and not impact a background check?

    The short answer is: it depends, although expungement may be an option.

    That is, in Illinois, when records are “expunged,” they are either physically destroyed or
    returned to the petitioner, with references to the underlying arrest and incident removed
    from public record. The law that explains the availability of this process is the Illinois
    Criminal Identification Act, which is a state statute identified as “20 ILCS 2630/5.2.”

    If a person is arrested but the resulting criminal case is later dismissed, it is possible
    that the “mug shot”—and all other records that are created by law enforcement
    agencies and relating to the incident—may be expunged. This may also be an option if
    there is no actual charge filed following the arrest, if the person is acquitted of charges,
    if a conviction is vacated or overturned after an appeal, or if the person is found guilty
    but successfully completes a term of “supervision” or certain types of probation. [Please
    excuse the number of qualifying terms, like “may” and “certain types,” used in this
    answer, as the circumstances in which expungement is available are very case
    specific.]

    In some instances an expungement may be an option immediately after a case is
    dismissed; in others, it may be available after a certain period of time, or not at all. To
    obtain an expungement, a petition must be filed in court. If one is granted, a judge
    enters an order directing the arresting agency and any other relevant agency to
    expunge the relevant records (such as a mug shot).

    You are encouraged to seek the help of a private lawyer in seeking an expungement.
    Otherwise, for more information you may contact the Clerk of the 19th Judicial Circuit; in
    Lake County, the Circuit Clerk is the entity with which a petition for expungement may
    be filed. This office can be reached at 847-377-3600.

    Legal Questions to the Lake County States Attorney’s office:
    The following is not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client privilege. For legal assistance, you are encouraged to contact (a) the Lake County Bar Association for referral to attorneys-for-hire (lakecountylawyer.info), or for low income clients, (b) Prairie State Legal Services (847-662-6925).