Whether you, another family member, or a close friend were charged with a criminal offense in Cook County, or you just want to snoop around into someone else’s business, finding criminal records can be a simple and complicated task. Each jurisdiction, counties in this case, have their own definitions and procedures regarding criminal records that can make the process of searching criminal records more difficult than necessary. Below is all the information you need to search Cook County. To begin your Cook County criminal records search use the above form.
Cook County criminal records are defined as case files containing information related to a specific case. This information contains an indictment or information against a defendant, the memorandum, of orders, names of witnesses or other persons involved, jurors, jury instructions, and transcripts of appealed cases and trial proceedings.
Cook County Criminal records dating back to 1893 are available in microfilm upon request. However, the county only keeps court files for the current year and felony trial matters for two years readily available. All other records are stored away until requested.
Unlike a number of other counties, Cook County only allows the viewing and inspection of criminal records in person. An order that has been in place since April 1, 2002. In order to obtain or request case files, a person must have a valid photograph identification card and complete a File Request Form that can be found here.
When searching for criminal records in person, you must go to the Criminal Division Office located on the 5th Floor of the Administration building. Court files can then be viewed by request and obtained at the counter. Depending on whether the file is considered active or inactive, different steps will need to be taken in order to secure the file.
If the case is active, this means that the file is still pending and can be easily accessed at the adjacent Criminal Court House. However, if the file is inactive, it will need to be requested from the Clerk’s Administrative Office or the Clerk’s Office Records Center. This can be a lengthy process to secure the file. If you know that the file is inactive, you can call in advance to order the file and have it waiting for you.
Cook County provides an additional option for those that simply want to review case files by allowing people to access computer terminals located in the courthouse. These terminals provide access to review case status information on-line in the courthouse. Regardless of the type of case, Cook County criminal records can be accessed from all courthouse terminals. However, if you are simply attempting to look up Cook County docket information, that is available from personal computers anywhere by accessing the Cook County Clerk of Courts Website.