With the advent of online directories and websites that deal with public records and access to them, finding Illinois public records is now a much simpler task today compared to a decade ago. The way to find your records may vary though, but as long as you end up finding the record that you need, any method of finding public records will be just fine.
Most websites such as Publicrecordsources.com offer free search and information about the different agencies and bodies that house the public records that you need. However, they might ask for a fee of some sort if you want them to process your data. Doing this will save you some time and effort because you will leave it up to them to find and retrieve the public record that you want. On the other hand, if you don't want to pay for someone to do the job for you, you can visit the official state website of Illinois and do your own search from there.
Using the Illinois state's Freedom of Information Act, any individual resident or not, has the right and entitlement to personally inspect and copy records of government bodies such as legislative, administrative, executive and advisory agencies of the state. Furthermore, that individual who asked for public records is not required to disclose his or her reason for acquiring the information. All documents, including books, photographs, maps, microfilms, recordings, LP's, and electronic records fall under this category as long as they are public records of the state of Illinois.
Some information though may be considered confidential and may be withheld from being requested. To know more about what materials can be requested and what materials are not available for retrieval, you can visit Citi Media Law's website. Just take note that the information on this page is specifically applicable only to the state of Illinois.
To get started, you can go to the official government website of Illinois and use the search function to get more information about the availability of public records. Records are designated and kept on individual agencies so you might want to check out the agency that houses the records that you need. There are links just below every item so you won't have a hard time looking for them one by one.
For example, Vital Records of Illinois are housed by the state's Department of Public Health, and you can search for them at this specific website. Processing usually takes 3-4 weeks and will be mailed to the person who requested the record. Information on fees and other provisions are also included in the website. Vital records of Illinois include:
Information on how to contact individual agencies is usually located on their website. Just look for the "Contact Us" page and you'll have their contact numbers, email and working hours.
If you need to contact the official website of Illinois for some more complicated public record requests, you can reach them at:
Office of the Lt. Governor
Office of the Lt. Governor
James R. Thompson Center
100 W. Randolph, 15-200
To lookup Illinois public records information, contact:Illinois Office of the Attorney General
The Freedom of Information Act is what officially entitles you to resources pertaining to an Illinois public records search. This is provided through the state's Attorney General's office, by providing access to governmental documents that have been kept and maintained. This way, citizens can gain this information through official and legitimate means.
Pursuant to the Illinois Complied Statutes of the Illinois General Assembly (5A ILCS 140, Freedom of Information Act), public records in Illinois are defined as "all records, reports, forms, writings, letters, memoranda, books, papers, maps, photographs, microfilms, cards, tapes, recordings, electronic data processing records, recorded information and all other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been prepared, or having been or being used, received, possessed or under the control of any public body." Public records in Illinois are available to any person for both inspection and copying, however there are some exceptions.
Among these exceptions for public access to Illinois public records is information for which disclosure is already prohibited by federal or State law, documentation that would constitute an invasion of personal privacy, records for administrational enforcement or law enforcement proceedings, criminal history records, records relating to the security of correctional facilities, and draft documentation. There are other exceptions to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act at 5 ILCS 140/7, which would restrict the availability of Illinois public records.