A criminal record can have devastating effects on a career, education, professional licensure, and your participation in society. Fortunately, Indiana law provides some relief and a fresh start by removing or restricting the use of criminal histories if a record is expunged.
Indiana law allows for expungements of some criminal records. Misdemeanors and most level 6 felonies (Class D felonies for crimes committed before July 1, 2014) without serious bodily injury no longer remain on an expunged record.
More serious felonies with serious bodily injuries and some level 6 felonies with bodily injuries stay on public records are marked as expunged. When this occurs, rights are restored, and a person’s record may not be used against them.
Expungement eligibility depends on whether a person was convicted, the crime underlying their conviction and the time that elapsed since the criminal incident.
Non-convictions or arrests that do not lead to conviction may be expunged. A non-conviction is a dismissal, verdict of not guilty, successful completion of pre-trial diversion leading to dismissal of the offense and cases where charges were not filed but the court created a case number.
Expungement does not apply to all crimes. Records of crimes with these characteristics may not be expunged:
- Loss of life.
- Sex offenses.
- Lying under oath.
- Human trafficking.
- Official misconduct.
- At least two crimes involving the use of a weapon.
If a person is found guilty of a crime that may not be expunged, other crimes on their record usually may not be expunged.
There are limits to expungement if it is granted. Criminal records are not destroyed and may be reviewed in certain situations like applying for a law license or if the person is charged with another crime.
Expungement cannot eliminate case information from electronic sources like online news stories. National criminal history repositories, like the FBI data base, are not governed by these expungement orders.
After expungement of a child neglect conviction, a person remains on the Department of Child Services substantiated index. Expungement does not restore firearm rights if there was a domestic violence or battery conviction.
A person can seek expungement of a non-conviction multiple times until their request is granted. Expungements for convictions are granted once in a person’s life and new convictions may not be expunged.
A person should file an expungement petition in each county where there is a criminal incident on their record. If the waiting and timeline requirements are not met, a person may obtain expungement if the prosecutor agrees with their request. Some courts will allow expungement if fees are still owed.
Attorneys can assist you with meeting Indiana’s expungement requirements. They may also help prepare the documents necessary for you to get this fresh start.