If an old criminal record is making it hard for you to pass a background check, you may have the opportunity to hide it from public view by petitioning for expungement. In some other states, only arrests and charges that did not result in conviction can be expunged. While limited in scope, Indiana’s expungement laws, including the Second Chance Act, are more generous.
If you are interested in expunging a criminal record, the best way to do so is with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. This is because the process is often complex and has little allowance for errors.
No do-overs for denied petitions
Despite its name, the Second Chance Act gives you only one opportunity to seek expungement for a given offense. On the government website that provides information on the law, it warns that if a judge denies your petition, you cannot submit a new petition related to the same offense or offenses.
Working with an attorney is not a guarantee of success, but it will at least prevent you from making an administrative error that could lead to your expungement being denied permanently. In addition to catching and fixing errors, an attorney will also help you make a compelling argument for why your record should be expunged or sealed.
It’s easy to get lost in information about eligibility and filing requirements
Government services are, in most cases, more complex and confusing than they should be, and that is certainly true regarding expungement proceedings. Eligibility for expungement and filing requirements can vary depending on the type of crime committed and the outcome of the case. Certain crimes, including violent or sexual offenses, are ineligible for expungement.
You could research this information yourself, but many people find it helpful to consult an attorney. A good lawyer can clearly explain your options and guide you through the process. Considering how impactful a criminal record can be, you may find that hiring an attorney is a worthwhile investment in your future.