Yes. In Indiana, it is possible to expunge or seal your criminal record if you were arrested but never convicted – or if your conviction was vacated on appeal.
Indiana’s Second Chance Law allows people who qualify to expunge – restrict access to – portions of their criminal records. When this is done, the sealed portion of your criminal record will no longer show up in a criminal background check done by a potential employer, a landlord or any other private party.
Expungement does not erase or destroy the record completely. Courts, prosecutors and law enforcement will still be able to see the record. But a standard criminal background check will no longer turn up the information.
It doesn’t matter what you were arrested for – just that you were not convicted. That includes situations such as these:
- You were never charged with a crime after the arrest
- You were charged but the prosecutor dropped the charges
- You were charged but a judge or jury found you not guilty
- You were convicted (or adjudicated as a juvenile) but an appeals court vacated your conviction
What is the deadline?
There is no final deadline, but you must wait for at least a year after the arrest to get an expungement on the grounds that you were never found guilty.
What will be expunged/sealed?
When you file for an expungement, you should petition to have all the qualifying portions of your criminal record sealed. This is because in Indiana, you can only get your record expunged once. If you have convictions on your record, your attorney can help you determine if they can also be expunged. There is also a process for expunging records in different counties.
If successful, the expungement process will seal these items from public records checks:
- Court files
- Department of Correction files
- Bureau of Motor Vehicles files
- Files related to any treatment or services you received related to the arrest
It’s time to get this blot off your record
An arrest or a vacated conviction shouldn’t be allowed to haunt you. An expungement could make a big difference when you apply for jobs, try to rent apartments, or do other things that involve a criminal background check.
You only have one chance for expungement, so you need to make sure your petition is correct and complete. It is advisable to hire a lawyer who has experience handling expungement petitions.