The Importance Of An Expungement

The 2013 session of the Indiana General Assembly brought about a new legislation that allows individuals to expunge (seal from public access) adult criminal arrest and conviction records. Effective on July 1, 2013, these provisions have continued to be refined and updated. As of July 1, 2015, the provisions of the Indiana expungement statute are basically as follows:

ARRESTS:

If you have been arrested, charged with an offense or alleged to be a delinquent child, and the arrest, criminal charge or juvenile delinquency allegation did not result in a conviction or juvenile adjudication, you may petition the court for expungement of the records related to the arrest, criminal charge or juvenile delinquency allegation. To qualify for an expungement of the arrest, criminal charge or juvenile delinquency allegation, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. The arrest, criminal charge or juvenile delinquency allegation did not result in a conviction or juvenile adjudication or the conviction/juvenile adjudication was vacated on appeal;
  2. You are not currently participating in a pretrial diversion program;
  3. One (1) year has passed since the date of the arrest, criminal charge or juvenile delinquency allegation (whichever is later); and
  4. No criminal charges are pending against you.

If all of the conditions are met, then the court shall expunge the arrest, criminal charge or juvenile delinquency allegations listed in the petition.

MISDEMEANORS:

For most misdemeanor convictions, including a Class D/Level 6 felony that was later reduced to a misdemeanor, you may petition the sentencing court to expunge the conviction records no earlier than five (5) years after the date of conviction. To qualify for the expungement of adult criminal conviction records, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. No charges are pending against you at the time of your petition;
  2. You have paid all fines, fees and court costs and satisfied any restitution obligation placed on you as part of the sentence; and
  3. You have not been convicted of a crime within the five (5) years immediately preceding the filing of your petition.

If all conditions are met, then the court shall expunge the adult convictions listed in the petition. However, please note that there are certain offenses that do not qualify for expungement, and expungement of a crime of domestic violence does not restore your right to possess a firearm. If you were convicted of domestic violence you can only have that right restored in accordance with IC 35-47-4-7. An attorney can advise you on whether you qualify and which steps to take in your specific situation.

FELONIES:

If you have been convicted of certain felony offenses and you are NOT one of the following:

  1. An elected official convicted of an offense while serving the official's term or as a candidate for public office;
  2. A sex or violent offender;
  3. Convicted of a felony that resulted in bodily injury to another person;
  4. Convicted of perjury or official misconduct;
  5. Convicted of homicide, human and sexual trafficking, or a sex crime; or
  6. Convicted of two (2) or more felony offenses that involved the unlawful use of a deadly weapon and were not committed as part of the same episode of criminal conduct.

If all of these are true for you then you may petition the sentencing court to expunge your conviction records. You must wait at least eight (8) years after the date of conviction.

INFORMATION APPLICABLE TO MISDEMEANOR AND FELONY CONVICTIONS:

A petition to expunge adult criminal conviction records is a new civil proceeding. Because it is a new proceeding, the individual seeking to expunge adult conviction records must pay the required filing fee for a civil action. This filing fee cannot be reduced or waived by the court or county clerk. However, there is not a filing fee for individuals who seek to expunge an arrest, criminal charge or juvenile delinquency allegation that did not result in a conviction.

Multiple convictions can be expunged, even if those convictions occurred in different counties. However, an individual may only expunge adult criminal convictions once in his or her lifetime. Additionally, if an individual petitions for expungement of adult felony conviction records but the court denies the petition under the court's discretion, then the individual must wait at least three (3) years before again attempting to expunge his or her adult felony conviction records.

Steps To Take To Expunge Your Record

The expungement of your Indiana or Indianapolis-area conviction records may be very beneficial to you. Once your records are expunged, police or court agency information regarding the expunged convictions will no longer be available to the general public or potential employers.

If you are interested to learn more about the Indiana expungement process, or to expunge your adult arrest and conviction records, or juvenile records, then call Boje, Benner, Becker, Markovich & Hixson, LLP, today at 866-913-0134. You can also email us, and we will respond promptly. Many times an expungement is a smart idea, a lawyer can help.