Criminal Records Expungements in Indiana
Employers, landlords, lenders, and other members of the public often consider a person’s criminal record when deciding whether to hire them, rent to them, or do busi-ness with them. If a person was arrested, charged with a crime, convicted of a crime, or incarcerated in the past, those events may show up in a background check. Criminal records expungement seals these records so that courts, police departments, and other parts of the government cannot release them to the public.
Serious felony records are not kept from public view after they are expunged, but the records are marked as expunged. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a person for having criminal records that have been expunged. Expungement also re-stores civil rights that were lost because of a conviction, including the right to vote in Indiana.
How to File for Expungement
A person can only expunge their criminal records once in their life-time, so it is very important to have a complete record of all arrests, charges, convic-tions, and periods of incarceration before filing for expungement. To start the process, the person files a Petition for Expungement in the county where the arrest or criminal charges occurred. Multiple petitions can be filed if there are records in multiple coun-ties, but multiple petitions must be filed at the same time or within one year of each oth-er.
You must pay civil filing fees when you file a petition for expungement, but courts can reduce or waive these fees for people with low incomes. Sometimes expungement may be granted without a hearing, but a court may hold a hearing on a petition for ex-pungement, especially if the prosecutor objects to the petition.
Expunging Records of Arrests and Criminal Charges
If you were arrested but were not charged with a crime, were charged with a crime but not convicted, or your conviction was vacated by a court, you can petition a court to expunge the records of your arrest and the criminal charges.
You can get an expungement after waiting one year from the date you were ar-rested, the criminal charges were dropped, you were found not guilty, or the conviction was vacated, whichever happened last. If you participated in a pre-trial diversion program, a court can expunge the records of the arrest and charges one year after the program ends and your charge is dismissed.
You will not be able to expunge records of arrests or criminal charges while there are other criminal charges pending against you.
Expunging Misdemeanor Convictions
If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, you must wait five years after the date of the conviction to get an expungement. You must also wait five years before filing your petition if you were convicted of a Class D felony or Level 6 felony that was reduced to a misdemeanor.
A misdemeanor conviction cannot be expunged if you were convicted of a crime in the last five years, if you have outstanding fines or probation fees, or if there are pending criminal charges against you.
Expunging Felony Convictions
Class D and Level 6 felonies may be expunged eight years after the conviction. More serious felonies can be expunged eight years after the conviction or three years after the end of the sentence, whichever is later.
Felony convictions cannot be expunged if you have been convicted of a crime in the past eight years, you have outstanding fines or probation fees, or if there are pending criminal charges against you.
Getting an expungement for some serious felonies, such as those resulting in se-rious bodily injury, requires the prosecutor’s permission and an even longer period of good behavior.
Convictions for certain very serious crimes, including murder and sex crimes, can never be expunged, and a person who is a “sex or violent offender” cannot get an ex-pungement.
If you would like to speak to one of our attorneys about expunging your criminal records, please call our office at (812) 269-8277 or fill out the online intake form on our website!
Certified Legal Intern
Criminal records expungement is complicated, and you should seek the assistance of an attorney before filing for expungement. You may only have the opportunity to file for expungement once in your lifetime.
This article is not legal advice. Last edited March 9, 2017, based on Indiana Code chapter 35-38-9, amended 2014. Laws can change, so make sure you have up-to-date information.