Why the Expungement Cost Is Worth It

December 27, 2021

By Keffer Hirschauer LLP

Why the Expungement Cost Is Worth It

Having any kind of a criminal record can affect almost every aspect of your life. Mistakes dating back years—even to your youth—can limit your job prospects, housing options, child custody determinations, loan applications, and more. Don’t let the mistakes of your past hold you back. An expungement can seal your criminal records and open doors to a brighter future. The expungement cost pales in comparison to the long-term advantages you gain by sealing your record. With a money-back guarantee from Keffer Hirschauer LLP, you can’t lose.

Weigh Your Expungement Cost against the Cost of Not Pursuing It

Your resume, work history, credit report, and references can show what an asset you would be to a potential employer or good credit risk you are to a lender. But even with stellar references, a criminal record—even if it is years old or only includes arrests or juvenile delinquency adjudications—can eclipse your positive attributes. The Indiana second chance law allows you to expunge your criminal record, giving you a second chance to make a good first impression.

As with other legal proceedings, there are costs associated with getting an expungement. But the costs must be weighed against the negative impact your criminal record has on multiple aspects of your life. You have to explain your criminal past to prospective employers, lenders, landlords, and more—if you even get the chance—every time you submit an application for a job, loan, or apartment. The cost associated with expunging or sealing your records pales in comparison and is an investment in your future. And with our money-back guarantee, it’s one you can’t afford to pass up.

Indiana Expungement Law Gives You a Second Chance at Prospects Currently out of Reach

To understand its value, you need to know exactly what an expungement is. An expungement seals from public view your criminal records of arrests, charges, and misdemeanor and felony convictions. Having a criminal record can have a serious impact on your opportunities and income, affecting opportunities in:

  • Employment
  • Professional licensure
  • Loan applications
  • Housing

Over time, these can add up to much more than mere inconvenience. The overall effect could also decrease your earning potential.

Indiana expungement law, Indiana Code chapter 35-38-9, establishes a process for seeking court permission to bar public access to your criminal records. Public or background searches, even of court and other governmental records, would not disclose expunged records of delinquency adjudications, arrests, charges, or convictions.

Records eligible for expungement include juvenile delinquency adjudications, arrests that did not result in charges, charges that did not result in convictions, and conviction. Wiping the slate clean helps grease the wheels for financial and other possibilities prevented by your criminal past.

What Is the Expungement Process in Indiana?

To seal your criminal records in Indiana, you must request permission from the court—and sometimes the county prosecutor. In preparation, you must gather official court records of each delinquency adjudication, arrest, charge, and conviction you wish to have expunged. Then, you must file your petition, a formal request for expungement, in the court that had jurisdiction over that case.

A petition for expungement must include the following information:

  • A description of the record to be expunged (juvenile delinquency, arrest, charge, or conviction)
  • A description of the specific offense and its level (misdemeanor or felony)
  • A statement of how much time has passed since the juvenile delinquency adjudication, arrest, charge, or conviction
  • Any additional information about you that would aid the court in ruling on your petition

You only get one chance to request expungements, you must file your request in every court with jurisdiction over the cases at issue, and you must file all petitions within a one-year period.

Gathering the necessary records from each county with records you seek to expunge and coordinating efforts across multiple counties can be time-consuming and complicated. Working with an experienced Indiana expungement attorney goes a long way to minimizing the time required, saving on attorney’s fees, and navigating the expungement process efficiently.

Your Total Expungement Cost in Indiana

The following costs are associated with seeking an expungement in Indiana:

  • Filing fee
  • Satisfaction of all fines, courts, costs, fees, or restitutions orders in the cases whose records you wish to have expunged
  • Attorney’s fees

Every county charges a separate filing fee for expungements; however, you are not required to pay a filing fee if you are only seeking the expungement of an arrest that did not result in a conviction.

The expungement cost varies depending on the individual and the records to be expunged. Factors that affect the total cost for each expungement matter include:

  • Number of juvenile delinquency adjudications, arrests, charges, and convictions involved
  • Level of the offense involved
  • Applicant’s age
  • Number of counties involved and their distance
  • Court costs

While the total expungement cost in some cases may appear challenging, the cost of carrying your criminal history is greater and, statistically speaking, almost guaranteed to hold you back. A 2020 Brennan Center for Justice report indicates that criminal records have lowered total national earnings of those affected by more than $372 billion. And a 2020 study from the University of Michigan Law School concluded that wages increased 22 percent in one year for people who filed for expungements.

The cost of an expungement may seem daunting, but it is an investment in your future just like tuition for obtaining an education. With Keffer Hirschauer LLP’s money-back guarantee for expungements, you can take comfort knowing that your investment will yield fruit or be returned to you.

Indiana Expungement Requirements

Most records hinting at or identifying criminal history are eligible for expungement:

  • Arrests
  • Charges
  • Convictions of misdemeanors or felonies
  • Juvenile delinquency adjudications

In addition to the types of records described above, you can also ask the court to seal trial court records, appellate court records, post-conviction relief records, and forfeiture records.

You must meet certain conditions for the court to approve expungement of your records. Your eligibility depends in part on the particular offense and your overall criminal record.

If you meet the following, the court must grant your request for expungement of juvenile delinquency, arrest, and charging records:

  • The arrest occurred one or more years ago
  • No juvenile delinquency adjudication or conviction arose from the arrest OR it resulted in a juvenile delinquency adjudication or conviction that was overturned on appeal
  • You have completed any pretrial diversion programs ordered
  • You have no convictions in the year preceding the request for expungement
  • You have no currently pending criminal charges

For expungement of misdemeanors and lower level felonies that have been reduced to misdemeanors, the court must grant your request if you meet these requirements:

  • The conviction occurred at least five years ago
  • You have no convictions in the five years before filing your request for expungement
  • You have no currently pending criminal charges
  • You have no outstanding fines, court costs, fees, or restitutions orders
  • You have paid the expungement filing fee

For Level 6 or D felonies, the court must grant your expungement when all of the following apply:

  • The conviction occurred at least eight years ago
  • You have no convictions in the eight years before filing your request for expungement
  • You have no currently pending criminal charges
  • You have no outstanding fines, court costs, fees, or restitutions orders
  • You have paid the expungement filing fee

The requirements are more rigorous for C felonies (under the prior sentencing scheme) and Level 5 felonies and higher:

  • The conviction occurred at least eight years ago OR you completed your sentence at least three years ago, whichever is later
  • You have no convictions in the eight years before filing your request for expungement
  • You have no currently pending criminal charges
  • You have no outstanding fines, court costs, fees, or restitutions orders
  • You have paid the expungement filing fee
  • The prosecutor does not object to the expungement request (for offenses resulting in serious bodily injury to another or committed while serving as an elected public office or as a candidate for public office)

For serious felonies, expungement is allowed only if:

  • The conviction occurred at least ten years ago OR you completed your sentence at least five years ago, whichever is later
  • You have no convictions in the ten years before filing your request for expungement
  • You have no currently pending criminal charges
  • You have no outstanding fines, court costs, fees, or restitutions orders
  • You have paid the expungement filing fee
  • The prosecutor does not object to the expungement request

Under no circumstances is expungement permitted for the following:

  • You were adjudicated a sex or violent offender under Indiana Code § 11-8-8-5
  • You were convicted of:
  • Two or more of your offenses in your criminal record were not part of the same episode of criminal conduct and involve the use of a deadly weapon

Indiana expungement law is detailed and the process can be overwhelming. But your expungement cost is small compared to the greater earning potential and other opportunities it can help you achieve.

Our Money-Back Guarantee Helps You Manage Your Expungement Cost

Your criminal record is holding you back, but you have the power to change that. With an expungement, a whole new world opens to you. Sealing your criminal records can give you the fresh start you need.

If you have questions about your eligibility for expungements or expungement cost, Keffer Hirschauer LLP has attorneys with the experience, compassion, and drive you need, and we offer a money-back guarantee—your attorney’s fees back if your expungement isn’t granted. For a free expungement consultation with an experienced Indiana expungement attorney on how we can help you make a fresh start, call today at (317) 857-1060 or complete our online contact form.

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