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How to Expunge a Record in Indiana

If you currently carry the burden of a criminal record in Indiana, you’ve probably encountered a handful of roadblocks in your daily life. That’s because the sheer existence of a criminal past can prevent a person from gaining solid employment, finding safe, quality housing, or obtaining that much-needed loan to truly “start over” in life. Well, thanks to the Second Chance law, it doesn’t have to stay that way. Now, any Hoosier may request to expunge a record in Indiana, provided they are eligible to do so. If this request granted, their record would be sealed or marked “expunged,” and in most cases, their civil liberties would be restored.

If you’d like to expunge a record in Indiana or would like to speak with an attorney about restoring gun rights through expungement in Indiana, do not hesitate to contact Keffer Hirschauer LLP. Our Indianapolis expungement lawyers have helped expunge thousands of criminal records, all throughout the state, and can ably guide you through the Indiana expungement process in a precise, yet timely manner.

To put your criminal past behind you and start a new chapter in life, call 317-751-7186 or complete our online contact form to schedule your free consultation.

Curious about Indiana Expungement? Call Keffer Hirschauer LLP Today.

What Does it Mean to Expunge a Record in Indiana?

In general, expungement is the process of sealing past records criminal arrests, charges, or convictions. In addition, one may also seek to expunge other legal records, like forfeiture records, police reports, or post-conviction relief records. To successfully expunge a record in Indiana, one must meet specific eligibility criteria and then petition the relevant court(s) with jurisdiction over the record. If the court(s) allows for the record to be expunged, the petitioner’s criminal history will be sealed (in most cases) and made non-visible to most individuals and entities beyond the criminal justice system.

It is important, however, to understand that not ALL expunged records are sealed by the State. Per Indiana Code 35-38-9-7, expungements of serious and less serious felony convictions will be clearly and visibly marked “expunged.” So, these records will still be visible on a background check, but the subject of the record is no longer required to report that the expunged offense is a current element on their criminal record.

Who May Access Sealed Criminal Records in Indiana?

If a petitioner’s request to expunge a record in Indiana has been granted, their records shall be sealed in accordance with Indiana law, and they shall be treated as if they have never been convicted of the offense. However, even if a record is expunged, some individuals and entities may still be able to access them. For example, under Indiana Code 35-38-9-6, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and defense attorneys may access sealed records as needed in order to carry out their official duties. In addition, sealed records may be accessed by the FBI and DHS in order to comply with an agreement to share criminal history information; or by a person required to access expunged records to comply with the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act.

What are the Benefits of Having Your Record Expunged in Indiana?

When a person’s request to expunge a record in Indiana has been granted, they no longer need to disclose their criminal history to loan officers, landlords, licensing organizations, or potential employers; nor will that record show up on most criminal background checks. In other words, a person may answer “no,” when asked, “have you ever been convicted of a felony offense?”

In addition, convicted felons who successfully expunge their record in Indiana may be able to restore the civil liberties they lost as a result of their conviction. This includes the restoration of their Indiana gun rights, the ability to vote, serve on a jury, and/or run for elected office. However, for gun rights, there are some limitations. As stated in Indiana Code 35- 47-4-7, a person who has been convicted of a crime of domestic violence is prohibited from possessing a firearm, even after being granted an expungement. Instead, they must specifically petition the court for the restoration of their gun rights and may only make this request once five years have passed since their date of their conviction.

Who is Eligible for Expungement?

In order to expunge a record in Indiana, the petitioner must first be eligible for expungement. Under Indiana law, expungement eligibility differs based on the nature of the record, the level of the offense, and the amount of time that’s passed since the arrest, charge or conviction. Furthermore, there are a handful of convictions that may not, under any circumstances, be expunged. These convictions include Official misconduct under Indiana Code 35-44.1-1-1, homicide, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter. In addition, a person may not request expungement if they have been deemed a sex or violent offender under Indiana Code 11-8-8-5 or have been convicted of two or more, non-related offenses involving the use of a deadly weapon.

For charges or arrests that did not result in a conviction OR convictions overturned on appeal, a petitioner is entitled to an expungement if:

  • The petitioner is not actively participating in a pretrial diversion program
  • It’s been one or more years from the date of the petitioner’s arrest
  • The petitioner has had no convictions in the year prior to seeking expungement
  • There are no criminal charges currently pending against the petitioner
  • The petitioner has successfully completed all diversion program requirements

Petitioners requesting the expungement of misdemeanor convictions or Level 6 felonies reduced to misdemeanors are entitled to an expungement if:

  • Five or more years have passed since the date of their conviction
  • The petitioner has had no new convictions in the past five years
  • There are no criminal charges currently pending against the petitioner
  • All fines, fees, court costs and restitution orders have been paid
  • The expungement filing fee has been paid

Petitioners requesting the expungement of certain Level 6 felonies convictions are entitled to an expungement if:

  • Eight or more years have passed since the date of their conviction
  • The petitioner has had no new convictions in the past eight years
  • There are no criminal charges currently pending against the petitioner
  • All fines, fees, court costs and restitution orders have been paid
  • The expungement filing fee has been paid

Although it’s not guaranteed to be granted, petitioners may request the expungement of major felony convictions, if:

  • Eight or more years have passed since the date of their conviction
  • The petitioner has had no new convictions in the past eight years
  • There are no criminal charges currently pending against the petitioner
  • All fines, fees, court costs and restitution orders have been paid
  • The expungement filing fee has been paid

Although it’s not guaranteed to be granted, petitioners may request the expungement of serious felony convictions, if:

  • Ten or more years have passed since the date of their conviction
  • The petitioner has had no new convictions in the past ten years
  • There are no criminal charges currently pending against the petitioner
  • All fines, fees, court costs and restitution orders have been paid
  • The expungement filing fee has been paid
  • The prosecutor consents to the expungement

The Expungement Process

If a person meets the eligibility requirements to expunge a criminal record in Indiana, the first step that they’ll take in the expungement process will be to assemble all the relevant documents and information required for the petition. This includes a complete record of their Indiana criminal history, as well as any criminal cause, citation, or arrest numbers. In most cases, the petitioner will need to request these documents from the relevant county clerk; and depending on the county, that may prove to be a difficult task.

Once all the appropriate documents have been assembled, the petitioner will then begin to draft their expungement petition. Under Indiana Code 35-38-9-8, the petition shall include:

  • The petitioner’s full name, all other legal names and all alias
  • The petitioner’s date of birth, social security number, and driver’s license number
  • The petitioner’s addresses from the date of the offense through the date of the petition
  • Relevant court case numbers
  • Affirmation that no criminal investigation or charges are pending against them
  • Affirmation that they have not committed any other crime within the waiting period
  • Full list of past convictions, collateral actions, case numbers, date of convictions, list of appeals, and date of any appellate decision
  • Full list of dates of arrests and convictions
  • Affirmation that the required waiting period has elapsed or copy of a prosecutor’s written consent to a shorter waiting period
  • Description of any other expungement petitions filed
  • Any other information that may assist the court in making their determination

When the petitioner has successfully completed their petition(s), they’ll then proceed to file the petition(s) in the circuit or superior court in the county of the conviction and serve a copy of the petition on the prosecuting attorney (see Indiana Code 35-38-9-8(e)). Once the petition has been filed, the prosecutor has 30 days to issue a response to the petition – grant, deny, or call a hearing – or request an extension. More often than not, extensions are sought by the prosecutor when they need more time to understand the nature of the case or when the prosecutor’s office is simply handling a large volume of expungement requests.

If the prosecutor objects to the expungement request or the court deems it necessary, a hearing may also be called. While this may seem like a bad sign, it’s actually quite common. In most situations, it’s just a matter of court culture. In other situations, the State or the Court may want to see that the petitioner has truly changed their life for the better and is worthy of expungement. Generally, these hearings are very run-of-the-mill and procedural; they last about 30 minutes and at the conclusion of the hearing the judge will either grant the expungement, deny the request or take it under advisement.

Hiring a Lawyer to Expunge a Record in Indiana

While the expungement process is rather straightforward, it’s often best for a petitioner to hire an Indiana expungement attorney to assist them in drafting and filing their petition. The reason being is that the requirements and timelines set forth in Indiana expungement law are quite strict and unforgiving. For instance, Hoosiers may only request the expungement of criminal convictions once in their lifetime. Therefore, it’s crucial that the expungement petition covers as much of the petitioner’s eligible criminal history as possible, is compliant with the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure, and filed in an appropriate and timely manner.

In addition to helping draft and file a petition, an experienced expungement attorney may also represent a petitioner in any expungement proceedings called by the Court. Prior to the hearing, the petitioner’s attorney will coach them on what to expect at the hearing and how to answer any questions posed by the judge. They may also assist the petitioner is crafting a statement that best shows that they have moved forward and changed their life for the better since their conviction.

Need to Speak with an Expungement Lawyer Today?

If you have been convicted of a crime in Indiana and would like to put your criminal past behind you, contact the leading expungement firm of Keffer Hirschauer LLP today. Our Indiana expungement attorneys understand that you only have one shot at petitioning for expungement and will ensure that your petition(s) is drafted and filed in a compliant manner, covering as much of your criminal history as possible. Plus, our firm offers a money-back guarantee on qualifying expungement services—a win-win for those clients!

If you have questions about expungement in Indiana or would like to determine your eligibility, call 317-751-7186 or complete our online contact form to schedule your free consultation.

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How to Expunge a Record in Indiana
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How to Expunge a Record in Indiana
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This article details how to expunge a record in Indiana
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Keffer Hirschauer LLP

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