Bloomington Expungement Lawyer
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College towns have a lot to offer—cultural enrichment, educational opportunities, and exciting diversity to name a few. Whether you’re a student or a longtime local residence, sometimes your past can haunt you, and those mistakes can be costly. With a click of a button, a prospective landlord, employer, lender, educational institution, or licensing entity can conduct a background check on the Indiana State Police site or through Indiana’s online case history portal and find out negative information on an applicant.
Fortunately, with Indiana’s Second Chance Law, all is not lost. The law provides some relief to people who worry about the mistakes of the past. Your expungement lawyer at Keffer Hirschauer LLP can tell you if you qualify and how to go about creating a cleaner slate for yourself.
Using a Bloomington Expungement Lawyer for a New Beginning
Scenic Bloomington is seated in Monroe County, Indiana, home to Indiana University and beautiful lakes such as Monroe Lake and Lake Lemon. As with any university town with loads of recreational areas to explore, Bloomington sees its share of people making mistakes and getting in trouble with the law for the first time, creating a criminal record and the need for a Bloomington expungement lawyer to clean it up.
If your past includes arrests, certain criminal charges, or convictions, a Bloomington expungement lawyer from Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help you clean house and open new opportunities. As experienced criminal defense attorneys, we can efficiently identify your complete criminal record and develop and pursue a comprehensive expungement undertaking to clean up your record.
What is an Expungement?
Expungement in Indiana is made possible by the Indiana expungement law, Indiana Code chapter 35-38-9. The expungement statute allows for sealing a criminal record although it does not completely erase a criminal history. However, it does make access to it impossible or difficult for non-law enforcement persons. Indiana expungement law allows you be questioned about a previous criminal record when you apply for a job, a professional license, or other privileges, but you do not have to disclose or answer affirmatively about expunged convictions or arrests.
What Records Can be Expunged, and from Where?
The expungement provision is used so frequently in Bloomington that Monroe County devotes a webpage to expungements. Understandably, many students and graduates seek to escape past events. The following records are of the types that may be sealed under the Indiana expungement law:
- Arrest information
- Juvenile delinquency allegations
- Vacated convictions
- Vacated delinquency adjudication
- Court records
It is important to tell your Bloomington expungement lawyer your complete story, including all records—from every jurisdiction—so that you can restrict access of your records. Criminal records are stored in multiple locations and agencies, such as:
- The court
- The Indiana Department of Correction
- The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles
- Any service or treatment provider who provided service or treatment by court order
The court cannot expunge records you do not list. Keffer Hirschauer’s expungement lawyers have significant experience in criminal defense and know where to look to make sure your expungement request is complete.
What Indiana Expungement Provision Applies to You?
Every person has a unique situation, and your Bloomington expungement lawyer will walk you through which expungement provision applies to you, from arrests and convictions to diversions.
Indiana Expungement of Arrests and Convictions
The Second Chance Law has several moving parts found in separate statutes. Which applies in your case depends on whether you are seeking to expunge just the arrest or a conviction itself. The procedure for expungement of:
- Arrest records or juvenile delinquency records under Indiana Code § 35-38-9-1
- Misdemeanor convictions under Indiana Code § 35-38-9-2
- Minor Class D and Level 6 felony convictions under Indiana Code § 35-38-9-3
- Less serious felony convictions under Indiana Code § 35-38-9-4
- Certain serious felony convictions under Indiana Code § 35-38-9-5
- Misdemeanor and minor Class D and Level 6 felony convictions Indiana Code § 35-38-9-6
- Serious and less serious felony convictions under Indiana Code § 35-38-9-7
- Conviction records under Indiana Code § 35-38-9-8
- Certain offenses punishable by an indeterminate sentence under Indiana Code § 35-38-9-8.5
Certain circumstances can complicate matters. For instance, if you were arrested but your arrest led to a finding of “not guilty,” or if your case was vacated on appeal, you need to know how to determine which provision applies to you and which records you want to expunge for the expungement to have maximum effect.
Indiana Expungement of Diversions
In addition to the arrests and convictions, expungement is also possible for diversions. Even though a diversion might not lead to a conviction, the records of the person’s admission of the offense are still available. That is where expungement helps. Once records are expunged, access to the records is restricted.
Are There Waiting Periods for Expungements?
The general rule is that, the more serious the offense, the longer the waiting period is to seek an expungement. While diversion expungements can be sought after one year from when charges were filed, misdemeanor convictions and felony convictions have waiting periods from five years after conviction to beyond eight years. In 2020, Governor Eric Holcomb signed a Senate Bill 47, which clarified that the measuring period for those felony convictions that are later reduced to misdemeanors begins on the date of the felony conviction, not the date that the conviction is reduced to a misdemeanor.
Can Anyone’s Records be Expunged?
The expungement statute does prevent some records from being expunged. Depending on the classification of the felony, some felony convictions are not eligible for expungement. This means no expungement for:
- An elected official who was convicted while serving in an official term or as a candidate for public office
- Someone classified as a violent or sex offender
- Someone convicted of a felony that resulted in physical injury to another person
- A person convicted of various crimes that fall within these categories:
- Official misconduct
- Human and sexual trafficking
- Sex crimes
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Expungement in Indiana: The Process
You may apply for an expungement only once, filing in all of the counties where your arrest, charge, or conviction occurred within a limited period of time. To prepare for filing all of your requests at once, you’ll need to gather some information:
- Make a list of all of the criminal records, in any county, you are seeking to have expunged
- Include in the list the specific dates of your arrests
- Try to include the names of the arresting officers and of the law enforcement department or agency involved
- Indicate for each incident whether charges were filed and, if so, include in the list the case caption, the cause number, the exact charges filed, the status of the charges (dismissed, convicted, acquitted), and the dates and actions of any appellate court decisions
Collecting all of this information can be time-consuming and confusing. Even if you gather all of this information, you’ll need to prepare and file the appropriate petition for expungement in each county where you have a criminal record. Getting it right the first time is critical because you cannot again seek expungement for the same case if your request is denied.
With a Bloomington expungement lawyer from Keffer Hirschauer LLP, you know your case will be prepared and filed the right way. Our deep experience as criminal defense attorneys makes us efficient in identifying and collecting the required criminal records and making the necessary court filings, coordinating these efforts across multiple counties as needed.
Why Monroe County Expungement Requests Require an Experienced Bloomington Expungement Lawyer
A successful expungement requires doing it right the first time. A person seeking to seal records in this way must collect, prepare, and file the right documents in the right court or courts under very specific time constraints. And, as mentioned above, expungement in Indiana is available only once, meaning you must apply in all counties in which you have a criminal record within the same period of time. Failure to identify and collect all of records sought to be sealed and file the appropriate paperwork in all relevant counties could leave the omitted criminal history on your record permanently.
To make sure the expungement of your records has maximum effect, you need an experienced expungement lawyer from Keffer Hirschauer LLP to locate all relevant records, prepare and file the appropriate documentation with the court, and, where necessary, coordinate these efforts across multiple counties.
Only One Chance at a Second Chance: Call a Bloomington Expungement Lawyer at Keffer Hirschauer LLP
Maneuvering through the qualifications and requirements for expungement is not easy. With only one chance at a second chance, you can’t afford mistakes. The Indiana State Police provides information about the process, but they cannot give you legal advice. Contact a Bloomington expungement lawyer at Keffer Hirschauer LLP to find out if you qualify for expungement and to make sure your petition is timely and complete. You can reach us at (317) 751-7186 or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation.