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Expunge Indianapolis Marijuana Records

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Indiana cannabis laws did not change in 2019, but the approach of the Marion County Prosecutor to them did: the prosecutor’s office has announced that it will no longer file charges for simple cannabis possession, meaning possession of less than one ounce. And, in light of this, the prosecutor’s office has shifted resources to handle the resulting increase in expungement petitions it anticipates. What does that mean for past offenders?

How to Expunge Indianapolis Marijuana Arrests, Charges, and Convictions

A history of arrests or criminal convictions can complicate or even bar your access to gainful employment, child custody, driving privileges, professional licenses, immigration, or even your right to own a firearm. Expungement is a legal process that helps you clean up your record so that your past does not define your future. An experienced Marion County expungement attorney can help you through the expungement process.

With the Marion County Prosecutor no longer charging for simple possession of marijuana, your past marijuana arrests and convictions are ripe for expungement, effectively sealing your records from public view and giving you a clean slate. The process can be long, requires extensive record-gathering and is often difficult to handle without professional assistance. The criminal defense attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP will help you expunge Indianapolis marijuana criminal records at every step, from evaluating your criminal history to collecting documentation, writing the petition for expungement, and attending any expungement hearing—all with a money-back guarantee if your expungement is not successful.

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Table of Contents

Indiana Marijuana Laws Explained

Under Indiana Code § 35-48-4-11, the possession of any amount of marijuana, hash oil, hashish, or salvia is illegal regardless of the amount. However, the amount and type of marijuana help determine the applicable offense or criminal charge. Absent additional facts, possession of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor. If the offender has a prior conviction for a drug offense or knew the substance was marijuana or a related plant but it was disguised as low THC hemp extract, the offense rises to a Class A misdemeanor. And if the offender has a prior drug offense conviction and possesses a significantly higher amount, the offense is a Level 6 felony.

The Marion County Prosecutor’s 2019 policy announcement applies only to possession of marijuana less than one ounce, which would usually be charged only as a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a potential sentence of imprisonment for up to 180 days and a fine of up to $1,000.

Indianapolis Marijuana Conviction and Arrest Records

Despite the Marion County Prosecutor’s policy regarding simple marijuana possession of less than one ounce, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has announced that its officers will continue to enforce the Indiana marijuana laws on the books. This means that, although the prosecutor’s office will no longer charge simple possession, you can still be arrested for possession less than an ounce of marijuana.

In terms of expungement, this is a critical difference. Arrest records are different and separate from records of criminal charges and convictions. Although both types of records may be sealed, the expungement process does not automatically encompass all criminal records. Successful expungement of Marion County marijuana charges or convictions does not automatically also clear your record of marijuana arrests or dismissed charges. And you only get one bit at the apple—once you petition for expungement in Marion County, you generally cannot file a subsequent petition for expungement. For this reason, preparing and filing a complete petition for expungement is critical.

How to Expunge Indiana Marijuana Arrests and Convictions

Your criminal record can have several different parts—arrests, charges, convictions—and you may have a juvenile record, an adult record, or both. Indiana expungement law sets out the conditions, waiting periods, and petition requirements for expungement of various types of criminal records. Your petition for expungement must also satisfy various requirements in the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure. Understanding the criteria for expungement can help you prepare a comprehensive petition for expungement to clear as much of your record as possible.

In determining whether to expunge your criminal records, the court considers the following:

  • Whether an arrest resulted in a conviction or juvenile delinquency allegation
  • Whether a conviction or juvenile delinquency allegation was overturned on appeal
  • Whether you are currently in a pretrial diversion program
  • Whether you have been arrested in the preceding year
  • Whether you have any convictions in the year leading up to filing your petition for expungement
  • Whether you currently have any criminal charges pending
  • Whether you have successfully completed all requirements of applicable diversion programs

To expunge simple marijuana offenses (low level misdemeanors), you must meet the following criteria:

  • At least five years have passed since the conviction
  • No convictions in the five years leading up to filing the petition for expungement
  • Payment of all fees, fines, restitution orders, and court costs
  • Payment of the filing fee for expungement

The court must grant the petition for expungement of low level misdemeanor conviction records if you meet all of the preceding requirements and are otherwise eligible for expungement of your criminal record.

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Expunge Indianapolis Marijuana Records for Adults

Adult offenders must meet specific requirements to be eligible to expunge Indianapolis marijuana convictions and related criminal records. In evaluating a petition to expunge adult criminal records, the court considers the following:

  • The nature of the record (arrest, charge, or conviction)
  • The level and nature of the offense
  • The amount of time that has passed since the arrest, charge, or conviction to be expunged
  • The petitioner’s other characteristics

Again, your criminal record includes many parts: arrest, charges, dismissed charges, and convictions. To clean up your record, your petition for expungement should cover all of these.

Expunge Indianapolis Marijuana Records for Juveniles

Many mistakenly believe that reaching age 18 automatically cleans up their juvenile record or that cleaning up their adult criminal record automatically also cleans up their juvenile record. These misunderstandings can be costly.

Reaching the age of majority or expunging an adult criminal record does not affect your juvenile record. You must take affirmative steps to clean up a juvenile record that involves arrests, delinquency allegations, or delinquency adjudications.

After You Expunge Indiana Marijuana Criminal Records

Expungement protects your criminal records from the prying eyes of all but those with a court order. This means that these records won’t show up in a public records search and that employers cannot ask you about them. So what happens to these records? The sealing of records removes the record itself or removes your name from related court records involving the case.

Significantly, successful expungement does not necessarily mean that those records are destroyed. Certain government employees such as law enforcement and those who do background checks may still be able to access expunged criminal records.

To Expunge Indianapolis Marijuana Records . . .

Successfully expunging Indianapolis marijuana convictions, charges, and arrests requires a thorough understanding of Indiana marijuana laws, expungement laws, and criminal law in general. All aspects of the case—your arrest, criminal proceedings or trial, sentence, and any criminal appeal—are part of the picture. Working with skilled attorneys dedicated to practicing criminal defense in Indianapolis is vital to having the best chance of cleaning up your record and moving forward with your life.

Talk to a Marion County expungement attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP for help evaluating your eligibility to expunge Indianapolis marijuana arrests, charges, and convictions. With our money-back guarantee, you have nothing to lose. For a consultation, call (317) 751-7186 or complete this online contact form.