Lawyers for Traffic Infraction Expungement
Traffic Tickets can Affect Your Access to Housing, Jobs, and Credit
Everyone knows that a criminal record can have broad impacts on multiple aspects of your life—housing, job options, and access to credit to name a few. But even if you avoid a criminal record, citations for infractions like traffic tickets can still affect your access to housing, jobs, and credit, and these “blips” on your record can even cost you money. Don’t let speeding tickets and other infractions slowly drain your accounts and opportunities. By understanding how these incidents affect you—and what you can do about them—you can take the first steps to clear up your Indiana driving record and other records of infractions.
Keffer Hirschauer LLP’s Indiana expungement lawyers know how significant your entire record can be for life opportunities even if you have no criminal record. We can help by locating the relevant records, identifying your best options for clearing them—including infraction expungement—and taking steps to put your chosen plan into action. In this way, we work to clear client records of Indiana traffic citations and other infractions because minor mistakes from your past need not cloud your future.
How Infraction Expungement Limits the Impact of Your Infractions
Felonies and misdemeanors define the level of a criminal offense that carries the risk of a fine, imprisonment, or both. Indiana Code § 33-23-1-6 defines an infraction as an offense punishable by a fine but not imprisonment. It is conduct that violates civil law but does not rise to the level of violating criminal law. Common examples include a citation for speeding or running a stop sign.
Law enforcement often serves moving and non-moving violations on violators by issuing a citation, which orders the offender to appear before a court or other governmental authority at a particular date and time to answer for the offense. By that deadline you must either admit to the infraction and pay the required fine or request a trial date. Although a criminal trial may last days, a hearing for an infraction is usually fairly quick.
While not criminal offenses, your Indiana driving record and other Indiana infractions can have a significant impact on your life. Areas they affect include:
- The cost of auto insurance and your insurability (for traffic infractions)
- Professional licensure
- Landlord background checks in housing applications
- Employment, especially if driving is required for your job
Infractions may violate state law, as in Indiana Code § 9-21-5-7, which prohibits driving so slowly as to impede traffic, or a local ordinance, such as a city ordinance setting a maximum daily time limit for local public parking. Identifying the underlying statute or ordinance can help determine which governmental unit has jurisdiction over your case.
If you have accrued Indiana infractions of any kind—or have a pending infraction complaint—call us today to learn whether a deferral program or infraction expungement—restricting access to your infraction records—could help you.
Types of Indiana Infractions
Similar to criminal offenses, infractions are tiered in severity. Indiana Code § 34-28-5-4 lists the different levels of Indiana infractions and the potential consequence for each:
- For a Class A infraction, entry of a judgment up to $10,000
- For a Class B infraction, entry of a judgment up to $1,000
- For a Class C infraction, entry of a judgment up to $500 (with certain exceptions)
- For a Class D infraction, entry of a judgment up to $25
Certain moving violations are first to come to mind as examples of infractions, but infractions can involve non-traffic conduct too. Examples of non-traffic infractions include:
- Fire safety law violations under Indiana Code § 22-12-8-2
- Parking violations
- Littering in violation of Indiana Code § 35-45-3-2
- Building and equipment law violations under Indiana Code § 22-15-1-1
- Water recreation law violations under Indiana Code § 14-15-2-15
Traffic Tickets and Your Indiana Driving Record
Indiana driving records list civil violations, infractions, and driver’s license suspensions. For each violation, the state assesses a point to be added to your driving record. The point system, listed in 140 Indiana Administrate Code 1-4.5-10(f), details the point value accrued for various moving and non-moving violations. Following are the points accrued for speeding violations:
- No more than 15 miles over the speed limit – 2 points
- 16 to 25 miles over the speed limit – 4 points
- More than 25 miles over the speed limit – 6 points
Non-speeding violations and their point values include:
- Equipment violation or failure to use vehicle lights, stop lights, brake lights, or reflectors – 2 points
- Violation of bumper law – 2 points
- Violation of financial responsibility requirement (lack of vehicle insurance) – 2 points
- Brake law violation – 4 points
- Disregard of a traffic control signal – 4 points
- Failure by a minor to wear a helmet or protective eye gear on a motorcycle – 4 points
- Failure to yield or to obey a stop or yield sign – 4 points
- Passing in violation of markings – 4 points
- Disregarding a railroad crossing stop sign – 6 points
- Following too closely – 6 points
- Reckless driving resulting in property damage – 8 points
- Aggressive driving – 8 points
- Reckless driving resulting in bodily injury – 10 points
- Driving while license suspended or revoked – 10 points
- Leaving the scene of an accident – 10 points
The points accrued for a violation remain on your Indiana driving record for two years and, as expected, have consequences. You may be required to complete a driver safety program if you are convicted of two or more traffic offenses (within 12 months for individuals age 21 and higher). The state will deduct four points from your driving record if you successfully complete a driver safety program approved by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).
Accruing too many points can impact your driving privileges in other ways too. Your driving privileges may be suspended if any of the following occur:
- Conviction for operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVWI or DUI)
- Adjudication as a habitual vehicular traffic offender[HK1]
- Failure to successfully complete a court-ordered driver safety program or defensive driving course
- Failing to appear in court for or to pay fines for traffic citations
- Accumulating more than 18 points on your Indiana driving record
- Operating a vehicle without insurance
You may also have your license suspended for reasons unrelated to your driving record. Some common reasons include:
- Failing the BMV eye exam
- Accruing a child support arrearage where administrative remedies have been unsuccessful
- Possession of alcohol by someone under age 21
- Illegal use of a driver’s license (such as loaning it out or altering it)
- Defaulting on student loans
- Boating while intoxicated
Depending on the reason for the suspension, reinstatement of your driving privileges may require a hearing, completion of a driver safety program, or satisfying the inadequacy that caused the suspension (such as paying child support). Given the many causes of the suspension of an Indiana driver’s license, you need skilled counsel to help you identify the cause and potential remedies for reinstatement of your license.
At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, our collective decades of experience—both as former prosecutors and as criminal defense attorneys—can help you obtain a copy of your Indiana driving record, determine the best course of action for getting you back on the road—including infraction expungement—and take steps to accomplish that goal.
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How Deferral Programs Can Help
If you act quickly, you may be able to prevent points from accruing on your record after an infraction. Many Indiana counties offer a deferral program for certain violations. The program terms are determined by each county, but they generally require you to apply for the program within a specified number of days of the citation, pay a fine, and refrain from accruing future infractions or involvement in criminal activity for a specified period of time. The term of the program is often determined by the nature of the infraction. If you meet the terms of the program, the citation and the points for the infraction will not appear on your driving record.
Participation in a deferral program is available only for those who timely apply and seek deferral of eligible infractions. Eligible infractions commonly include:
- Lesser speeding citations
- Certain equipment violations
- Certain vehicular light violations
- Improper parking
However, some violations may not be eligible for deferral, including:
- Construction or work zone violations when workers are present
- Emergency vehicle violations
- Open container violations
- Passing a school bus
- Driving while suspended (as a misdemeanor)
- Exceeding the speed limit by more than 25 miles per hour
- Tickets resulting from property damage or personal injury
In some counties, like Marion County, you must call the prosecutor’s office to learn whether you are eligible for participation in a deferral program. Other Indiana counties and municipalities provide information on their deferral programs online. Following are some examples:
- Fishers Deferral Program
- Hamilton County Traffic Infraction Deferral Program
- Hendricks County Traffic Infraction Deferral Program
- Johnson County Infraction Deferral Program
- Noblesville Deferral Program
- Tippecanoe County Traffic Infraction Deferral Program
If you participate in a deferral program, there is a record of that participation and the infraction complaint. To limit access to these records, you would need to file a petition for infraction expungement.
What Infraction Expungement Does
If a deferral program is not an option, under Indiana Code § 34-28-5-15, you may be able to petition the court to restrict access by noncriminal justice organizations or individuals to records showing infractions; unless the citation was dismissed, you were found after a hearing not to have committed the infraction, or the judgment of your infraction was vacated (as in on appeal). This process is called infraction expungement.
You may seek to restrict access to your Indiana driving record or other infraction record after a defined waiting period, depending on the disposition of your case:
- If you were found not to have committed the infraction or if the action alleging an infraction was dismissed and not refiled: 30 days
- For the judgment finding you committed an infraction, 365 days after:
- The order vacating the infraction judgment is final (if there is no appeal or the appeal is terminated before the appellate court hands down a decision or opinion), or
- The date of the appellate decision or opinion
- If the infraction was not prosecuted: two years (after the alleged violation occurred)
- If you participated in a deferral program or were found to have committed the infraction: five years (after the terms of the judgment or the deferral program are completed)
A petition requesting infraction expungement must meet certain form requirements and include the following information:
- The date the alleged violation occurred
- The alleged violation
- The date of the action was dismissed, the judgment was entered, or the judgment was vacated
- The basis for vacating the judgment, if applicable
- The date the conditions of the judgment or the deferral program were satisfied, if applicable
- The law enforcement agency of the officer who issued the complaint and details about the officer
- Your name and date of birth
You must file the petition for infraction expungement with the court in the jurisdiction where the violation occurred and send a copy to that jurisdiction’s prosecutor’s office.
If the prosecutor files an objection to your request to restrict access to records regarding your infraction, the court will either grant your request set the matter for hearing. If there is a hearing, the court must grant your request for relief if you are entitled to it under Indiana Code § 34-28-5-15.
How Keffer Hirschauer LLP Can Help with Your Infraction Expungement
Getting a copy of your Indiana driving record may be straightforward, but locating the records of various infractions and restricting access by noncriminal justice organizations or individuals can be more challenging. In some cases, such as deferral programs, acting swiftly is the key to keeping a traffic citation off your record. In other cases, you may need to ask the court for infraction expungement to restrict access of unauthorized organizations and persons to your infraction records. To identify all of your pending infractions and take steps to clear your record, you need help from an experienced Indiana expungement attorney to locate all relevant records and identify and take steps to purge those violations from your record.
At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, we provide rigorous defense and expungement services to clients throughout Indiana. Whether you need help applying for a deferral program, locating records of past infractions, negotiating a lesser citation, or seek an infraction expungement, you’re in capable hands with us as your Indiana expungement lawyers. Don’t miss your chance—act today.
To schedule a free consultation to discuss your Indiana driving record or other infractions, call us at (317) 751-7186 or complete our online contact form.