Do you have a criminal conviction or arrest record that has kept you from getting a job or housing? You may be able to have your record expunged. Expungement is the process of sealing a criminal record so that it can only be accessed by law enforcement under certain limited circumstances. This means that an expunged conviction or arrest will not appear in background checks for employment, leases, and other transactions.
Expungement also means that you will no longer have to disclose your arrest or convictions to employers or lenders. Indiana’s Second Chance Act details the following general circumstances when you may have your criminal arrest or conviction sealed:
• If you were arrested but not convicted, your arrest can be expunged one year after the date of your arrest. This is true even if the arrest resulted in an adjudication for an infraction but did not result in a conviction.
• If you are currently participating in a pre-trial diversion program, you can file to expunge prior arrests and criminal charges that did not result in a conviction without waiting until you finish the program if the prosecuting attorney consents.
• If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, your record can be expunged 5 years after the date of the conviction.
• If you were convicted of a Class D or Level 6 felony that did not involve bodily injury, your record can be expunged 8 years after the date of conviction.
• If you were convicted of a higher level felony that did not involve bodily injury, your record may be expunged 8 years after the date of conviction or 3 years after you have completed the terms of your sentence, whichever is longer.
• If you were convicted of a felony that involved bodily injury, your record may be expunged once 10 years have passed since the date of conviction and 5 have passed since you completed the terms of your sentence. The prosecutor must also consent to the expungement.
Some arrest records must be expunged automatically, without any need for the defendant to file an expungement petition. Effective July 1, 2022, automatic expungement is required in the following circumstances:
1) If a court dismisses all charges or juvenile delinquency allegations filed and pending against a defendant;
2) If the prosecution filed charges against a juvenile more than a year ago but is no longer actively prosecuting the allegations and has not disposed punishment;
3) If a defendant is acquitted of all charges at trial or their conviction is later vacated;
4) If a court finds allegations against a juvenile defendant to be untrue;
5) If a court vacates a finding of guilt against a juvenile defendant.
Petitions for expungement must be filed in every county in which you have a conviction or arrest record that you wish to have sealed. Because you may only expunge conviction records once during your lifetime, it is important to include all charges in the process to avoid losing the ability to seal them. Some felonies, including homicide, sex crimes, and certain violent offenses, are not eligible for expungement.
Call us at (317) 825-5110 to discuss any questions you may have. McNeelyLaw has a team of experienced criminal attorneys ready to help you.
This McNeelyLaw LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.