Expungement is the process of sealing a criminal record so that a conviction or arrest will not appear in the public record. This is important because having a criminal record may prevent you from obtaining a job, lease on an apartment, and/or some occupational/professional licenses. Specifically, many job applications ask whether you have been convicted of a crime. With an expunged conviction, you can truthfully answer “no” to that question.
There are a few conditions that need to be met in order to qualify for the most common level of expungement in Indiana. First, the conviction must have been either a misdemeanor or a Class D Felony that did not result in bodily injury. Also, the conditions of the sentence must be completed, and a certain number of years must have passed since the conviction, depending on the type of conviction. For misdemeanors, five (5) years must have passed, whereas for Class D Felonies eight (8) years must have passed since conviction. Additionally, you cannot have been convicted of other crimes during that five (5) or eight (8) year period, and you cannot have any other pending criminal charges. You can only petition for an expungement of convictions once, and the petitions must be filed in each county in which you have a conviction record you wish to have sealed. A more detailed list of requirements for all levels of Indiana expungement can be found here.
The most recent changes to the Indiana Criminal Expungement Statute were in March 2020. The law that governs expungements in Indiana is IC 35-38-9. The most significant change that came with P.L. 55 has to do with Felonies that were reduced to misdemeanors. Before P.L. 55, if a felony was reduced to a misdemeanor the five (5) year waiting period to have that conviction expunged would have began when that conviction became a misdemeanor. However, under the changes in IC 35-38-9-2lthe 5-year period begins on the date of the felony conviction.
In addition, IC 35-38-9-9.5 lays out the steps for expunging a “collateral action”, which is an action that occurred in a different county in Indiana than the county that issued the expungement order. A collateral action includes things such as proceedings for specialized driving privileges or a transfer of probation to another county. Another change to the law is seen in IC 35-38-9-10, which allows a law enforcement agency or community corrections department to obtain information about expunged criminal records and refuse employment to someone because of the expunged records.
IC 34-26-7.5-2 was amended to add “protection order records” as a defined term. Records to be expunged under this law now include all records related to a protection order, including the petition for the protection order. This even covers those petitions that were not granted by the court. Companies that provide background checks are also now prohibited from including expunged protection order records in criminal history reports.
The Indiana expungement process can be difficult to navigate. Contact McNeely law for your expungement needs as we have a team of experienced 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.