Do you have a criminal record? Did you have a youthful indiscretion and you would prefer it no longer be a matter of public record? Is a criminal conviction is keeping you from a better job? Perhaps you had a rough past, but have lived a law-abiding life for many years. All of these are reasons you may want to take advantage of Indiana’s expungement laws, which have been made available to many more people through legislation in the last two years.
In the past, expungement of criminal records was limited to situations where arrested persons who were not charged or had their charges dismissed could later show:
1) no crime committed,
2) no probable cause to charge an already arrested person, or
3) the arrested person’s identity was mistaken for the real culprit.
Obviously the application of these factors was very limited and more often resulted in prosecuting attorneys and attorneys for the arrested persons agreeing that one of these nearly-impossible-to-prove grounds had been met when a deserving person sought relief many years after the fact.
The Indiana legislature within the last two years has determined that it ought to be easier to expunge records of arrests and convictions. An arrest record, with either no conviction or the conviction was overturned, can be petitioned to be SEALED in as little as one year after the arrest occurred or the conviction was overturned. The only eligibility requirement is that you do not have a current charge pending, or be on pretrial diversion or deferral.
Criminal convictions can now be expunged. Whether you are able to do so depends on the severity of the crime, and how long it has been since being convicted of a crime (in categories of 5, 8 and 10 years). Also, you must have no other cases pending. You can expunge multiple convictions in multiple counties, but you have to do so at the same time and only once in your life. The categories are complicated, but legal counsel can help you navigate this process. The law allows for the prosecuting attorney to agree to a shorter waiting period and effective counsel is crucial to convincing the prosecutor why a shorter waiting period is appropriate.
Persons convicted of certain crimes are not eligible for particular categories of expungement. An attorney can help determine your eligibility.
Expunged records will still be available for the most part to law enforcement and those in the legal system. Records can range from sealed from public view to available to the public but marked as expunged. Your attorney can factor this information into the result you desire.
The process is complicated but the result can be tremendously beneficial–no more embarrassment, a better job, and affirmation of a life changed for the better.
Contact Doll & Sievers, Attorneys at Law, LLC at (812) 858-5200 or (812) 886-0000 to schedule an appointment to discuss your unique circumstances and needs.
This article is general in nature and should not be taken as specific legal advice by any person. Everyone’s facts and circumstances are different. Consult an attorney for specific legal advice which is appropriate to your needs.