Can You Expunge Drug Charges in Indiana?

If you have drug arrests, charges or convictions on your Indiana criminal record, you may be excited to learn that you could be eligible for criminal record clearing. In fact, the state of Indiana sometimes allows people to expunge drug-related offenses from their criminal records, provided that they meet certain criteria. This guide explains having drug charges expunged from your criminal record.

Can You Expunge Drug Charges in Indiana?

It’s possible to expunge drug offenses from your criminal record in Indiana. Before you get too far ahead of yourself, though, you need to know the differences between a drug arrest with no charges, criminal charges, and a conviction.

  • Arrest with no charges: If the police arrest you because they suspect you have or are using drugs, but they then let you go without charging you, you’ve been arrested with no charges. You will not have a conviction on your record from this incident.
  • Criminal charges: Criminal charges are official accusations from the state of Indiana that say the state believes that you have committed a crime. Even if you’re charged with a crime, the charges can later be dropped; If the charges aren’t dropped, you’ll end up going to court and pleading guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Generally, you’ll go to trial and the court will find you guilty or not guilty.
  • Convictions: If the court finds you guilty of a crime, you have a conviction.

Expunging Arrests With No Charges

It’s possible to expunge an arrest with no charges from your criminal record. However, you must typically wait at least one year from your arrest and have no pending criminal charges at the time you file a petition for expungement. If you qualify based on these criteria, the judge in your case may order your record to be expunged. It doesn’t matter if your arrest was related to drugs or anything else; if you weren’t charged, you can petition the state for expungement.

Related: Indiana expungement FAQ

Expunging Criminal Charges

If you’ve been charged with a drug crime, but the charges were dropped, or you were found not guilty of the crime, you’re most likely eligible for expungement. However, you can’t apply for expungement when you have open criminal cases or pending charges, or before the required time period has passed. There are some exceptions that allow people to file for expungement before the required time period has passed, but you should probably talk to an attorney about your situation to find out whether you qualify for an early petition.

The key is that the drug charges never went anywhere. If you were charged with but never convicted of a drug crime, your record falls into this category.

Expunging a Drug Conviction

If you were convicted of a drug crime, you may be eligible for expungement. Some crimes must remain on your criminal record, but others are okay to expunge. (See “What Criminal Convictions Can You Expunge in Indiana?” for more information.) In many cases, drug convictions can be expunged.

Related: All about Indiana’s Second Chance law

How Long Do You Have to Wait Before Expunging Your Record?

If the offenses on your record qualify for expungement, you may apply after you’ve waited the appropriate length of time.

The following table shows you how long you have to wait to submit an expungement petition. In some cases, you can ask to expunge your record before the required length of time has passed – but in a situation like that, you may want to speak with an attorney.

Type of Offense Waiting Period
Arrests with no conviction 1 year
Criminal charges with no conviction 1 year
Juvenile delinquency adjudication 1 year
Misdemeanor convictions 5 years
Lower-level felonies reduced to misdemeanors 5 years
Class D felonies 8 years
Level 6 felonies 8 years
Eligible major felonies 8 or more years, or 3 years after you complete your sentence

Your attorney can give you more specifics on your own waiting period based on what’s on your criminal history report.

Do You Need to Talk to an Indiana Expungement and Sealing Attorney?

If you’re ready for a fresh start, we may be able to help. Call us at 317-647-5476 or fill out the form below for a free consultation on expungement. We’re here to answer your questions and get you the fresh start you deserve.