If you’re like many people, you made dumb mistakes when you were a kid. In fact, it’s probably a safe bet to say that we all have something in our distant pasts that could have gotten us into trouble with the law, though some were luckier than others.

But just because you got caught, does your history have to haunt you? This guide explains whether you can expunge juvenile records in Indiana and how to go about the process.

Can You Expunge Your Juvenile Records in Indiana?

It’s absolutely possible to expunge your juvenile records in Indiana. However, it’s not an automatic process. The state will not simply expunge your criminal record because you received it when you were a minor. Instead, you must ask the court to clear your criminal records. Many people choose to work with an attorney throughout this process.

Doesn’t Indiana Automatically Expunge Juvenile Records?

Although some states automatically expunge juvenile records, Indiana is not one of them. In Indiana, if you want your records cleared, you must ask a judge to clear them for you.

Related: The basics of criminal record expungement in Indiana

Your Juvenile Record in Indiana: Clearing Options

You have a couple options if you have a criminal record from your childhood; a judge can seal them or order them destroyed. In fact, any juvenile records in Indiana can be destroyed if you get a judge’s permission – even if you were sentenced to do time in a correctional facility. (This is different from the way Indiana treats adult charges, which sometimes can’t be expunged or sealed.)

Sealing a Juvenile Record in Indiana

Many juvenile records can be sealed in the state of Indiana. Generally, if you weren’t convicted of a crime, you can have your record sealed. When a record is sealed, most people won’t ever see it. In fact, the general public won’t find these records, even during a background check. However, the court keeps these records on file.

Related: Why landlords and employers run background checks

Expunging a Juvenile Record in Indiana

When a criminal record is expunged, particularly a juvenile record, the agency that has it is ordered to destroy it. After the agency destroys the record, there’s nothing left for anyone to find. Many people find expungement to be a superior option for this reason; it’s like nothing ever happened, and you don’t have to tell anyone that you had a criminal past.

Expungement and Sealing in Indiana

If you have more than one offense on your juvenile record, you may end up with a hybrid between expungement and sealing. Some of your records may be expunged, while others are sealed, and that’s okay. The main idea is that you get a fresh start, regardless of how you get there. When your record is sealed or expunged, people can’t hold it against you as you move on into and through your adulthood.

Related: Will the state of Indiana automatically clear your record after 10 years?

What Do Judges Consider When You File an Expungement Petition?

When you make a request for an expungement in Indiana, particularly of a juvenile record, the judge in your case will consider a number of factors. The judge will look at the types of cases you had, the outcomes of those cases, and how well you have been doing as a productive member of society since your last court case. The judge will probably also look at what you’re doing now for work or school, whether you’ve ever been charged with a crime in adult court, and why you want your records cleared. All of these factors play an important role in a judge’s decision when it comes to letting you clear your criminal record and get a fresh start.

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.