If you’re like many people in Indiana, you’re sick of your criminal record following you everywhere you go.
Maybe you’ve had your record pop up on an employment background check, or perhaps you’ve had to tell a prospective landlord about a mistake you made in the distant past because you knew it’d come up if they looked. Or maybe you’re just tired of knowing that your record is there, hanging over your head – even if you successfully completed your sentence and paid your dues to society.
The good news is that you may be eligible for criminal record clearing. This guide outlines the basics of criminal record clearing in Indiana so you know what you’re up against if you have a criminal record.
Criminal Record Clearing in Indiana: The Basics
The state of Indiana allows some people to clear their criminal records through the process of expungement. Many misdemeanors and felonies are eligible for expungement, although some crimes must remain on your record forever. If you’re not sure whether your criminal record qualifies for expungement, your best bet is to get in touch with an Indianapolis expungement attorney. Your attorney can take a look at your record and figure out if you’re eligible for criminal record clearing. If you are, your lawyer can also tell you which offenses on your record can be cleared.
Related: Indiana expungement FAQ
Expungement clears your criminal record so it’s like nothing ever happened. For example, if you were arrested several years ago and you don’t want prospective employers, landlords or others to find out about the arrest, you may be able to petition the state of Indiana and ask the criminal justice system to clear that arrest from your record. The same is true if you were convicted of some misdemeanors or felonies.
The catch is that you can only expunge your criminal record one time. If you have convictions in multiple jurisdictions, you can apply for expungement for each of them, provided you file all of your applications within a one-year period. If you’ve had your record expunged in the past, you may not ask the state to expunge it again.
Who Qualifies for Expungement?
It’s not necessarily about who qualifies for expungement; it’s about which offenses qualify, as well as whether the person who committed the offenses has waited the appropriate amount of time before asking the state to clear their record.
Typically, you can expunge:
- Some juvenile offenses
- Class C and D felonies
- Levels 1 through 6 felonies (in some cases)
- Pretrial diversion records
- Traffic offenses
You usually can’t expunge:
- Attempted murder or murder
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Battery that resulted in serious bodily injury
- Child molestation
- Kidnapping or criminal confinement
- Criminal deviate conduct
- Dealing in or manufacturing Schedule I, II, III or IV controlled substances
- Dealing in methamphetamine
The best way to determine whether you qualify for expungement is usually to talk to a criminal record clearing attorney who has experience with Indiana expungement law. Your attorney can take a look at your criminal record and determine whether the offense is on it qualify you for a second chance in Indiana. (It’s important to note that the law that governs expungement in Indiana is called the Second Chance Law.)
What About the Waiting Period?
You usually have to wait until a certain amount of time has passed before you can ask the state of Indiana to clear your criminal record. For example, if you were arrested, but never charged with a crime, you must wait until at least one year has passed. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, you usually have to wait five years, and if you were convicted of a felony, the waiting period is typically eight years period for some violent felonies, you must wait ten years before you can ask the state of Indiana to clear your record. There are other conditions you must meet, as well. For example, you may not have been convicted of any other crimes during your waiting period, and you must not have any pending charges.
Do You Really Only Get One Chance to Clear Your Record in Indiana?
You really only get one chance to clear your criminal record in Indiana. If you have criminal records in multiple jurisdictions, you must file petitions for all of them within one year. Otherwise, you miss your chance. You can’t come back later and say, “Oh, I forgot! I committed a crime in a different county. I need to clear that one, too.” The law doesn’t work that way, and the court will tell you that you can’t clear that record because you didn’t do so within a year of your other petitions.
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.