Tens of thousands of people across Indiana have criminal records – and many of them don’t even know it. The fact is that if you’ve ever been arrested, you’re among their ranks. But does an arrest stay on your Indiana criminal record forever? This guide explains.
Does an Arrest Stay on Your Indiana Criminal Record Forever?
Unless you take action to remove an arrest from your criminal record, it remains there forever. Arrests don’t “fall off” your record or disappear automatically.
Because you have to take specific actions to clear an arrest from your criminal record, it may be in your best interest to work with an Indiana expungement attorney. Your attorney can fill out and file your paperwork for you, to help you with every step of the process, and answer your questions along the way.
Removing an Arrest From Your Criminal Record
If you were arrested but your arrest never led to a conviction, you’re eligible to expunge it from your criminal record. However, you must wait at least one year from the date of your arrest before filing a petition to expunge.
You may only expunge arrests and charges that never resulted in a conviction or that resulted in a conviction that was later vacated on appeal. If you’re currently participating in a pretrial diversion program, you may not expunge arrests from your records; you have to wait until you complete the pretrial diversion program and the appropriate amount of time has passed since your arrest.
What You Need in Your Petition to Expunge an Arrest
Your expungement attorney will know exactly what to put in your petition, which must be complete and submitted to the appropriate court. If you file an incomplete petition, the state of Indiana will not grant your expungement. Your petition must include:
- Information about the arrest, including the date and the county in which it occurred
- Details on the law enforcement agency that employed the officer who arrested you
- Information such as the location of the court where criminal charges were filed against you, if applicable
- As much other information as you can include, such as the name of the officer who arrested you, your case number, any other names you’ve used in the past, your driver’s license number, and a list of every criminal charge levied against you (if applicable)
- Your birthdate and Social Security number
You must pay a filing fee with your expungement petition.
How Long Does it Take to Expunge an Arrest?
It can take between a month and six months for the state of Indiana to expunge your arrest from your record. In some cases, it takes longer; there are several factors involved, including court employees’ caseloads.
Can a Judge Deny a Petition to Expunge an Arrest?
You may be happy to learn that the court cannot deny an expungement petition for an arrest unless your petition is incomplete or you currently have charges pending against you. As long as you meet the conditions outlined in Indiana law (such as waiting until a year has passed), you’re legally allowed to expunge arrests from your record.
How Many Times Can You Expunge Arrests in Indiana?
The state of Indiana typically only lets people apply for expungement once in their lifetime, but arrests are a little bit different. You may expunge arrests that never led to convictions as many times as you need to in order to clear your record. For example, if you were arrested in 2018, you became eligible to petition the court to expunge that arrest record in 2019. If you were arrested again in 2020, you became eligible to expunge that arrest record in 2021 – and It doesn’t matter that you already expunged a record in 2019, because it was for an arrest that never led to a conviction.
A Word on Expunging Convictions
When you expunge a conviction (or multiple convictions) in the state of Indiana, you get one shot. After you have used your once-in-a-lifetime chance at expunging convictions, you can’t expunge more in the future. That means if you commit a crime after your record has already been expunged, the new crime remains on your criminal record for the rest of your life.
Again, though, this doesn’t apply to arrests. As long as your arrests never led to any convictions, you may petition for expungement as many times as you need to.
Related: Expungement attorneys in Indiana
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.