If you’re like many people, you may have heard that the state of Indiana will clear your criminal record after 10 years have passed. But is that true? This guide explains.
Does Indiana Clear Your Criminal Record After 10 Years?
Though it’s a popular rumor, the state of Indiana doesn’t clear your criminal record after 10 years period however, there are some states in the country that do automatically clear some records, and other states that are currently working on legislation to do so. Indiana is not one of them.
But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with your criminal record forever. In fact, you may be able to expunge some of your records to give yourself a fresh start. The state won’t do it for you automatically, you may be able to work with an attorney to fill out and file all the forms you need to clear your name.
Expungement: You Can Say You’ve Never Been Arrested or Convicted
If your record has been expunged, you can say that you’ve never been arrested or convicted of a crime when someone asks you. In fact, the law that governs Indiana’s expungements, called “Sealing and Expunging Conviction Records,” is known as the Second Chance Act.
Sometimes when the state of Indiana expunges your record, your record isn’t erased completely; instead, it’s marked “Expunged.” Anyone who can see your record can see that it was expunged, and they’re not allowed to hold it against you. Otherwise, the law considers it discrimination. In fact, it’s considered unlawful discrimination for any person to suspend, expel, refuse to employ or admit, or refuse to grant or renew a license, permit or certificate necessary to engage in any activity, occupation or profession because of an expunged record. That means you truly do get a second chance – and nobody can take that from you. When the person asking about your criminal history runs a background check and finds expunged records (some records remain but are marked “Expunged,” while others are erased), they can’t hold those records against you.
Related: Indiana expungement FAQ
Expungement in Indiana: Not Automatic, but Not Difficult to Get (in Most Cases)
Getting your criminal record expunged isn’t an automatic process in Indiana, but with the right knowledge, it’s not difficult to clear your record. Many people choose to work with an Indiana expungement attorney who can fill out and file their paperwork for them; that takes all the guesswork out of the process.
However, the big key is ensuring that you’re eligible for expungement. The state of Indiana won’t expunge some offenses; in other cases, you must wait until a certain amount of time has elapsed before your record becomes eligible for clearing. Generally:
- You must wait a year from the date of your arrest (with no further arrests or charges) to expunge an arrest record.
- You must wait five years from the date of your conviction or release from incarceration (whichever is later) to expunge a misdemeanor.
- You must wait eight years from the date of your conviction or release from incarceration (whichever is later) to expunge a felony.
- You must wait ten years from the date of your conviction or release from incarceration (whichever is later) to expunge a violent felony – in addition to getting the prosecutor’s consent.
With all offenses, you must not have previously had your record expunged, you must not have any criminal charges pending, and you must have paid all your fines and fees. You must also not have committed another crime during the waiting period if you’re expunging a felony.
What Crimes Are Not Automatically Expunged (but May Still Be Expunged) in Indiana?
In Indiana, you can typically expunge the following types of offenses:
- Pretrial diversion records
- Some juvenile offenses
- Unrelated traffic offenses
- Class D felonies
- Class C felonies (in some cases)
- Level 1 through Level 6 felonies (in some cases)
Related: Expunging pretrial diversion records
Some types of offenses must remain on your record forever, though, including:
- Arson (as a Class A, B or C felony)
- Attempted murder
- Battery resulting in serious bodily injury (as a Class A, B or C felony)
- Child molesting (as a Class A, B or C felony)
- Criminal confinement (as a Class A or B felony)
- Criminal deviate conduct (as a Class A or B felony)
- Dealing in methamphetamine (as a Class A, B or C felony)
- Dealing in or manufacturing schedule I, II, III or IV controlled substances (as a Class A, B or C felony)
- Kidnapping (as a Class A or B felony)
- Rape (as a Class A or B felony)
- Robbery (as a Class A, B or C felony)
- Voluntary manslaughter
The state of Indiana will not remove these criminal convictions from your record, regardless of how much time has passed since you completed your sentence.
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.