If you’re like many people, you know that the state of Indiana offers expungement – a way to clear your criminal record so it doesn’t hold you back from getting a job, finding a place to live, or even obtaining credit in your name. Indiana law is very clear: You may expunge misdemeanor convictions as long as you meet certain criteria. This guide explains what you need to know about expunging a misdemeanor in Indiana.
Everything You Need to Know About Expunging a Misdemeanor in Indiana
First things first: You may expunge misdemeanor convictions as well as Class D felonies and Level 6 felonies that a judge reduced to a misdemeanor. (In 2014, Indiana lawmakers overhauled the felony classification system. Offenses committed before July 1, 2014, fell into the “Class” system, and offenses committed after that date fall into the “Level” system.)
If you have misdemeanors that are eligible for expungement, you need to know that there’s a five-year waiting period. The law says that you must wait five years after the date of your conviction unless the prosecutor consents to an earlier date in writing.
Conditions You Need to Meet to Expunge a Misdemeanor
In addition to making it through the waiting period (or getting the prosecutor to sign off on an earlier date), you must:
- Not have any pending charges at the time you apply for expungement. If you have pending charges, you’re not eligible – you must wait until your other court cases are complete. And if you end up being convicted of a crime in one of those other court cases, you can’t apply to expunge your record until you’ve satisfied condition 3 (see below).
- Have already paid all your fines, fees and court costs, as well as any restitution a judge ordered you to pay. If you’re delinquent or owe the court money, you can’t apply for expungement. All your debts related to the case must be satisfied before you can submit an expungement petition.
- Not have been convicted of a crime within the previous five years. If you have a current court case going on, or if you were recently convicted, you must wait until five years have passed before you can apply for expungement – even if it’s been years since you committed the misdemeanor you want to expunge. There’s one way out of this, though: If you can get the prosecuting attorney to agree to shorten that timeframe, you may apply for expungement before five years have passed.
Do Judges Have to Expunge a Misdemeanor From Your Record?
Indiana law says that misdemeanor expungement is mandatory as long as you meet the requirements. That means judges must grant you the expungement if you qualify – you don’t have to worry about your petition being denied.
Related: Indiana expungement FAQ
The Catch to Expunging Misdemeanors in Indiana
If you were ever convicted of two or more felony offenses that involved the unlawful use of a deadly weapon – provided that those felony offenses were part of different episodes of criminal conduct – you aren’t eligible. If you were convicted of two felonies stemming from the same incident, that’s a different story. However, you should talk to an Indiana expungement attorney about your case; it may be more complex than you think.
Should You Work With an Expungement Lawyer Indianapolis?
Many people find that the best way to get a misdemeanor expunged is to work with a criminal record clearing attorney. Your attorney can get your complete criminal history, fill out and file your petition, and help you through every step of the process. Because filing a petition to clear a misdemeanor from your record can be a long, confusing process, you may want to talk to an attorney about your situation.
Do You Need to Talk to an Expungement Lawyer Indianapolis?
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.