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Attorney Arie Lipinski

What is expungement in Indiana?

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2024 | Criminal Defense

A criminal record in Indiana can haunt you for your entire life, denying you opportunities for employment, education, housing and more. It can also impact child custody matters, professional licenses, your right to vote and your right to own and carry a gun.

This can be true even if your criminal conviction was decades ago and you completed your sentence and stayed out of trouble since then.

You may have the option of expungement (sometimes known as expunction). This means your criminal record is permanently sealed, meaning your criminal record will no longer prevent you from moving forward with your life.

Indiana’s expungement law is also called the Second Chance Law. It is the legal process involved with sealing your criminal history, including arrests and convictions.

Advantages of expungement

There are many benefits to obtaining an expungement. You will not need to disclose your criminal history to potential employers, landlords or any organizations that require disclosure.

Expungement can be especially crucial in Indiana. Unlike some states, Indiana allows the general public to access someone’s criminal record through an online system. Anyone who wants to know someone’s criminal history does not need to hire a private investigator or go to great lengths to find it; they simply need to have access to an internet connection.

What expungement means

It is important to know exactly what expungement means. It does not mean that your criminal record is destroyed or dismissed.

An expunged record simply means that your criminal record is not accessible by non-governmental individuals or organizations. While this does typically include employers, landlords or housing organizations, it does not include police officers, prosecutors or members of the court.

An expunged record will not show up on a background check. This includes juvenile records. Again, the exception is background checks run by criminal justice agencies.

Successful expungement limits access to more than just criminal convictions. It applies to arrests, criminal charges and court records.

Protective orders can be expunged in certain circumstances. If you otherwise qualify for expungement, a protective order can be expunged if it was dismissed or denied after a hearing or reversed on appeal.

General expungement requirements

The requirements for an expungement depend on what you are trying to get expunged, such as an arrest, charge or conviction. Generally, a certain period of time must pass to be eligible.

For arrests or charges, the time is one year. For convictions, the time is between five and 10 years. You must not have any currently pending criminal charges, have paid all fines or costs associated with the matter and have had no additional convictions. You must also pay an expungement fee.

How long does expungement last?

Expungements in Indiana are permanent. However, any new criminal charges or convictions could potentially lead to an unsealing of your old criminal records.

Indiana’s Second Chance Law offers you a chance at a fresh start and get rid of the criminal record that is denying you prospects in life. But knowing if you meet the requirements and how the process works is important. Simple mistakes could delay or impede the expungement.