Charges and convictions in your criminal record can affect your life opportunities, especially when it comes to housing and employment. However, convicted or not, you have the opportunity to restrict access to a portion of your records in Indiana. This process is commonly known as expungement. Certain people can do this if they comply with the law’s requirements. By expunging your records, you could start anew and avoid having problems for something you’ve already paid for.
Expungement in Indiana
By expunging your record, you won’t eliminate your past convictions or charges. However, you can restrict the public from accessing them. This means that landlords and employers won’t be able to look at your record. Once the court expunges your record, only criminal agencies like the court, prosecutor and police will be able to look at it. Many people may expunge their record in Indiana. Still, to do this, they must wait a specific period after the conviction or the completion of the sentence.
There are different classifications of people who can restrict their records from public access in Indiana. Each category has different requirements that the person must comply with to successfully seal their criminal history. The overall requirements for each classification are:
- Individuals not determined to be guilty: must wait a year after the day of the arrest to expunge their records.
- Individuals convicted of a misdemeanor: must wait 5 years after the conviction, only if they did not commit a crime during those years. They must have also completed their sentence. They must not have any charges or convictions, including a driver’s license suspension.
- Individuals convicted of a non-violent felony: must wait 8 years after the completion of their sentence. They must have also completed their sentence and prove they don’t have any more charges or convictions. They cannot have any other conviction of a crime within the 8 previous years.
- Individuals convicted of a violent or sexual felony: must wait at least 10 years after completing their sentence. They must comply with the same requirements for those convicted of a non-violent felony, except that they cannot have a conviction or charge for the previous 10 years.
Individuals who committed a violent sex offense, sexual battery, murder or human trafficking are not eligible to expunge their records.
A fresh start
If you are eligible, you can ask the court to expunge your record by filing a petition and taking it to your county’s clerk’s office. The court will review your petition and notify you if they accept it or not. If successful, your records won’t be available to the public anymore. With an expungement, you can have a fresh start without your criminal records following you wherever you go.