An image of a regretful man sitting on railroad tracks, representing the opportunities available to start fresh after criminal convictions by applying for Indiana expungements.

Indiana Expungements: Can You Clear Your Criminal Record?

If you have any sort of criminal record, it can seriously impact some of the most fundamental parts of your life. Background checks are routinely used to screen applicants for jobs and housing. Finding a new job or the right place to live can be hard enough, and having your past come back to haunt you can really limit your options. Indiana expungements can clear your criminal record in some situations.

Thankfully, Indiana expungement law recognizes that a person’s mistakes should not define them forever, and allows qualified individuals to request that records of their previous child delinquencies, arrests, misdemeanors, and certain felonies be expunged.  

What Indiana Expungements Can Do

Getting your records expunged means that you won’t be required to answer “Yes” when asked if you’ve been previously convicted of certain crimes. Indiana Code (IC) § 35-38-9-10 states that it is unlawful to discriminate against any person by suspending, expelling, refusing employment or admission, or refusing to grant or renew a license, permit, or certificate because of an expunged record.

Essentially, a successful expungement can clear your criminal record. It means that you can no longer be discriminated against for your past conduct. However, any records or convictions that have not been expunged can still be used to deny you employment, licenses, or housing, among other things. An Indiana expungement attorney can help you determine your rights under Indiana expungement law.

Are My Records Eligible under Indiana Expungement Law?

Records that are easiest to expunge are those of arrests or charges that did not result in a conviction or, in the case of a minor, adjudication as a delinquent. If you have ever been arrested or charged with a crime, there is likely still a record of that arrest or charge, even if you were later acquitted or the charges were dropped. This is true even if you were a minor at the time. These records are all eligible to be expunged one year after the date of the delinquent act, arrest, or charge.

Getting a Conviction Removed from the Record in Indiana

Individuals actually found guilty of a crime must wait longer before they can petition to have a conviction removed from the record in Indiana, if they can at all. Several types of convictions are not eligible for expungement. For example, felony sex offenders, those convicted of violent crimes, and those convicted of two or more offenses involving unlawful use of a deadly weapon cannot have their conviction removed from the record in Indiana.

Anyone seeking expungement of a conviction must also demonstrate that there are no pending charges against them, that they have paid all fees, fines, court costs, and restitution, and that they have not been convicted of a crime within the previous five years.

Indiana Expungements for Misdemeanor Offenses

Misdemeanors are generally eligible to be expunged five years from the date of conviction. Individuals convicted of a Class D or Level 6 felony that was later reduced to a misdemeanor can petition to have that conviction removed from the record in Indiana eight years from the date of conviction. Less serious felony convictions are also generally eligible for expungement after eight years. Serious felony convictions are eligible for expungement after ten years under Indiana expungement law.

How Do I Get Started My Indiana Expungements?

Indiana expungements of arrest records under IC § 35-38-9-1 do not require a filing fee, while expungements of conviction records require the same filing fee charged to initiate a civil lawsuit. Information about your arrest or conviction—including the case number, the offense charged, and the resulting offense—are needed to begin the expungement process. Certain personal information will also be needed, such as your social security number. If you believe you are eligible to clear your criminal record, contact an Indiana attorney for expungements from Camden & Meridew today at (317) 770-0000 or complete our online contact form. We’ll give you an honest, accurate legal assessment of your situation and help you move forward with your life.