Any type of criminal conviction is a big deal, as it can alter your life in a number of ways. In addition to the penalties, such as jail time or community service, there's a chance that your criminal record will make it difficult to live your best life in the future.
For example, if you have a felony on your record and you want to be a teacher, you'll find that it's difficult, if not impossible, to follow this career path.
As you learn more about the expungement process in Indiana, you may find that you can have your criminal records sealed or destroyed. This goes a long way in lessening the impact on your life.
Are you eligible?
Not everyone is eligible for expungement, as you must meet specific requirements.
To start, you can only go through the expungement process if there are no criminal charges pending against you. Also, you're only eligible if you have not been convicted of a crime for a specific number of years and you don't have a suspended driver's license.
If you have a Class D felony or misdemeanor on your record, you can petition for an expungement five years from the date of your conviction. For non-violent felonies, the waiting period increases to eight years. And for more serious felonies, it pushes all the way out to 10 years.
It's important to note that expungement is not available to anyone convicted of official misconduct, sex offenders or violent offenders.
How does it happen?
If you find that you're eligible for expungement, the next step is to file a petition in the county where your conviction took place.
If you're seeking expungement in separate counties, you're required to file a petition with each county.
Due to the nature of the law and the complexity of the expungement process, it's best to consult with an experienced attorney before you do anything. This will help you prevent mistakes that could slow down the process.
Indiana has a formal expungement process in place that could work in your favor. If expungement makes sense, don't hesitate to learn more about the finer details of the process and the steps you can take to get started.