Am I eligible for an expungement and how can it help me?

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2022 | Criminal Defense

For people who were arrested and convicted of a criminal offense in Indiana, there will be understandable concerns as to how that will impact them in the future. Obviously, that starts with the potential penalties they will face, including jail time and fines.

It also includes the way in which the conviction will hinder them in their goals for the future. For example, a conviction could prevent the person from getting certain jobs, being admitted to a school of their choice, entering the military and securing housing.

Often, they are unaware of the options available to get an expungement. With an expungement, the crime can be treated as if it never happened. It is clear as to how this can be helpful to a person as they strive to get beyond the arrest and conviction and move forward to achieve their objectives in life. Still, there are critical facts about expungements that should be known, including who is eligible and how it can help them.

Can I receive an expungement based on my conviction?

After an arrest or conviction, there are certain crimes that can be expunged. First, it is important to know which convictions cannot be expunged. They include crimes involving sex or violent offenders, people who have been convicted for a felony that led to the death of someone else, those involved in human or sexual trafficking, certain sex crimes, homicides and official misconduct. If there were at least two felony convictions for use of a deadly weapon, there cannot be an expungement.

There are five expungement categories. Category 1 is if the person was arrested but not convicted. A recently implemented change will automatically expunge certain arrests. For example, if the court has dismissed all charges or there were allegations of juvenile delinquency and 1 year has passed since the juvenile delinquency without disposition and the prosecution is not moving forward, there can be an expungement. An acquittal followed by charges being vacated can also be expunged.

Categories 2 and 3 apply to misdemeanors, Class D felonies and Level 6 felonies. Those who were convicted of any misdemeanor or a Class D felony on crimes committed prior to July 1, 2014, or a Level 6 felony that was converted to a misdemeanor are eligible.

Category 4 is for cases where there were felonies, but no serious bodily injury or death came about because of it. Category 5 is for remaining eligible felonies in which no other people died.

Am I protected from discrimination if my record was expunged?

People who have a criminal record not only have obstacles in the aftermath, but they can be discriminated against. Those who have received an expungement benefit from the outlawing of discriminatory behavior against them. After a record was expunged, the person cannot be suspended; expelled; face employment refusal; face refusal to admit; have licenses or permit renewals denied; or be discriminated against because they were arrested or convicted and the record was expunged.

For expungements, it is important to know the facts and have help

Just because a person was arrested or convicted of a crime or crimes does not mean that it needs to follow them around for the rest of their lives. When they have paid their debt to society and the circumstances are in place, they can seek an expungement to clear the record and move on.

Knowing the details of getting an expungement, what crimes can be expunged and the positives are imperative when considering this option. Discussing the case with experienced criminal defense professionals can give assistance with deciding if this is the right path and making it a reality.