A criminal history can interfere with your life in many ways, long after you have paid your debt to society. Indiana’s expungement process is designed to allow people who have been convicted of certain offenses to clear or seal their records in order to give them a better chance at rebuilding their lives. In order to expunge or seal any part of a criminal record, you need to file a petition with your local court of jurisdiction in Indiana.
Who can get their record expunged?
In Indiana, only some criminal convictions may be expunged. An expungement is a legal process in which the person asks the court (or other relevant agencies) to seal their records.
After the expungement has been granted, the officially accepted petition and the written order granting the petition is sent to the Indiana State Police Expungement Section by the local court to be processed. If you do not have all of the necessary paperwork, there may be a delay in the processing of the expungement. Once the State Police receive the proper documents, they will be processed, reviewed and the State Police Expungement Section will comply with the request.
However, it is important to understand that if you manage to get your record expunged, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your entire criminal record goes away. Expungement just seals the criminal history from the public and labels it as, “expunged.”
Expungement can help your chances for employment, obtaining a license, buying a house and getting a loan from a bank. On the other hand, you will still technically have a criminal record that can be counted against you if you are charged with a crime in the future.
Can I go through the expungement process?
The expungement process is not always simple. If you have arrests, charges or convictions in various Indiana counties, you are responsible to file an expungement petition in each county individually. There is a waiting period after a conviction before you can file a petition for expungement.
There are some offenses that cannot be expunged, such as sex or violent offenses. Those include the following convictions:
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Involuntary manslaughter
- Child molestation
- Child exploitation
- Vicarious sexual gratification
- Child solicitation
- Child seduction
- Sexual misconduct with a minor
- Sexual battery
- Criminal confinement of a minor
- Possession of child pornography
- Promoting prostitution
- Human trafficking
- Official misconduct
- A felony that resulted in the death of another person
- Unlawful use of a deadly weapon
It is also important to understand that Indiana views non-conviction records differently from those that resulted in a conviction. Non-conviction records include arrests, charges and juvenile delinquency adjudications. After one year, you are allowed to file a petition to have your criminal record expunged if you were arrested but not convicted of a crime or if you were convicted but the conviction was later vacated.
Your criminal record may continue to hurt you
If you have a criminal record and it remains as is, it may continue to hurt you even though you have paid fines and/or served time. If someone does a background check on you, the criminal record will come up. This could prevent you from getting a job or obtaining a license. In Indiana, you may be able to get your record expunged so that the public is not able to see it, which would give you a better chance at a good life going forward.