Many Indiana residents understand the difficulties of a criminal record. A past conviction or arrest can give loan officers, landlords or mortgage agents reason to deny an application. Even if a person never went to jail, they may find it very hard to rent an apartment, purchase a car or even find a job.
Thankfully, the state of Indiana allows people to petition for expungement. This process removes a criminal charge, arrest or conviction from one’s record. Not all crimes are eligible, but understanding the process may provide many Indiana citizens relief.
Offenses eligible for expungement
Indiana allows expungement for many crimes, but not all. Residents of Indiana may apply to have the following expunged from their record:
- Arrest records: Even an arrest record can turn a potential employer away. After one year, a person can apply for expungement if their arrest did not result in a conviction, an appeal vacated the conviction or they completed a pre-trial diversion program.
- Misdemeanors: Indiana allows expungement for all misdemeanors, even felonies reduced via plea agreement. To be eligible, it must be five years from the date of conviction, an individual must not have additional criminal charges pending, they have paid all fines and fees, and they have not committed another crime in those five years. This expungement is mandatory for Indiana courts, so there is no risk to apply.
- Felonies: Individuals may even petition for felony expungement. Ineligible offenses include sex crimes, violent crimes, homicide, and human trafficking. The same expectations for expunging a misdemeanor apply to a felony, except the individual must wait eight years after their conviction. Again, these expungements are mandatory. For violent felonies, the individual must wait ten years, and only if the prosecutor agrees.
Courts process most expungements within 30 days of the petition. Indiana law also makes it illegal for employers or loan officers to discriminate against those who have had their records expunged.
Prepare for the complicated expungement process
Though the expungement process may seem simple, those who hire a lawyer knowledgeable about Indiana criminal law have more success. Since Indiana only allows citizens to expunge their record once, it is important to get it done right.