New Indiana Expungement Laws Coming July 2019

With the signing of House Bill 1541 this week, the expungement laws in Indiana are about to change dramatically for the better for individuals who wish to file for expungement starting July 1, 2019.

What Are the New Expungement Laws in Indiana?

Previously, individuals with cases dismissed, convicted of a misdemeanor, or convicted of a class D felony were eligible to have their cases expunged. This resulted in the court issuing an order requiring state-based agencies who maintained those records to seal or redact the identifying information on the case. Additionally, on a background check the case would disappear and individuals were able to move forward as if the case never happened. However, the expungement did not require any change or alteration to internal records made by a law enforcement agency, prosecuting attorney’s office, or a probation department.

Also individuals with convictions for class C felony or above, if granted an expungement by the courts, would have their conviction records marked as expunged. These cases would still be available to view on a background check but the law did make it a class C infraction to discriminate against individuals who have had their records expunged.

Legislation Changes

All of this is now changing for the better for petitioners. The legislation is now changing the words expunge, seal, and redact to “destroy or permanently delete.” In addition, the new legislation does not limit the destruction or permanent deletion to lower level cases. Now all case levels are eligible. This is a major change in the law and significantly impacts petitioner’s ability to truly get a second chance and leave their past convictions behind.

Additionally, the old statute permitted courts to consider an individual’s expunged criminal history if the individual is charge with a future criminal offense. The new statute does not permit courts to consider expunged cases any longer. This means not only will a petitioner’s background check show up clean but they potentially will truly have a second chance moving forward.

What Expungement Laws Will Not Change?

Taking all of this good news into consideration, there are a few items that have not changed with the new law. The time that must pass before an individual can expunge a case has not changed (one, five, eight, and ten years for dismissal, misdemeanor, felony, and felonies that resulted in serious bodily injury, respectively). Additionally, the expungement law still does not prevent the Indiana BMV from reporting information for a violation of traffic control law, including OVWI convictions, to the Commercial Drivers License Information System in accordance with federal law. Sex or violent offenses are still ineligible to expunge. Lastly, the expungement, by itself, does not restore firearms rights to those individuals with domestic violence convictions. Those individuals with domestic violence convictions must still petition for a restoration of firearms rights.

This new law could impact early expungements and major felony expungements. Prosecuting attorney offices across the state will likely have mixed thoughts about this new law and may be even more reluctant to allow for early expungements. Additionally with major felony expungements remaining discretionary with the courts, judges may take a much closer look as to if they believe petitioner’s are deserving of an expungement since the law allows for permanent deletion rather than just a mark on the record which could result in a higher risk of getting an expungement denied.

As with most situations in criminal law, it is advisable to speak with an attorney who has a proven track history with expungements, knows the opposing parties and judges, and is up to date on the most recent trends in the law. The expungement attorneys with Banks & Brower have handled expungement cases in all 92 counties and have the experience to help you with your case as well as a track history of satisfied clients. Our Indianapolis expungement attorneys are available day or night or weekends at 317-870-0019 and info@banksbrower.com.

For more information about expungement, feel free to check out our general expungement article or review a more detailed look at the expungement timelines.