What is Expungement?
Expungement is a court order in which the county “seals,” or erases, a person’s legal record of arrest or conviction. In the eyes of the law, an expunged record does not exist. Expungement can erase the past and provide a priceless opportunity to live as if an arrest or conviction had never happened. In Indiana, an arrest that does not lead to conviction qualifies for record expungement, as do convictions under Indiana Code Sections 35-38-9-2 through five.
The Indiana government permits individuals to seal portions of their criminal records in what citizens call Indiana’s “Second Chance Law.” Successful expungements mean that cases will not show up in criminal background checks, except those law enforcement agencies and the courts conduct. If you’re interested in expunging your criminal record in Indianapolis, contact our Indianapolis expungement lawyers at Banks & Brower for assistance. Although you can represent yourself, retaining an attorney significantly increases your odds of successful record expungement.
How Banks & Brower Can Help With your Indiana Expungement
After getting your record expunged, it can suddenly become much easier to get a new job, qualify for housing, and secure loans. The process of expungement, however, can be long and grueling if you don’t know what you’re doing. Retaining one of our Indianapolis expungement lawyers to handle the process for you can give you the best chance of expungement upon your very first application. Our Indianapolis expungement lawyers can take care of the legwork of your request, including tasks such as:
- Prepare your expungement petition draft
- There are a number of records you will need to obtain copies of to draft your expungement petition. Records can include a criminal history report, official driver’s record, court documents, and physical addresses. Our attorneys can gather these records and put together an official draft of your petition.
- File the forms within the time limit
- To qualify for expungement, you cannot file your paperwork too early. Depending on the type of conviction, you might have to wait 1 to 10 years to file for expungement. Filing sooner will simply be a waste of time and resources, unless you have a prosecution attorney consent to an earlier period.
- Complete the correct forms
- There are several different forms and filing procedures in Indiana according to the type of crime and desired seal or expungement process. Our lawyers will make sure we file the correct forms in a timely manner on your behalf for the most efficient expungement process possible.
Contact our Indianapolis Expungement Attorneys at Banks & Brower
An Indianapolis expungement attorney from Banks & Brower can communicate with the prosecuting attorneys on your behalf, petition for expungement according to state rules, and provide the courts with all necessary information and documentation surrounding your case. We can make sure your expungement request falls into the right hands at the right time, optimizing your odds of success. We’ll work with the courts to request early filing, if applicable, to expedite the expungement process. Our criminal defense team will do everything we can to clear your record. To learn more, contact us to request a free consultation.
Do You Qualify for Record Expungement in Indiana?
In Indiana, you might qualify for expungement if your court case resulted in a not-guilty verdict or case dismissal. You could expunge your arrest record if the arrest did not result in a conviction or if the courts vacated the conviction on an appeal. Individuals with misdemeanor convictions could also qualify for record expungement. After a specific waiting period, someone with a misdemeanor could petition for expungement, as long as there are no other pending charges against the person and he/she has completed the sentence.
Expungement Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What types of crimes can be expunged?
- The best way to answer this broad question is to say what cannot be expunged. Generally, crimes that cannot be expunged include: homicide crimes, sex crimes (such as rape, child molest, child seduction, incest, etc.); official misconduct by a public servant, human and sexual trafficking crimes, and any individual who has been classified as a sex or violent offender. Additionally, if an individual is convicted of 2 or more felony offenses that involved the use of a deadly weapon and the felony offenses were not committed as part of the same crime, that individual is prohibited from seeking an expungement for those particular offenses. There may be additional crimes or elements of a crime that prevent an individual from being granted an expungement so it is highly advisable that you confer with an attorney before proceeding forward.
- Other than the above mentioned crimes and other potential exceptions, thankfully, the legislature has written the expungement statute to include most other crimes including almost all alcohol, drug, and theft related offenses.
What happens to my record when the expungement is granted?
- What happens to your record largely depends on the level of the conviction. For misdemeanor and Class D felony cases, the record is sealed from public access and may not be released to anyone except a prosecutor with a court order, a defense attorney with a court order, a probation department with a court order, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the Indiana Supreme Court, the Board of Law Examiners, and the bureau of motor vehicle.
- Most people who call with questions about the expungement process are calling because they are applying for a new job, applying for college, or would like to volunteer at their child’s school. Generally, these entities will run a professional background check on the individual and be able to see any criminal history that may be tied to them. If you have an old misdemeanor or D felony conviction, you have the ability to avoid this potentially awkward conversation by getting your record expunged. An expungement in this case will completely seal the record from public view to the point where the case will become undetectable on a background check. If you have a situation where you were arrested but not convicted either via a diversion, conditional discharge, or a dismissal, you can also get your record expunged and completely sealed from public view as described above.
However, if you have a Class A, B, or C felony, there is a different outcome. Someone who has one of these higher convictions does not get their record hidden from the public view, but rather marked expunged. What this means is that when someone searches your criminal history, the record is still viewable to the public but has the words “record expunged” marked on the file.
How many expungements can I file?
- With limited exceptions, a person is only allowed one attempt at getting their criminal conviction record cleaned and expunged. This is why it is so important to make sure when you are filing an expungement, you know everything that needs to go into the expungement petition and proposed order. Additionally, because you are only able to file one expungement in your lifetime, it is highly advisable to obtain a background check to make sure you are including every possible case that may be tied to you. This can be done by going to the Indiana State Police website and running a “Limited Criminal History Search” which can be found here. A filing fee is required by the county clerk for each conviction expungement petition that is filed with that county. This fee general costs between $160 and $180.
- One exception to the one expungement in a lifetime rule has to do with arrest expungements. An individual may file as many arrest expungements as needed as long as there is not a conviction. There is no filing fee for an arrest expungement.
How long do I need to wait in order to file my expungement?
- If you just have an arrest record to expunge, you only have to wait 1 year from the date of arrest until you can file for an arrest expungement. For a misdemeanor or D Felony conviction expungement, you must wait 5 years from the date of conviction. For an A, B, or C level felony, you must wait the later of 8 years from the date of the conviction or 3 years from the completion of the sentence imposed.
Other than the sealing my records, what else does an expungement do?
- The expungement law specifically states “the civil rights of a person whose conviction has be expunged shall be restored, including the right to vote, to hold public office, and to serve as a juror.” A question often asked is whether an expungement will allow any individual to own or possess a firearm. The answer to this question hinges on what particular conviction the individual has but often times an expungement can restore an individual’s Second Amendment Rights. An additional benefit of an expungement is the ability to answer no on most applications that asks have you ever been convicted of a crime.
How long does filing an expungement take?
- Finally, most people want to know how long it will take for the record to be removed from all public record searches. It depends on the amount of cases being expunged, the county in which the expungement is being filed, and how busy the particular court the expungement being filed in is. Generally, it takes about six months from the date of filing to have a person’s criminal history completely sealed from all searchable records.
Schedule Your Free Consultation (317) 870-0019
If you have any questions regarding and Indiana expungement, the experienced Indianapolis expungment attorneys at Banks & Brower can help. Call us today to get a free case evaluation. You can also fill out an online form and give us more details on your case.
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