Having an arrest record or a misdemeanor or felony conviction can present difficulties in obtaining employment, housing and financing and can raise other impediments to living a productive life. Indiana maintains a record of all arrests and convictions. Computer-assisted research tools allow employers, landlords and lenders to conduct extensive background checks, which influence decisions made about applicants for benefits. If you have your criminal record expunged or sealed, only law enforcement can access this information. You can and should explore your eligibility for this relief.
Indiana’s sealing and expungement statute allows individuals a one-time opportunity to expunge or seal their records in certain circumstances. A strong feature of the law is that it prohibits employers and others from discriminating against people who have had their criminal records sealed or expunged. The law requires that they be treated as though they had never been arrested or convicted.
Eligibility for expungement or sealing depends on the conviction and on certain related factors. In addition, there are strict requirements concerning the procedures as well as the timing of a petition.
When a person was arrested for a crime but was never charged or acquitted after trial, a record of arrest still exists. In this situation, most individuals will qualify to have that record sealed.
A person who has been convicted of a crime may petition to have the conviction expunged and the arrest record sealed. For misdemeanor convictions, individuals must meet the following initial requirements:
There are additional requirements for felony convictions to be expunged. If the conviction is for a Class D or Level 6 felony, the waiting period is eight years, without any other convictions during that time. Additionally, the felony must not have caused great bodily injury to another person.
Conviction of more serious felonies results in additional criteria for the petitioner to satisfy. In addition to the requirements above, the waiting period is eight to 10 years since the conviction or three to five years since release from prison, whichever is greater. Moreover, there is no absolute right to have these records expunged. The judge has wide discretion in determining when to grant an expungement.
The best way to determine whether you may qualify to have your criminal record expunged is by consulting with an experienced Indiana record sealing attorney. We will review your record, explain your options and ensure you comply with all the legal requirements.
The Law Office of Weiss, Schmidgall and Hires, PC in Merrillville represents Indiana residents seeking to expunge their criminal records. Contact us online or call us at 219-293-8988 to set up a free initial consultation.
For more than ten years, Christopher Schmidgall has protected the lives of people who find themselves caught in the tangled machinery of criminal prosecution. With the skill and determination he’s demonstrated throughout his life, Chris offers them the help they need to get their lives back in order. Not long after graduating from Valparaiso...
Following a remarkably accomplished academic career, Amanda Hires applied her record of success to servicing good people facing difficult situations. She served as a volunteer at the New Orleans Public Defender’s Office and worked intensively with prosecutors and defense attorneys while under the guidance of Judge Sheila Moss at the Lake County Superior Court...
Jessica McPheeters is an associate attorney with her primary focus being in Estate Planning, Probate, Business Formation and Planning, and other general practice matters. Jessica received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics from Ball State University in 2014. Jessica then received her Juris Doctor from Valparaiso University School of Law...