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Expungement: Getting A Fresh Start After A Criminal Conviction

Need a second chance at a clean slate? Is your criminal record keeping you from getting the job you want? Prevented from gaining the certification or license needed for that job? Want that poor college decision off of your record? Expungement may be your answer.

As of July 1, 2015, the Indiana expungement law allows for certain criminal records to be sealed from public access if all the statutory qualifications are met. Expungements may vary from county to county and are very time-sensitive. Be wise with your second chance, and contact an attorney prior to filing.

Below is a list of frequently asked questions to assist you. However, you will need to consult with an attorney to get information specific to you and your expungement opportunity. Call VanLeeuwen Law, LLC, today at 765-999-9142 to set up a consultation. We are with you every step of the way!

Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Expungement

What cases qualify for expungement in Indiana?

There are specific requirements that must be met to apply for expungement. All misdemeanors and most felonies may apply. Certain high-level crimes such as homicide, crimes with serious bodily injury and sex-related offenses require the consent of the prosecutor or may not qualify at all. An attorney will be able to inform you which process you will need to go through and if you currently qualify.

Can I expunge a dismissed case or an arrest made with no conviction?

They can be expunged! Your arrest record is a public record and is still searchable by everyone. Employers may still be able to see your arrests or dismissed cases depending on the type of background check they perform. Qualifications of arrest records or dismissed cases require at least one year to have passed since the date of arrest and no current pending criminal matters. These types of expungements do not fall under the “once in a lifetime” expungement opportunity and can be filed as soon as you meet the qualifications for each dismissed or nonconviction arrest.

When can I get an expungement in Indiana?

Short answer: Misdemeanor expungements are available after at least five years from the date of conviction. Most felonies and expungements require at least eight years from the date of conviction. Some felonies such as sex crimes and serious felonies with a bodily injury cannot be expunged or may require consent from the prosecuting authority after 10 years. An attorney will be able to inform you which process you will need to go through and if you currently qualify.

Can I only file one expungement in a lifetime?

Short answer: YES. Timing is everything when it comes to expungements. IMPORTANT! You only get one chance to expunge your record and, if denied, you cannot refile the cases that were previously submitted for a minimum of three years. If you have records across several counties, you must file all petitions for expungement within one year or you will not be able to expunge those records. Please consult an attorney prior to filing. A second chance only happens once!

What records will be sealed?

  • Court’s files
  • Files of the Department of Corrections
  • Files of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles
  • State Police Central Repository
  • Files of any other person who provided treatment to the person under court order, such as police agencies, jails or prisons

Who can access expunged records in Indiana?

An expungement will shield the records from public access. However, law enforcement and prosecutors can still see that a record was expunged. A prosecuting attorney in a criminal proceeding may petition the court to unseal the record, which may impact your current case.

How long will an Indiana expungement take?

Short answer: The length of an expungement case is one to six months. Certain convictions require the prosecutor to notify victims or object to the expungement. Some expungements will require a hearing with the evidence presented, others will not require a hearing. Your involvement also can play a role in the duration of the case. Please be prepared with all of your listed convictions or arrests and the dates they happened. If you fill out the expungement petition incorrectly you will not be able to obtain an expungement, but your year filing opportunity begins. Please consult an attorney prior to filing.

Where can I look up my convictions? 

  1. The court records
  2. Mycase.in.gov
  3. doxpop.com
  4. Mybmv.org
  5. Indiana State Police

How long will it take for records to be sealed?

If your expungement is granted by the judge, it can take around one to two months for agencies to update their records upon receiving the signed order. The order should be mailed out to all of the agencies immediately after receiving a granted order. The files are not destroyed; rather, they are sealed and removed from public access.

How much does expungement cost?

A typical expungement will cost you court filing fees, mailing fees and attorney’s fees. Filing fees are about $186 depending on the county, mailing costs are about $25 or more, and attorney’s fees are $750 or more. For your case, please consult with an attorney as fees and costs vary based on county and the number and type of cases you want to expunge.

Want More Information About Your Options? Contact Us Today.

There is no substitute for case-specific advice and analysis. To discuss your expungement options with an experienced criminal defense attorney, contact VanLeeuwen Law, LLC, in Martinsville by calling 765-999-9142. You can also send us an email.