New Second Chance Law in Indiana is helping thousands of people!
If a mistake from your past has left you with a criminal record, chances are you understand how that mistake can hang over your head, and make your life more difficult. Once you’ve served out your sentence and paid your dues, mistakes from your past shouldn’t prevent you from being treated like everybody else, and taking advantage of opportunities you’d otherwise be entitled to.
Until recently, if you’d ever been convicted or even merely arrested in Indiana, fair or not, that mistake would follow you around for the rest of life. Thankfully, Indiana passed its Second Chance Law, which went into effect in July of 2013. Thanks to Indiana’s Second Chance Law, many misdemeanor and felony convictions and arrests are now eligible for expungement, allowing countless Indianans to put their mistakes behind them and move forward in life.
If you expunge a felony, misdemeanor or just your arrest records in Indiana, the many benefits can be very exciting, allowing you a fresh start in life that can help you obtain a better job, access to education and student loans, professional licenses and business opportunities, and the peace of mind that the general public will no longer be able to easily access embarrassing mistakes from your past. While Indiana’s expungement laws can be complex at times, they do permit valuable relief to many with criminal records in Indiana.
The following is a brief summary of Indiana’s current expungement laws, intended to provide you with general information on whether you qualify for an Indiana expungement:
- Arrests without Conviction: You may file for an expungement one year after the date of arrest (not the date of dismissal or acquittal).
- Misdemeanor Convictions / Class D Felonies Reduced to Misdemeanors: If you have a misdemeanor on your Indiana record, including Class D felonies which have been reduced to a misdemeanor, you should qualify for expungement if you have satisfied the terms of your sentence and five years have passed since the date of conviction.
- Class D Felony Convictions without Bodily Injury: Generally, Indiana Class D Felonies which did not involve bodily injury qualify for expungement if you have satisfied the terms of your sentence and eight years have passed since the date of conviction.
- Class A, B, or C Felony Convictions without Bodily Injury: Indiana felonies which are more serious than a Class D Felony, but did not result in bodily injury, generally qualify for expungement if eight years have elapsed since the date of conviction, or three years have elapsed since completion of the terms of your sentence, whichever period is longer. In addition, there are different standards of proof that apply to more serious felonies, which can make expunging these types of offenses more difficult.
- Felony Convictions Causing Bodily Injury: Indiana felony convictions causing bodily injury are much more difficult to expunge. Ten years must have elapsed since the date of conviction, and you must have completed the terms of your conviction at least five years ago. In addition to these requirements, the prosecutor must provide consent to the expungement, which depending on the circumstances, can be difficult to obtain.
In addition to the above requirements, except in the cases of arrests not resulting in convictions, you may only obtain one expungement in your lifetime, however, this rule can be somewhat complex, and actually permits more than one Indiana conviction to be expunged. Specifically, petitions for Expungement filed within the same 365 day period count as one Petition for Expungement for purposes of this rule. However, these rules can be somewhat complicated, and expungement of multiple convictions should not be attempted without the guidance of an experienced attorney.
Hiring an Attorney vs. Doing It Yourself
After reading through the above, you may be thinking that you qualify under Indiana law, and can just do it yourself. While this may be true for certain people in certain circumstances, it’s often much more difficult than you may think. In addition, if you fail to successfully obtain an expungement, whether it’s due to a technical mistake or just a simple error, Indiana law will typically require you to wait three years before filing for an expungement again.
The eligibility rules and process for obtaining an expungement can be confusing and challenging, however, the cost of having experienced attorneys help you in evaluating your options and helping you move forward have never been more affordable.