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Kevin O'Flaherty

Navigating Indiana expungement law can be straightforward with the right information. If you’re questioning whether your conviction is eligible for expungement, the costs involved, and how to begin, you’ll find clear answers here. We’ll walk you through the key steps to take and important details to consider, helping you start the expungement process with confidence.

Indiana Expungement FAQ

Everyone makes mistakes. Unfortunately, some mistakes result in criminal convictions that can haunt someone for the rest of their life. However, in Indiana and many other states, after a specific amount of time and with certain crimes, criminal convictions can be expunged from your record, or your record can be sealed. The following article will answer the most frequently asked questions regarding expunging and sealing your record. However, hiring an experienced Indiana expungement attorney to guide you through the expungement process will ensure that you can move forward with your life with a clean slate.  

What Does Expunge Mean?

In the legal context, expunge means removing an arrest or conviction from an individual’s personal public criminal record. If an employer, a creditor, or any other entity looks at an individual’s criminal background, the arrest or conviction will not appear in their search.    In Indiana, expungement is more than just erasing a criminal record; it’s giving individuals a second chance. The expungement law permits individuals to have their criminal records sealed, making them inaccessible to the public once in their lifetime, covering most misdemeanors and felonies, with specific exceptions. This means that the individual’s criminal history is, for most intents and purposes, wiped clean.

How Do You Have Your Juvenile Record Permanently Destroyed  Indiana?

All juvenile records can be destroyed as long as the judge allows them to be destroyed, including cases where an individual was sentenced to probation or jail time. To request that your records be permanently destroyed, you must go to the court clerk’s office where the charges were filed and ask for an expungement form. After you complete the form, you must return the form to the court clerk. This process does not cost any money.  

Next, the judge will review the form. Often, the judge will request a hearing. If the judge requires a hearing, you will receive a letter in the mail with all of the hearing information. Your request will likely be denied if you do not attend the hearing. There are several factors that a judge considers when determining whether to allow the destruction of juvenile records: type of criminal charges, the facts of each case, the progress that has been made since your last appearance in court, any criminal charges since the juvenile charges and why you want your records destroyed.  

How Do You Seal a Juvenile Record in Indiana?  

A juvenile record can be sealed if you did not end up with an adjudication after an arrest or juvenile court case. The qualifying instances include:

  • An arrest where you did not have to appear in court.
  • A dismissed case.
  • A case where you were found not guilty.

An individual must wait at least one year before requesting a record to be sealed.  

To request that your records are sealed, you must go to the court clerk’s office where the charges were filed and ask for an expungement form. After you complete the form, you must return the form to the court clerk. This process does not cost any money. A judge will then review your petition and determine whether your petition meets all of the requirements.  

To ensure that your petition meets all requirements, it is best to consult with an Indiana expungement attorney.  

How to Expunge Your Record in Indiana?  

To expunge a criminal record in Indiana, one must first file a petition with the court or request that the judge review their circumstances. From there, the judge will either grant the expungement based on the expungement or request a hearing. If a hearing is requested, an individual must produce witnesses and documents supporting their petition and the necessity of an expungement.  

Can a Misdemeanor Be Expunged?  

Yes. A misdemeanor can be expunged; this includes felony charges that have been reduced to misdemeanors as part of a plea agreement. An individual must wait five years from the conviction date before requesting their record to be expunged. To be eligible for expungement, an individual must not have additional criminal charges pending, must have paid all fines and fees, and must not have committed another crime during the five-year time period.  

It is best to have an Indiana expungement attorney by your side to ensure that you meet all the qualifications for an expungement.    

Can a Felony Be Expunged?  

Yes. Some felonies can be expunged. However, some crimes are ineligible for expungement, including sex crimes, violent crimes, crimes resulting in bodily injury to another person, homicide, and human trafficking.  

For most felonies, an individual must wait eight years after conviction to request an expungement. However, for some violent felonies, with the consent of the prosecutor, the individual must wait ten years before requesting a conviction to be expunged. For a felony to be expunged, the individual must not have additional criminal charges pending, must have paid all fines and fees, and must not have committed another crime during the eight-year or ten-year period.  

It is best to have an Indiana expungement attorney by your side to ensure that you meet all the qualifications for an expungement.    

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Can a DUI be Expunged?

Yes. A DUI can be expunged in Indiana. The length of time necessary before requesting an expungement is based on whether the DUI conviction is a misdemeanor or a felony. If the DUI conviction is a misdemeanor, the individual must wait five years before requesting an expungement. If the DUI conviction is a felony, the individual must wait eight years or ten years, depending on the facts of the case. Additionally, the individual must meet all other qualifications required for other misdemeanor and felony expungements.  

Exclusions from Expungement Eligibility

While Indiana’s expungement law is quite inclusive, there are specific offenses that are deemed non-expungeable. In fact, all misdemeanor convictions are eligible for expungement but there are specific offenses that are deemed non-expungeable by Indiana law.

Moreover, individuals who have been convicted of two or more violent and serious felonies, or those who have been convicted of a felony resulting in another person’s death, are not eligible for expungement in Indiana. This means that a person convicted under these circumstances cannot have their criminal record cleared.

How Many Times Can I Request That My Record is Expunged?  

An individual can only request that their record is expunged one time. If your first expungement request is denied, you must wait three years until you can re-request an expungement of your record. If there are multiple charges in multiple counties, a petition for expungement must be filed for each charge within one year. Otherwise, those charges cannot be expunged.  

Can Immigration See Your Expunged Records?  

No matter the situation, expungement is a good idea and will not negatively affect your immigration status. However, if during the immigration process you are asked if you have ever been arrested or convicted of a crime, you will have to answer “yes.” While an expungement erases the crime from the public record, it does not erase the fact that you were arrested or convicted of a criminal charge.  

Who Can See Expunged Records?  

Expungement allows for certain criminal records to be sealed from public access. However, law enforcement and prosecutors can still view an expunged record. A prosecutor can petition the court to unseal the record if you are arrested on a new criminal charge.  

Financial Considerations in the Expungement Process

Financial Considerations in the Expungement Process

One must also consider the financial aspects of the expungement process. The typical cost of expunging a criminal record in Indiana includes:

  • A standard filing fee of $157.00 for convictions
  • No charge for expungement petitions with no conviction
  • A filing fee of $157 for the entire petition per county
  • An extra $157 for each additional county where cases exist

The total cost can range from $250 to $1,000 or more, depending on the county and the type of cases (misdemeanor or felony).

Moreover, the cost of expungement may be impacted by the number of convictions a person has, as additional fees may be applicable for multiple cases in different counties.

Understanding Court Costs and Filing Fees

Court costs and filing fees for expungement in Indiana can vary. For instance, each county imposes a separate filing fee, typically around $162.10 for petitions related to convictions.

However, if the petitioner meets the criteria of being indigent, the court has the authority to lower or exempt the filing fee for expungement.

The Role of an Expungement Attorney in Managing Costs

An expungement attorney can significantly influence the expungement process, especially when it comes to managing costs. The cost of retaining the services of an expungement attorney in Indiana can vary, typically starting from $160 to $180 for a general expungement. However, for more intricate cases or those spanning multiple counties, the fees may range from $250 to $1,000 or higher.

An expungement attorney aids in cost management by:

  • Offering guidance on eligibility
  • Preparing essential documents
  • Representing the petitioner in court, often in front of a prosecuting attorney
  • Potentially negotiating court and filing fees

This helps lower the overall expenses of the expungement process.

How Long Does It Take to Expunge a Record?  

A prosecutor has thirty days to respond to an individual’s request for an expungement. However, if a prosecutor requests an extension, that will often be granted. Generally, the entire expungement process takes a few months. The length of time varies based on whether or not the prosecutor objects to the expungement, if a hearing is required and if the court wants to hear from various witnesses.  

Restoring Rights through Expungement

In Indiana, expungement can lead to the restoration of certain rights, thus enabling individuals to regain mastery over their lives. However, the restoration of rights is not universal and depends on the type of conviction. For instance, the expungement typically results in the restoration of gun rights for individuals with prior felony convictions.

However, the restoration of firearm rights is not possible through expungement for individuals convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony involving domestic violence, including those classified as a violent offender.

The Impact of Expungement on Firearm Rights

Firearm rights restoration through expungement is a complex process. It depends on the type of conviction and may require additional steps, such as filing a separate petition.

Yet, it’s crucial to remember that the expungement of specific crimes, such as domestic violence convictions, may not automatically lead to the restoration of firearm rights.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the new expungement law in Indiana?

The new expungement law in Indiana allows individuals to seek the removal of arrests or charges that did not result in a conviction from public records, which was not possible before 2022.

What Cannot be expunged in Indiana?

Certain offenses, such as murder, cannot be expunged in Indiana. It is important to check the specific laws and guidelines for expungement in the state.

How long do you have to wait for expungement in Indiana?

You have to wait five years from the date of your conviction to file for expungement of a misdemeanor and eight years for felonies in Indiana.

How much does it cost to get your record expunged in Indiana?

The cost of expunging a criminal record in Indiana ranges from $250 to $1,000 or more, covering filing petition papers, obtaining court orders, and other necessary paperwork fees.

How can an expungement attorney assist in cost management during the expungement process?

An expungement attorney can assist in cost management by offering guidance on eligibility, preparing essential documents, and potentially negotiating court and filing fees, ultimately reducing the overall expenses of the expungement process.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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