Being convicted on misdemeanor charges is difficult enough, but the repercussions of a criminal record can follow you for years. Perhaps you made a mistake or had a lapse in judgment that resulted in a misdemeanor charge. Perhaps you’ve not been in trouble since. Yet that record can still come back to bite you when you apply for a job, a professional license, etc. Should that misdemeanor continue to wreak havoc on your future? Is it possible to get misdemeanor convictions expunged in Indiana?
The short answer is YES—Indiana misdemeanors can be expunged if specific conditions are met. Let’s take a look at the law and provide some important points to keep in mind when considering filing a petition to have your misdemeanor conviction expunged.
What Is Expungement in Indiana?
First, let’s clarify an important point. True expungement means your criminal record is destroyed as if it never existed. That doesn’t actually happen under Indiana law. In this state, expungement means sealed—meaning your criminal record is restricted from public view and criminal background checks, but it remains on file in law enforcement databases. The result is basically the same whether the record is expunged or sealed. To anyone running a background check, your record comes up clean, and you’re legally allowed to say you were never convicted of a crime.
Who Is Eligible for Misdemeanor Expungement?
Under the terms of Indiana’s Second Chance Law passed in 2013, any misdemeanor conviction is automatically eligible for expungement once certain conditions are met—including Class D or Class 6 felony offenses that were reduced to misdemeanors. These are the conditions you must meet to be eligible for misdemeanor expungement:
It must have been at least five years since your conviction;
You must have had no other criminal convictions within the last five years;
All fines, costs, restitution, and fees associated with your conviction must be paid in full; and
You must have no criminal charges pending at the time of your petition.
If you meet these conditions, you can petition the court for expungement of your record. Once they verify the conditions are true, your record will be sealed.
Why You Should Have an Attorney Help You Petition for Expungement
Anyone convicted of a crime in Indiana has the right to petition the court for expungement once they meet the conditions. However, it’s easy to make mistakes when filing paperwork and figuring out exactly what you’ll need to get your conviction expunged. In addition, Indiana law only permits you to have your record expunged ONCE in your lifetime, so you really only have one chance to get it done right. To avoid costly errors, it’s best to get help from an experienced expungement attorney when petitioning the Indiana courts.
At Razumich & Associates, we have plenty of experience with successful expungement petitions, and we’ll work with you to make sure the paperwork is processed right the first time. Contact us today to learn more about expungement and discuss your eligibility.