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Sealing Criminal Records
Legal Alert: A New Indiana Expungement Law Became Effective March 26, 2014

Expunging and Sealing Criminal Records in Indiana


Expunging and sealing criminal records has been expanded by a new Indiana law. Effective July 1, 2013, dismissed cases can be sealed and misdemeanor, Class D felony, and major felony convictions can be expunged. Research indicates that 69% of all employers conduct criminal background checks on every new hire. A criminal record can also affect a person’s right to vote, hold public office, or own or possess a firearm.

In July 2011, Indiana passed a law that permitted a person to restrict access to their criminal history. This law prohibited disclosure of sealed records on criminal background checks by employers. Gibson Law Office successfully represented clients throughout Indiana in sealing records under the restricted access law, including in Allen County, Delaware County, Marion County, Monroe County, Tippecanoe County, and White County. The new Indiana expungement law now expands the eligibility of persons seeking to clear their criminal history to those with major felony convictions.  


New Indiana Law Expands Expungement Effective July 1, 2013

Effective July 1, 2013, a new Indiana law expands eligibility for expunging criminal conviction records and sealing arrest records.  Convictions for major felony, Class D felony, and misdemeanor offenses can be expunged. Arrest records for cases where a person was acquitted at trial or when charges were dismissed, including following a diversion agreement, can be sealed.

A person can petition to expunge multiple criminal records under the new statute. Convictions that are expunged are ordered sealed by the State Police central repository and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (“BMV”), and will no longer be disclosed on employer background checks. The civil rights of a person whose conviction is expunged under the new law are restored, including the right to own or possess a firearm.  It is unlawful discrimination for a person or business to refuse to employ an applicant based on a criminal conviction that has been expunged. It is also illegal for employers to ask a person if they have had any criminal records expunged.


Sealing Records Following Acquittal or Dismissal

A person who was arrested, but not convicted, may file a petition to seal the records relating to the arrest one year after the date of the arrest. To be eligible, the person must not have any pending criminal charges. Once a petition to seal arrest records is granted, the court files, BMV records, and background check records of the state police central repository records will be sealed.  

Criminal records of cases that were dismissed following a diversion agreement are among those that can be sealed. Persons charged with a first offense for possession of marijuana, underage drinking, and shoplifting are often eligible for a diversion agreement. Sealing these records can be beneficial for a person seeking employment.


Expunging Misdemeanor Convictions

A person who was convicted of a misdemeanor, including a Class D felony that has been reduced to a Class A misdemeanor, may petition to have their conviction records expunged five (5) years after the date of the conviction. To be eligible, the person must not have any pending charges, must not have a suspended driver’s license, must have successfully completed their sentence, and must not have been convicted of any crime for the previous five (5) years.

Expunging Class D Felony Convictions

A person who was convicted of a Class D felony, which did not result in serious bodily injury to another person, may petition to have their conviction records expunged eight (8) years after the date of the conviction. To be eligible, the person must not have any pending charges, must not have a suspended driver’s license, must have successfully completed their sentence, and must not have been convicted of any crime for the previous eight (8) years. A person who was convicted of a sex offense is not eligible for expungement of their conviction records.

Expunging Major Felony Convictions

A person who was convicted of a Class A felony, Class B felony, or Class C felony, which did not result in serious bodily injury to another person, may petition a court to have their conviction records expunged eight (8) years after the completion of the person’s sentence. To be eligible, the person must have successfully completed their sentence, not have any charges pending, and not have been convicted of any crime for the previous eight (8) years. Expunging a major felony conviction requires a hearing at which the court has discretion regarding whether to grant the petition.

Expunging Felony Convictions Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury

A person convicted of a felony that resulted in serious bodily injury to another person may file a petition to expunge their conviction records ten (10) years after completing their sentence. To be eligible, the person must have the written consent of the prosecuting attorney prior to filing the petition. A sex offender is not eligible to petition for expungement of their criminal records.
 

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Information

Lafayette
Gibson Law Office
133 N. 4th St.
Suite 73
Lafayette, IN 47901

Phone: (765) 742-8440

Fort Wayne
Gibson Law Office
701 S. Clinton St.
Suite 300
Fort Wayne, IN 46802

Phone: (260) 739-5425
Email: info@bbgibson.com
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