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Expungement of Criminal Records in Indiana: New Law Limits Access to Criminal History

NOTE: This law has been repealed and replaced by Indiana's new Expungement Law effective July 1, 2013

Indiana's expungement statute is very limited and primarily only provides relief to persons who were arrested, but not charged with a crime. However, a new Indiana law took effect on July 1, 2011 which allows a person to petition a court to restrict access to a person’s criminal record. The new law falls short of expungement ( i.e. police will still be able to see the records). However, if a court orders a person's records to be restricted under this law, the person may legally state on an application for employment that the person has not been arrested for or convicted of the felony or misdemeanor recorded in the restricted records.

The new law applies to people who were charged with crimes, but were not convicted due to charges being dismissed, being acquitted at trial, or who were convicted of a crime and the conviction was subsequently vacated. For persons convicted of crimes, criminal records can also be sealed in misdemeanor or Class D felony cases that did not result in injury to a person. A convicted person becomes eligible eight (8) years after they have completed all obligations of their sentence. Many states have expungement statutes that allow for removal of convictions. A person not convicted of a criminal charge becomes eligible in 30 days or one year, depending on whether there was a dismissal, acquittal, or vacation of a conviction.

Indiana's limited expungement statute has placed those convicted of crimes at a disadvantage in the job market. This new law allowing criminal convictions to be sealed will dramatically help people in search of jobs, promotions, and community positions who have been disadvantaged by misdemeanor or felony crimes that could not be expunged.

Many people convicted of crimes in Indiana have sought expungement of their criminal records, only to find out they were not eligible for expungement. If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or Class D felony in Indiana, and eight (8) years have passed since you completed your sentence, or you have been acquitted at trial or had criminal charges dismissed, you may be eligible to restrict access to your criminal history. Contact attorney Brett Gibson for a free initial consultation or phone conference at 765-742-8440 or by e-mail at Brett Gibson is a Lafayette, Indiana attorney with a statewide practice. Gibson Law Office is located at 133 N 4th Street, Suite 73, Lafayette, IN 47901.