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What is an expungement?

On Behalf of | Jul 17, 2021 | Blog, Criminal Defense |

A criminal record may make it difficult for you to advance your professional life. However, in some instances, this does not have to remain the case forever.

Indiana offers the opportunity for expungement or sealing the details of your criminal record from public view. While it does not always mean the record disappears, it does keep the details from public view. If your circumstance allows for it, expungement may open a whole host of opportunities for you to explore.

Crimes eligible for expungement

Not all criminal records qualify for expungement. Those that do usually fall under the misdemeanor category. Even if your charge began as a felony, if reduced to a misdemeanor, it may qualify. Under Indiana law, you may also petition to seal arrest records if no conviction occurred. You may want to consider this since arrests show up on background checks regardless of the outcome. Some crimes may never qualify for expungement. Those include multiple convictions involving deadly weapons and crimes that resulted in death, whether intentional or not.

The time for expungement

Expungement guidelines differ depending on the type of record you want sealed. However, all involve filing a petition within the appropriate county court. You must wait a predetermined time before beginning the process, but you must submit all required paperwork within one year once you start. Expungement of misdemeanor crimes may begin five years after your conviction. If you want to try and get a felony record expunged, you must wait 10 years from your conviction. Sealing arrest or juvenile records may start one year after the date of the incident.

Since you can only attempt to have your record expunged one time, you want to ensure you follow all appropriate procedures. Doing so may free you to explore areas of life you thought were off-limits due to your record.