In the last year, I have been asked several times about receiving an expungement of your criminal record under Indiana law. It is true that our State does have a criminal expungement statute that allows you to “seal” certain criminal convictions, if you meet the requirements. Indiana Code 35-38-9 sets out the various types of criminal offenses that can be expunged and what the requirements are to have your record expunged. This blog article is going to focus on arrest that did not result in a conviction and criminal misdemeanor convictions.
First, what does expungement mean?
Under Indiana Code 35-38-9 criminal records are not destroyed. Essentially, if your petition is successful, then your record will be sealed. This essentially means that courts and law enforcement agencies can still access the records for specific purposes, but in general most job background and related searches should not reveal a criminal past.
Do you qualify for an expungement?
Again, this particular post is focused on the expungement of criminal misdemeanor convictions or Class D (or Level 6) Felonies where the sentence was ultimately treated as a misdemeanor. That being said, the general rule is that you have to wait five (5) years from the date of your conviction to be able to proceed with your petition requesting an expungement. However, the county prosecutor can agree to an earlier time frame, but they are not required to. All misdemeanor convictions qualify for an expungement as well as all Class D Felonies treated as a misdemeanor will qualify.
One important thing to remember is that you get to file one (1) expungement during your lifetime. So if you have multiple matters, it is best to wait until all convictions are within the requisite time frame before filing the petition.