Having criminal charges or convictions on your record can be a detriment to several areas of your life. It can make finding a job, sustaining relationships, seeing your children, carrying firearms, and numerous other aspects of life far more difficult.
Removing those marks on your record could grant you the freedom to pursue opportunities with peace of mind. The process of doing so, however, is challenging and truly depends on whether the charges have been dropped or what you have been convicted of.
Expunging Criminal Charges
When you are charged with a crime but not convicted (or if the conviction is turned over on appeal), Indiana law provides a pathway to having those charges removed from your record. You can file for an expungement one year after the charges are filed or you are arrested (whichever is later). The only way to get around this timeline is if the prosecuting attorney in your case agrees to an earlier date.
At that point, you or your attorney must file a Petition for Expungement of Records in the court where the charges were filed or in the county where the arrest occurred. Your application must include:
- Date of the arrest or charges
- Law enforcement agency of the arresting officer
- Other known identifying information such as the name of the arresting officer, case number, a list of each criminal charge
- Your date of birth
- Your social security number
From there, the court will serve the petition to the prosecuting attorney before rendering a decision. If granted, all details of the arrest or charges will be removed from all state or local databases aside from internal records with the law enforcement agency (but this information cannot be accessible to the public).
Expunging Misdemeanor Convictions
It is possible to expunge misdemeanor convictions (including Class D or Level 6 felony charges that were reduced to misdemeanor charges) in Indiana. However, if you have been convicted of two felony charges involving the unlawful use of a deadly weapon you will not be eligible to have any charges (misdemeanor or higher) expunged.
In this case, you must wait five years from the date of the conviction unless the prosecuting attorney approves an earlier date. You or your attorney will file a petition in the proper court in the county where the conviction took place. The court will approve the petition only if each of the following circumstances is met:
- You have no charges pending against you
- You have not been convicted of a crime within the previous five years
- You have paid all fines, fees, and court costs, and have served the sentence handed to you
Expunging Minor Class D and Level 6 Felonies
This applies to individuals who have been convicted of a Class D felony before July 1, 2014, or a Level 6 felony after June 30, 2014. Certain individuals do not qualify for expungement of these types, including:
- Elected officials convicted while in office
- An individual convicted of perjury or official misconduct
- A sex or violent offender
- Anyone convicted of a felony that resulted in bodily harm
If you qualify, you can request an expungement after eight years unless the prosecuting attorney agrees to an earlier date. The same information must be provided to the court in the county of conviction as above, and the same circumstances must be met.
Expunging Serious Felony Convictions
These cases are far more difficult to complete. The same individuals as above are ineligible to have serious felony convictions overturned and the same information must be provided to the court in the county where the conviction was handed down.
There are two key differences, however. You can only file ten years after conviction or five years after the completion of your sentence (whichever is later). On top of that, the prosecutor in your case must provide written consent to the expungement of your records.
Each of these cases requires the careful attention of an attorney. At Blankenship Law, we are proud to help the people of Indiana clear their records so they can move forward with integrity and peace of mind. Contact our offices if you believe you are eligible to get your criminal records expunged.