Criminal convictions are consequences that do not just have the immediate consequences of jail time and fines. Instead, they follow you to every interview and application for jobs, educational opportunities, etc. As a result, if you have a criminal record, you may wonder if you can get it expunged or sealed in Indiana.
Expungement vs. sealing
Expungement means that your Indiana record is erased. This means that all physical and public records are deleted and destroyed. Sealing means that your record is hidden from public view but still exists and can be accessed by some entities. Criminal records contained within an individual’s criminal history file may be expunged or sealed.
Not all criminal records are eligible for expungement or sealing. There are different types of expungements and sealing, depending on the nature and outcome of your case. However, if you were convicted of a sex offense, an offense against a person, an official misconduct offense or a homicide offense, you cannot file an expungement petition.
If you were arrested, but not convicted of a crime, you can petition to expunge your arrest record. However, you must wait one year from the date of arrest or the date the charges were dismissed, whichever is later.
If you were convicted of a misdemeanor or a Class D felony (or Level 6 felony) that did not result in injury to another person, you can petition to expunge your conviction record. You must wait five years after you are found guilty or when you are released from jail, whichever is later.
If you were convicted of a Class A, B or C felony (or Level 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 felony) that did not result in serious bodily injury to another person, you can petition to expunge your conviction record. After you serve your time, you must wait eight years.
If the felony included serious bodily harm, you could still qualify for expungement. The waiting period is 10 years from the date of conviction or the completion of your sentence, whichever is later.
Expunging or sealing your criminal record can have many benefits, such as improving your employment and housing opportunities, restoring your civil rights and giving you a fresh start. However, you may still have to disclose your record for certain purposes, such as applying for a professional license, joining the military or obtaining a firearm permit.