An Indiana Expungement Lawyer Answers The Most Frequently Asked Questions About the Indiana Expungement Law in 2019.

** Updated for 2019 ***

  1. What is the Indiana Expungement Law?

When an adult is convicted of a crime, the stigma of a conviction can follow them through life creating many roadblocks.  In addition to the stigma of being labeled an “ex-con” or felon, finding housing or employment can be very difficult as most landlords and employers these days conduct background checks.   Even those convicted of simple misdemeanors in their youth or in college are being denied employment and housing because of past convictions.  The research does support the fact that background checks are becoming more frequent.  In fact, according to one study96% of employers conduct at least one type of background screening.

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The Indiana Expungement Statue states that a person whose record is expunged shall be treated as if the person had never been convicted of the offense.  So after your successful expungement, on any employment application, you can legally answer that you have never been convicted of a crime.

In 2013, the Indiana Legislature offered some relief to those convicted of certain misdemeanors and felonies, and passed the Indiana Expungement Law.

“One important part of the Indiana Expungement law is that it prohibits the unlawful discrimination by employers against those who have had their criminal records expunged.”

The Indiana Expungement Statue, IC-35-38-9-10(b). states:

(b) It is unlawful discrimination for any person to:
(1) suspend;
(2) expel;
(3) refuse to employ;
(4) refuse to admit;
(5) refuse to grant or renew a license, permit, or certificate necessary to engage in any activity, occupation, or profession;  or
(6) otherwise discriminate against;
any person because of a conviction or arrest record expunged or sealed under this chapter.

The Indiana General Assembly wanted to give individuals who have been convicted of certain crimes a second chance by not experiencing many of the stigmas associated with a criminal conviction, especially where an individual has completed the requirements established by the trial court and has since been a law-abiding citizen.

In other words, the Indiana Expungement Law gives individuals that ability to clear their criminal slate and start over.  No more having to worry about filling out background checks.

“The Indiana Expungement Statue states that a person whose record is expunged shall be treated as if the person had never been convicted of the offense.  So after your successful expungement, on any employment application, or other applications, you can legally answer that you have never been convicted of a crime.”

In fact, the Indiana Expungement Statute states that in any application for employment, a license, or other right or privilege, a person may be questioned about a previous criminal record ONLY in terms that exclude expunged convictions or arrests, such as: “Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime that has NOT been expunged by a court?

Want to know if you qualify for an expungement in Indiana? Click to begin a free no obligation Indiana Expungement Evaluation for a free eligibility determination by an Indiana Expungement Lawyer.

The Indiana Expungement Law can be found in Indiana Code 35-38-9, which is titled “Sealing and Expunging Conviction Records.”  It is also known as the Second Chance Act.

The law has been amended a few times since it originally passed in 2011, and it was revised and condensed in 2013 into Indiana Code 35-38-9.  It was then amended in 2014 and 2015.  There is current legislation pending to amend it again to allow for the expungement of civil forfeiture records.  We will follow that and update this article if and when that becomes law.

  1. Can you have an Arrest Record Expunged in Indiana?

Yes.  An arrest can be a big problem on background checks too.  Even if not convicted, just being charged with certain crimes, can scare off a potential employer or landlord, even though the arrest never resulted in a conviction.  Section 1 of the Indiana Expungement Law allows arrests to be expunged if:

  • The arrest:
  1.  Did not result in a conviction; or
  2. Resulted in a conviction that was vacated on Appeal; and
  3. The person is not currently participating in a pretrial diversion program.

The waiting period is one (1) year.  So one year after you have been arrested, if the case was dismissed, or you received a diversion (and completed that diversion), or if you were found not guilty, you can have your arrest record expunged.

  1. Can you have Pretrial Diversion Records Expunged in Indiana?

Yes.

A Pretrial diversion is a program that was allows someone charged with a crime to avoid having a criminal conviction on their record.  It is usually only available to people charged with a first-time misdemeanor or time-period, but it may depend on the type of misdemeanor and the person’s criminal background.

To participate in the pretrial diversion program, a person must admit to the crime to which they are being charged.  But, if a person completes all the requirements of the pretrial diversion program, the state will then dismiss the charges against them.  All that’s left then is an arrest record, which as we discussed above, can be expunged.

Since the charges against you are dismissed after successfully completing a pretrial diversion program, it is just like an arrest which did not result in a conviction.    So to expunge record of a pretrial diversion, the requirements are the same as for an arrest.  But first, you must complete your pretrial diversion program.  If you have questions about whether you are eligible for an Indiana expungement of your arrest record, you should speak to an Indiana Expungement Lawyer.

Indiana Expungement Law

Indiana Expungement Law Allows For the Expungement of All Misdeameanors and Certain Felonies

  1. Can you have a Misdemeanor Expunged in Indiana?

Absolutely.  All misdemeanor charges can be expunged under Indiana’s Expungement law.  This includes Class D felonies (for any crime committed before July 1, 2014) and Level 6 felonies (for any crimes committed after June 30, 2014) that were reduced to a misdemeanor in a plea agreement (via Alternative Misdemeanor Sentencing or AMS).

Your misdemeanor conviction WILL be expunged if the court finds:

  • It’s been five (5) years from the date of the conviction;
  • You have no criminal charges pending;
  • You have paid all your fines, fees, court costs, and restitution obligations; and
  • You have not been convicted of a crime within the previous five (5) years.

If it hasn’t been five years from the date of your conviction, then the Indiana Expungement Law states your misdemeanor can only be expunged if the prosecutor agrees in writing to a shorter period of time.

If you have met these requirements, the expungement is mandatory.  That means the Court has no choice but to grant your misdemeanor expungement.  There is no discretion left to the judge like with higher level felonies.  Talk to an Indiana Expungement Lawyer to find out if you qualify.

  1. Can you Get a Felony Expunged in Indiana?

Mostly yes, but it depends on the type of class or level of felony conviction.    Under Chapter 35-38-9 of the Indiana Expungement Law, expungement is not available to sex offenders or violent offenders or persons convicted of official misconduct, homicide offenses, human and sexual trafficking offenses, or sex crimes.

CLASS D or LEVEL 6 FELONY

Your Class D Felony or Level 6 Felony (which was not reduced to misdemeanor with a plea or at sentencing) WILL be expunged if the court finds:

  • It’s been eight (8) years from the date of the conviction;
  • You have no criminal charges pending;
  • You have paid all your fines, fees, court costs, and restitution obligations; and
  • You have not been convicted of a crime within the previous eight (8) years.

If it hasn’t been eight (8) years from the date of your conviction, then pursuant to the Indiana Expungement Law, your felony can only be expunged if the prosecutor agrees in writing to a shorter period of time.

This rule does not apply to certain people as stated in Indiana Code 35-38-9-3(b), including sex offenders and violent offenders.

If you have met these requirements, the expungement is mandatory.  That means the Court has no choice but to grant your Level 6 Felony or Class D Felony expungement.  There is no discretion left to the judge like with higher level felonies.  Talk to an Indiana Expungement Lawyer to find out if you qualify.

NON-VIOLENT FELONY

Your Felony conviction, other than a Class D or Level 6 Felony MAY be expunged if the court finds:

  • It’s been eight (8) years from the date of the conviction;
  • You have no criminal charges pending;
  • You have paid all your fines, fees, court costs, and restitution obligations; and
  • You have not been convicted of a crime within the previous eight (8) years.

If it hasn’t been eight years from the date of your conviction, then your felony can only be expunged if the prosecutor agrees in writing to a shorter period of time.

This rule does not apply to certain people as stated in Indiana Code 35-38-9-4(b), including public officials, sex offenders and violent offenders.

As Section 4 of the Indiana Expungement Law deals with more serious crimes, even if you meet all the requirements, the court MAY grant your expungement, but it is not mandatory.  The court may use its discretion.  So this means that for a Level 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 Felony, or a Class A, B, or C Felony, your expungement is not mandatory.  You or your Indiana Expungement Laweyer will likely have to go to a hearing and argue to the judge why he/she should grant your expungement.  Evidence, including evidence on how you have turned your life around since the conviction, can help persuade the judge to grant your expungement.

If your expungement is denied by the judge, you can reapply for expungement every three years afterwards for that particular conviction for which expungement was denied.  Remember this only applies to Levels 1-5 Felonies and Class A-C felonies.  Level 6 felonies and Class D felonies are mandatory expungements.

PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND VIOLENT OFFENDERS

Your Felony conviction, MAY be expunged if the court finds:

  • It’s been ten (10) years from the date of the conviction;
  • You have no criminal charges pending;
  • You have paid all your fines, fees, court costs, and restitution obligations;
  • You have not been convicted of a crime within the previous ten (10) years; and
  • The prosecutor consents in writing to the expungement.

If it hasn’t been ten years from the date of your conviction, then your felony can only be expunged if the prosecutor agrees in writing to a shorter period of time.

This rule does not apply to certain people as stated in Indiana Code 35-38-9-5(b), including sex offenders and persons convicted or two or more felonies involving the unlawful use of a deadly weapon.

As Section 5 of the Indiana Expungement Law deals with violent offenders, it requires the consent of the prosecutor (even if it has been ten years).  Furthermore, even if the prosecutor consented, and you meet all the other requirements, the court MAY grant your expungement, but it is not mandatory.

  1. How Long Does It Take For My Record to Be Expunged?

Once a petition for expungement is filed, it generally takes anywhere from 30-180 days till the court approves the petition.  More commonly, we are seeing these approved between 30-60 days after filing.

Indiana Expungement Lawyer

Want to know if you qualify for an expungement in Indiana? Click to begin a Free Indiana Expungement Evaluation and Avnet Law will e-mail you within 24 hours to let you know if you are eligible.

If the prosecutor doesn’t object to the petition, the court may grant the petition without a hearing.  The Indiana Expungement Statute requires the prosecutor to object to the petition within 30 days of receipt and specify why the prosecutor is objecting.  This give you or your Indiana Expungement Lawyer time to gather additional evidence needed to help the court grant the expungement.

If the prosecutor objects to the petition for expungement, Indiana Expungement law requires the trial court to set the matter for hearing not sooner than 60 days from the date the Expungement petition was filed..

But even if the prosecutor does not object, the court may still require a hearing.  Its a good idea to have an Indiana Expungement Lawyer present with you at the hearing to advocate on your behalf.

  1. How Many Times Can I Expunge My Record?

“Indiana’s Expungement law only allows a person to expunge their criminal record ONE (1) time in their lifetime.  So, it is important you get it done properly.  We recommend you hire a knowledgeable Indiana Expungement Lawyer to ensure the expungement is completed properly.”

But, even though you can only expunge records of your criminal convictions once in your life, you can file petitions for all your different Indiana convictions in all counties in Indiana.

The Indiana Expungement Statute states that if you have multiple convictions in one county, you must consolidate all the convictions you wish to expunge into one petition for expungement.  If you have convictions in different Indiana counties, you will need to file separate petitions in each county where you were convicted.

However, all petitions for expungement filed in separate counties for offenses committed in those counties count as one petition if all the expungement petitions are filed in a 365-day period.  Again, its a good idea to speak to an Indiana Expungement Lawyer to make sure your expungement is done correctly.

  1. Does an Indiana Expungement Restore Gun Rights?

Yes.  A conviction that is expunged restores your rights to own a firearm, with one exception.  Indiana Code 35-38-9-6(f) states that if you were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony involving domestic violence, your right to possess a firearm is not automatically restored.  The right of a person convicted of a crime of domestic violence to possess a firearm may be restored only in accordance with IC 35-47-4-7, another statute that requires a separate petition to be filed with the court.

Firearm rights are governed by both federal law and Indiana law.  However, federal law holds that a conviction that has been expunged cannot be considered a conviction for purposes of denying firearm rights under federal law.  The federal government has also held that Indiana’s Expungement law is sufficient in removing the federal firearms prohibition in the Gun Control Act.

In addition to firearm rights, after an expungement you also regain the right to vote, serve as a juror or run for public office.

  1. What is the Cost for an Indiana Expungement?

There are a few costs that are associated with an Indiana Expungement.  There are filing fees for each petition for expungement you file into every county as well as attorneys’ fees if you hire an Indiana Expungement lawyer.

Also, if you haven’t paid the fines, fees, and court costs, and/or satisfied any restitution obligation from the convictions you are trying to expunge, those will have to be paid as well prior to an expungement being granted.

If you are filing a petition to expunge an arrest or pre-trial diversion, there is no filing fee.  For all other cases, the filing fees are generally around $160 for each petition.  So, if you have two convictions in Marion county, the filing fee would be around $160.00 total for both convictions.  But if you have three convictions, one in Marion County, one in Wayne County, and one in Hamilton County, then the filing fees would be around $160 each or about $480 total.

An Indiana Expungement Lawyer’s fees vary from firm to firm, and usually depend on the number of petitions being filed, as well as the county/counties where the petition(s) will be filed.  Some counties require hearings for expungement petitions while other counties may grant the petition without a hearing.

At Avnet Law, we charge a flat fee for filing expungement petitions.  That way, the client will not be billed by the hour.  The fee will cover all the work from the beginning until the petition is granted, including any required hearings.  And you will have the peace of mind knowing that the expungement is being completed by an Indiana Expungement lawyer who will complete the job properly the first time.

  1. What if my Petition for Expungement is denied?

If your petition for expungement is denied, Indiana’s Expungement law allows a person to file a subsequent petition ONLY regarding one of the convictions that were included in the original petition that was not expunged.   A subsequent petition for expungement cannot include any conviction that was not included on the original petition for expungement.  So make sure your Indiana Expungement Lawyer includes all of your convictions in the original petition(s).

If the Court denies the petition due to its discretion for a high class or level felony, a subsequent petition can only be filed after three (3) years from the date of the last petition was denied.

Because you only get one shot at an expungement in Indiana, its important you speak to an Indiana Expungment Lawyer.

Indiana expungement lawyer 1

Contact an Indiana Expungement Lawyer to Expunge Your Criminal Record

Schedule a Free Consultation with an Indiana Expungement Lawyer

Indiana’s expungement law offers those who may have made mistakes in the past one (1) chance only to wipe the slate clean.  Since you only have once chance to expunge your criminal record, it is important you get it done right.

Want to know if you qualify for an expungement in Indiana? Click to begin a free no obligation Indiana Expungement Evaluation to determine eligibility.

Avnet Law understands the issues, has the experience, and can advise and represent you in obtaining your expungement.  We also can advise you regarding other criminal law legal issues.

Call 1-877-77-AVNET to Schedule a Free Consultation with an Indiana Expungement Lawyer Today or contact us below with any additional questions you may have expungements in Indiana.

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