If you are one of many Indiana residents who have a criminal record, you no doubt understand the negative implications such issues can have in a person’s life. You might be worried about your ability to get a new job or other disadvantages that may arise because you face conviction for a crime. In certain circumstances, you might be eligible for expungement.
This is a legal term in criminal law that refers to a ruling the court makes to remove arrests or convictions from a person’s criminal record. Some describe it as “wiping the slate clean” because the removal makes it as if the crime or arrest never occurred. Not every person convicted of a crime can have his or her record expunged. There are several key issues to keep in mind if you are hoping that this might be an option in your case.
You must file a petition and appear in court to request expungement
No one is going to offer to expunge your criminal record, although several states are enacting laws to automate the expungement process. Usually, you must request it of the court by filing a petition and appearing before a judge. A certain amount of time must pass without you facing an additional arrest before you are eligible for expungement.
What are the rules in Indiana?
In this state, a period of five years must past from the date of your conviction before you can request expungement. You must not have incurred any additional criminal convictions within those five years. You may also not have any criminal charges pending and must have satisfied all requirements for the conviction on your record.
Not all crimes can be expunged from a criminal record. For instance, if you face a violent crime conviction, you may not be able to have it removed from your record, even if you have served your full sentence.
An expungement helps people move on in life after legal trouble
If you were arrested, charged and convicted of a crime in Indiana, you may have served time in jail or faced substantial fines as part of your sentence. The court might have also ordered you to perform community service or enter a rehabilitative program, such as for substance abuse, driver safety or some other issue. Having a conviction on your record after fulfilling all of the requirements of a sentence can hinder your quality of life.
Expungement provides an opportunity to start afresh without worrying that a prospective employer or someone else will see your record and question you about your past.