Expungement or Record Clearing
Expungement & Record Sealing Lawyer – Serving Lake County / Northwest Indiana
The Indiana expungement laws established new criteria for individuals to be able to have their records expunged. Expungement is the act of destroying or sealing criminal records such that they can only be available in limited circumstances. Under the new law in Indiana, the records can only be seen by a law enforcement officer when acting in official capacity, or when released by a court order. Once the records are expunged, there can be no discrimination, employment related or otherwise, of an individual based on the conviction that has been expunged.
For those looking to have their records expunged, they must file a petition in the county within which the conviction was entered. Those wishing to expunge several convictions in the same county should do so within the same application. If there are convictions in Separate County, each one petition must be filed in the county where the particular conviction was entered. Filing the petition requires one to pay a small fee, which most of the time is equivalent to the civil fees of the court. The charges might be reduced if the individual is indigent. There are no fees when applying to have an arrest record that did not lead to a conviction expunged. However, sometimes prosecution attorneys object to petitions, in which case the court then holds a hearing on the merits of the petition.
The process seems relatively simple, but there are several catches, many of which are unanticipated. For instance, you only have one chance to file for your records to be expunged. This is why the petitions for convictions in one state are normally filed all at once for the same individual. If there are convictions in different states, then the petitions have to be filed within a year’s period of one another.
What to remember
To get a misdemeanor expunged, you will have to demonstrate to the court that you have fully complied with the sentence. You must also not be serving another sentence, or have been charged with another offence. Generally, it must be a full year since the court entered the judgment for the application to be heard. The conditions are different in different jurisdictions. For instance, one needs to not have been convicted of a crime for a period of between 5 and ten years, depending on the severity of the conviction being expunged in Indiana. The waiting period for a felony reduced to a misdemeanor is five years, but for the more serious crimes, the waiting period can be as long as eight years. Sex offenders, those convicted of official misconduct or violent offenders are not eligible for expungement. In Indiana, you must not also have a suspended driver’s license for the expungement application to hold.
Just like in any other court case, for the petition to be successful, one has to prove several things to the court. Perhaps the most important is that they show the court that they are not career criminals. Expungement is a privilege and should not be treated as a right. Therefore, you must be able to show that you have been, and intend to continue living a life without crime. Employment records, schooling and volunteering all show the signs of positive progress. To do this requires correct information about your background to be presented to the court officials and judge. At the very least, provide details of the case, dates and other information pertaining to the case. The local courthouse might be able to help, but one can get these records from state agency websites.
Many people are worried about what happens to them and their records once the expungement process is successfully completed. When, for instance a prospective employer performs a background check, what appears will depend entirely on the type of background check that is conducted. For instance, for the simple commercial background check, chances are that the conviction will not be found. However, if the employer requires the deeper checks that need submission of fingerprints and copies of justice reports, then it will likely show in one’s record that there was a case in the past. It will also be shown that the case was dismissed, and that there is no conviction on the individual’s record. The law is clear, though, so there is no cause for worry. After records being expunged, you are as good as new, and there can be no discrimination based on the said record or conviction.
Everyone deserves a second chance, and after paying for past mistakes, it is only right that they be given a new chance at life. However, records being expunged is not a given and for a petition to be successful, a lot of work is required. The lawyers at Semko Law Office bring to the table the right diligence, experience and expertise required to file for successful expungement. Contact us today if you have any questions regarding our services.