Criminal Expungement Rights Expanded

For years, Indiana has allowed certain arrest and juvenile records to be expunged.  Expungement is the act of causing certain information to be removed or limited from a government record.  Recently, the General Assembly enacted legislation extending the potential to expunge certain criminal convictions, rather than just arrests.  One of the effects of this new law is to allow more employment opportunities to those with prior convictions.

In other words, a person who has a prior conviction years ago which continues to limit employment opportunities may now be able to remove the offense from their record.  Further, applications for employment and licenses are to be modified to as to ask only if one has an arrest or conviction that has not been expunged by a court.

The law expands the opportunity for expungement to all misdemeanor and most felony convictions.  Generally, violent and sexual offenses are not eligible for expungement.  One normally must wait 5 years to request relief for a misdemeanor conviction and 8 years for a felony, but some exceptions allow for lessor or greater time periods.

The court which entered the original conviction would also decide the expungement issue, which must be requested through a formal written petition.  If the prosecutor’s office fails to respond to the request, expungement may even be granted without a hearing.

Expungement is not automatic and the number of requests that can be made is limited.  Further, if you commit a new offense following expungement, the expunged conviction can still be taken into consideration.  Persons wishing to have more information about the new law should consider consulting with Jeffrey Jones or Greg Hockemeyer to determine whether it applies to their circumstances.

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