If you have a prior criminal conviction, you may know how hard it is to find a job. Employers often ask whether an applicant has been arrested or convicted of a crime. When an employer finds out that an applicant has a prior arrest or conviction, they may promptly move on to the next candidate. This leaves all potential applicants with one or more criminal convictions or arrests out in the cold with far fewer options to obtain gainful employment. However, earlier this year, Indiana implemented a new expungement law that allows old convictions and arrests to be wiped off criminal records—for good.What is an Expungement?
An expungement is a legal term meaning to strike out, or erase, someone’s criminal record. The State of Indiana recognizes that people can make mistakes when they are young and that these mistakes can haunt—or ruin—a lifetime. So, after a successful expungement, a job applicant can honestly answer “No” to the myriad questions regarding criminal and arrest history. In addition, under the new law, it will be illegal for an employer to consider any expunged records when making a hiring decision.Indiana’s New “Second Chance” Law
It has long been possible to have arrests expunged from your Indiana criminal record, but the law changed significantly as of July 1, 2013. In short, the new expungement law now offers a second chance to people not only with arrests but also to people with older and less serious criminal convictions. However, the new law is much more complicated than the old law, and it contains potential pitfalls for those who do not understand it. In fact, you can lose your right to expungement permanently if it is not done correctly. We can help you steer around the pitfalls.Can I Qualify for an Expungement Under the New Law?
If you have arrests or criminal convictions in your past you may qualify for an expungement under Indiana’s new second chance law. All arrests that do not lead to a conviction are expungable. Regarding criminal convictions, the criteria is different depending on the type of crime.
As a requirement for all expungements, an applicant must not have any criminal charges pending against him and may not have an expired driver’s license. In addition, the applicant must not have been convicted of a criminal offense for a certain number of years. Below are the additional requirements for each category of expugnable event:
- Arrests: An applicant may get all arrests expunged from his record one year after the arrest occurred.
- Misdemeanor: An applicant may seek an expungement 5 years after the date of his latest conviction for a misdemeanor.
- Non-Violent Felonies: An applicant may seek to have non-violent felonies expunged 8 years after the date of the most recent conviction.
- Serious Felonies: For more serious felonies the consent of the prosecutor is required. In addition, an applicant must wait until ten years after the date of conviction to seek an expungement.
While many crimes can be expunged, some cannot. Those who have committed sex offenses, violent offenses, or official misconduct are not eligible to have their records expunged.Do you Have an Arrest or Conviction That You Want to Have Expunged?
Have you been arrested or convicted of a crime and want to know if you can have your record expunged? If so, contact our office by using the contact form on the left side of this page, by clicking here, or by calling (317) 964-6000.