Unfortunately, the consequences of an arrest or a criminal conviction do not disappear once you leave the courtroom or even when you complete your sentence. They remain with you even if you are acquitted at trial or your case is dismissed.
A criminal arrest and/or criminal conviction remains a matter of public record and may affect your ability to possess a firearm. These records are available to potential employers, businesses, schools, landlords, and financial institutions. You might be wondering if there is a way to seal this record or restore your gun rights. The good news is that in many cases, there is a way, through a legal device called an expungement.
What Stracci Law Group Attorneys Can Do to Get Your Record Expunged
The Indiana criminal defense lawyers at Stracci Law Group can examine your record and determine if you are eligible for an expungement of your criminal arrest and/or conviction. We will guide you through the expungement process from beginning to end.
We will use every means at our disposal to expunge your record so that you can face the future with confidence. Contact the criminal record expungement lawyers at Stracci Law Group by calling (219) 525-1000, by contacting us online, or by visiting us at 11890 Broadway, Crown Point, IN 46307.
Why You Need To Expunge Your Indiana Records
A criminal record follows you everywhere you go, and it can exert a decisive influence on:
- Job applications;
- Professional licensing;
- Child custody hearings;
- Online background searches;
- Gun ownership; and
An expungement will ensure that your criminal record will not hold you back. Contact an Indiana expungement attorney at Stracci Law Group today for an expungement consultation.
Understanding the Indiana Expungement Law
An expungement legally seals your criminal record. Absent the consent of the prosecutors, you must wait a certain period after the date of conviction to petition for expungement:
- Arrests, charges, and juvenile adjudications (IC §35-38-9-1): One year.
- Misdemeanors (IC §35-38-9-2): Five years.
- Less serious felonies (IC §35-38-9-3 and §35-38-9-4): Five to eight years, depending on the circumstances (see below).
- Certain serious felonies (IC §35-38-9-5): 10 years plus the consent of the prosecutor to expunge the conviction.
All of the foregoing waiting periods can be reduced or eliminated with the consent of the prosecutor.
What Types Of Crime Records Can Be Expunged In Indiana?
The following types of criminal records can be expunged under the Indiana expungement law:
- Criminal charges;
- Juvenile adjudications;
- Misdemeanor convictions/guilty pleas;
- Non-violent felony conviction/guilty pleas;
- “Certain serious” felony conviction/guilty pleas; and
- Civil forfeiture records related to criminal activity.
Expunging Arrests, Charges, and Juvenile Records
An arrest or a criminal charge can haunt you for the rest of your life, even if you are innocent. So can a juvenile conviction for a crime that you committed when you were not even the same person you are today. Fortunately, an Indiana criminal expungement attorney can help you petition to have your arrests, criminal charges that did not result in a conviction, and juvenile records expunged.
Expunging a Misdemeanor Conviction
Many misdemeanor convictions are not the result of serious criminal conduct (possession of marijuana, for example) but are treated as “once in a lifetime mistakes”. After a five-year waiting period, or sooner with the prosecutor’s consent, you can petition for expungement of a misdemeanor. For example, because it’s a misdemeanor, OWI or DUI expungement, is not uncommon.
Beginning in 2017, a felony arrest in Indiana permits Indiana law enforcement to collect your DNA sample for inclusion in a statewide-database also known as “CODIS.” Your DNA sample is not automatically removed from the database if your case is dismissed or if you are found not guilty at trial. Fortunately, you may be eligible to expunge or remove your DNA profile from CODIS if you meet certain statutory requirements.
Expunging Class D Or Level 6 Felonies
If your criminal record includes a Class D or Level 6 felony that was reduced to a misdemeanor, you must meet the following “good conduct” conditions to qualify for expungement after an eight-year waiting period (or sooner if the prosecutor consents):
- You have not been convicted of more than one felony involving a deadly weapon;
- You have never committed a sex offense or a violent crime;
- There are no charges pending against you;
- You have paid all fines and other costs related to your case, and
- You have no new convictions within the past eight years.
If your charge was reduced to a misdemeanor, you can petition for expungement after five years from the date of conviction. If not, your waiting period will be eight years after the date of conviction, as is the case with other felonies.
Expunging Major Felonies
The expungements of “serious” felonies and “less serious” felonies come with significant limitations. These limitations include:
- For serious felonies: A waiting period of 10 years or 5 years after completion of the sentence, whichever comes first;
- For less serious felonies: A waiting period of 8 years after conviction or 3 years after you complete your sentence, whichever comes first;
- You must meet all of the “good conduct” conditions;
- A court hearing is required, and the judge has the discretion to grant or deny your petition for expungement;
- If your felony is classified as “serious,” it may still appear on your criminal record after the judge grants you an expungement, with the notation “expunged” appearing on it;
- If your conviction requires you to register as a sex offender, an expungement will not remove your obligation to register.
Felonies That Cannot Be Expunged
The following felony convictions cannot be expunged:
- Human trafficking or promotion of human trafficking;
- Sex trafficking;
- Sexual offenses
- Violent crimes;
- Homicide; and
- Official misconduct.
What You Can and Cannot Expect From Expungement
An expunged criminal record will not show up in public records, and it is illegal in Indiana for an employer to ask you about a criminal record that has been expunged “whether employees or applicants criminal records have been sealed or restricted. Applicants may, on employment applications, deny arrests or convictions that appear in restricted records.”
The following limitations apply to expungements, however:
- Someone with a court order can still view your expunged criminal record;
- A law enforcement officer acting within the scope of their duties can still view your expunged criminal record; and
- Federal officials and certain other governmental entities will still have access to your expunged criminal record.
How Stracci Law Group Lawyer Can Help Clear Your Records
Stracci Law Group can help you obtain an expungement of your criminal records by taking the following steps:
- Completing a consultation.
- Gathering your case records.
- Listing all of your arrests and convictions, plus all of the courts, agencies, and service providers involved.
- Confirming that you qualify for an expungement. It might well be the case that some but not all of your criminal records can be expunged. A felony expungement, for example, can be particularly difficult to obtain.
- Building an argument and seeking consent from the prosecutor to waive or shorten your waiting period so that you can file for expungement earlier (this is not always necessary).
- Preparing your expungement petition. This document must be drafted carefully because every sentence has consequences.
- Presenting your case for expungement to the judge in the most favorable possible manner.
Let Our Dedicated Expungement Lawyers Clear Your Records
Stracci Law Group serves Crown Point [46307, 46308], Gary [46402, 46404, 46405, 46406], Valparaiso [46383, 46384, 46385], and other communities in Northwest Indiana. Contact us today for a free consultation.