In July of 2013 Indiana law changed with regard to expungment of criminal records. In March of 2014 that law was amended. Below is a brief synopsis reflecting those changes, and this amends my earlier blog post on this topic.
When you commit a crime and are caught, prosecuted, convicted, and serve your sentence, your sentence doesn't end there. People convicted of crimes have a much harder time, especially in a down economy, of finding work. And the reason for that is simple, on the application you have to disclose if you have a criminal record. Given the choice, employers are more likely to hire the person who doesn't have a criminal record. Also, if you fail to disclose a criminal record, that is grounds for termination, and you will likely not receive unemployment.
Between fiscal years 2000 and 2010, Indiana's prison population increased by 47%. In 2010 Indiana had the highest growth rate for its prison population out of all 50 states. And the number one predictor of recidivism is employment, or lack thereof.
In July of 2013 the law in Indiana on sealing arrest records and expunging convictions was changed, making it easier for people who made mistakes in the past clear their criminal history from most databases searchable by employers doing background checks. It also allows one to mark their job applications as if there never was a criminal record without the potential for losing that job, for that reason, in the future.
Here's an overview of the new law:
Sealing arrest records (meaning there was no conviction or the charge was vacated).
There is no filing fee. Must wait one year after finalized vacated order is entered (if vacated) or after arrest (if not convicted). The records are sealed from: Department of Corrections files, Court files, Bureau of Motor Vehicles, any agency that provided treatment under a court order, and State Police Department files.
Expungement of misdemeanors (and class D felonies converted to A misdemeanors before July 1, 2014, and Level 6 felonies reduced to misdemeanors after June 30, 2014).
There is a $161.00 filing fee (newly waivable if you qualify for a fee waiver). Must wait 5 years after completion of the sentence, during which time no other conviction is entered. No current charges pending. Have a valid driver's license. The person must have paid all fines, fees, and court costs, including any restitution ordered.
The records are expunged from' Court files, Department of Corrections files, Bureau of Motor Vehicles, any service agency that provided treatment under court order.
The most common misdemeanors that are expunged are: Battery, Criminal Mischief, Criminal Trespass, Disorderly Conduct, Operating While Intoxicated, Possession of Marijuana, Providing Alcohol or Tobacco to a Minor, Public Indecency, Unlicensed Possession of a Handgun.
Expungement of Felonies (not reduced to A misdemeanors).
There is a $161.00 filing fee (newly waivable if you qualify for fee waiver). The person must wait 8 years after the date of conviction, or three years after the completion of the sentence, whichever is later, during which time no other conviction is entered against the person. No current charges pending. Must have a valid driver's license. Must have paid all fines, court costs, fees, and restitution ordered by the court.
The records are expunged from: Court files, Department of Corrections files, Bureau of Motor Vehicles, any service agency that provided treatment under a court order.
The most common D felonies expunged are: Criminal Confinement, Counterfeiting, Fraud, Money Laundering, Neglect, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Stalking, Theft, Arson, Burglary, Dealing a Controlled Substance, Forgery, and Robbery.
Expungement for other felonies.
There is a $161.00 filing fee (newly waivable if you qualify for fee waiver). Must wait 10 years after the date of conviction or 5 years after completion of the sentence, whichever is later, during which time no other conviction is entered against the person. No current charges pending. Must have a valid driver's license. Must have paid all fines, fees, court costs, and restitution ordered by the court.
This is for crimes such as: Elected official convicted of an offense while serving the official's term or as a candidate for public office, and a person convicted of a felony that resulted in serious bodily injury to another person.
It doesn't apply to: a sex, or violent offender, a person convicted of official misconduct, a person convicted of homicide or sexual trafficking, or other sex crimes.
A word of warning to the wise. Criminal record expungement is only available once in a person's life. If a criminal record is expunged for an individual and there is a later arrest and conviction, further expungement of that record is not available. Given that, an individual who seeks to have his or her record expunged should consider the action wisely, but take full advantage when eligible.
People in central Indiana with past criminal records should call us to talk about your options, and how erasing your criminal record can help you.