Hire an Experienced Indiana Expungement Lawyer
Beginning in 2014, the Indiana state legislature amended the expungement statute, now found in Section 35-38-9 of the Indiana Code. The new expungement law does not provide for the destruction of records as associated with a traditional expungement. Rather, the law allows for sealing of some records while restricting access to other records. This modified expungement can be of great and beneficial value to individuals with convictions on their records. An expungement can mean the difference between employment and struggling to place food on the table for your family. However, the expungement law creates several hoops an applicant must jump through. In addition, the law has many complex and confusing provisions, as well as strict requirements. As such, it is necessary to utilize an intelligent, accomplished, and experienced Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer to file for expungement for you. The process is long and intricate, but an expungement lawyer can explain the law to you, analyze whether you qualify under the law, and prepare all of your paperwork for you so that you can focus on getting your life back together.
The skilled Indianapolis criminal defense lawyers at Eskew Law, LLC understand how trying and difficult a criminal record can be for your future. When you desperately want to move past your conviction and start fresh, you are continuously prevented from moving forward because of a little mistake you made. Our attorneys have worked on countless expungements in Indianapolis and Central Indiana over the past decade. We can share our insight, knowledge, and experience with you to help you draft a compelling petition. To speak with us about expunging your record, call Eskew Law, LLC now at (317) 974-0177.
Avoiding a Criminal Conviction
The best way to avoid the negative consequences of a conviction is to avoid a criminal conviction in the first place. While this seems easier said than done, the right Indianapolis criminal defense attorney can mean the difference between proving your innocence and spending a lifetime trying to hide your criminal record. Eskew Law, LLC can assist you with defending yourself against false charges from the start. However, if you already have a conviction, our Indianapolis expungement lawyers can help you apply for relief through expungement.
Arrests without Conviction and Juvenile Adjudication
According to Section 35-38-9-1 of the Indiana Code, you can expunge arrest records if they do not result in convictions or if they were a part of a juvenile adjudication. You must wait at least one year after the arrest or an acquittal to file your petition. The petition will be filed as part of the old case and will be filed with the court that oversaw the original case. You must provide a copy of this petition to the prosecutor.
The petition must include:
- Date and time of your arrest
- Police department
- Any other helpful information such as case number
- Your date of birth
- Your social security number
Your petition must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that you are eligible for relief. If the prosecutor does not oppose and if the judge agrees, your arrest record will be expunged. This means that your arrest will not appear in any state criminal history database or law enforcement system.
Expungement of Misdemeanors and Some Class D or Level 6 Felonies
If you were convicted of any misdemeanor or a Class D felony that was subsequently converted to a misdemeanor, you may expunge your record. However, this form of expungement is more akin to sealing your record. You must wait at least five years after your conviction to file your petition, and you may only file one petition. You must serve a copy on the prosecutor, and the prosecutor then has 30 days to respond. If the crime had a complainant, the prosecutor will then notify this complainant. The complainant is permitted to submit a statement, but it is the court’s discretion what weight to apply to that statement.
The petitioner must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that there are no pending charges or convictions following the case and that the petitioner is otherwise eligible for relief. If the judge believes you are eligible for expungement, your record will be sealed. What does this mean?
- Your records cannot be released to outside parties absent a court order.
- The Indiana state police must seal your file in its criminal history database.
- The Clerk of the Court for the Supreme Court and trial court must seal your case.
- Your name will be redacted from any public appeals or motions involved in your case.
- Your rights will be fully restored, including your right to hold office, serve on a jury, and vote.
- Employers cannot discriminate against you on the basis of your criminal history, and you may answer “no” to job application questions regarding whether you’ve ever been convicted of a crime.
- Police departments, prosecutors, your defense lawyer, probation officers, the FBI, DHS, and the Supreme Court are allowed access to your file though they cannot share it with the general public unless someone petitions the court to review your file and the petition is granted.
Class D or Level 6 Felonies with No Bodily Injury
An individual with a Class D felony (no bodily injury) may seal his record under guidelines and limitations similar to those above, except the petitioner must wait at least eight years after the conviction date.
Felonies without Serious Bodily Injury
After waiting at least eight years, you may petition to expunge your felony record if the offenses did not cause serious bodily injury. However, this form of expungement is more akin to restricting access. The procedural process for applying for expungement is similar to the aforementioned process. However, the effects of a granted petition differ. Namely:
- All records pertaining to the arrest, case, verdict, or sentence will remain public but will be notated as “expunged.”
- All law enforcement and government agency records will be marked as expunged though still easily accessible.
- Anyone, even the general public, can continue to have access to the records.
Other Eligible Felonies
Other felonies that do not fall in the above categories may only be expunged with the written consent of the prosecutor. The petitioner can file at least ten years after the conviction or five years after the end of the sentence. Similarly to other felonies, if the petition is granted, the records will remain public. However, they will be stamped with “expunged.”
The following felonies cannot be expunged or sealed at any time:
- Certain sex crimes
- Certain violent crimes such as homicide
- Certain crimes against persons such as sex trafficking
- Official misconduct by a politician
Start Over with a Clean Slate with the Help of Dedicated Indianapolis Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you were wrongly accused of a crime you didn’t commit and the prosecutor dropped the case, Eskew Law, LLC can help you remove this arrest from your record permanently. Even if you made a simple mistake and served your time, we can assist you with starting fresh and getting back on your feet by applying for expungement of your criminal record. We can explain whether your criminal record disqualifies you from expungement, which type of petition matches your circumstances, and what you must include in the petition to show you are eligible by a preponderance of the evidence. We take this privilege and responsibility seriously for all of our clients throughout Indianapolis and Central Indiana. Contact us for a consultation on the expungement of your criminal history, or call Eskew Law, LLC at (317) 974-0177 now.
Our criminal defense team also handles other types of cases, including: