Can I Expunge My Criminal Record?

If you have been convicted of a criminal offense you may be eligible to have your criminal record expunged. Likewise, if you were arrested but had your case dismissed you may be eligible to seal your record from prospective employers. The purpose of this blog is to help provide some information about what is required in order for you to expunge your record.

By statute, an individual who has been arrested and charged but not convicted may petition to have his/her record sealed. The petition to seal may not be filed any sooner than one year after the date of arrest. The petition is a basic petition that must be filed in a circuit or superior court in the county where the charges were filed or if no charges were filed, in the county where the arrest occurred. Indiana statute sets forth what information must be included in the petition to seal and includes (but is not limited to) the following:
  • The date of arrest or criminal charges,
  • The county in which the arrest occurred;
  • The court where charges were filed (if applicable);
  • As much identifying information about the case and yourself as possible.
A successful petition to seal will result in the Court ordering the Court records, the court of appeals, the supreme court, a juvenile court, and the Indiana State police central repository. If your case involves a published appellate opinion, your name will be amended in the petition to only include
your initials.

If you are seeking to expunge a criminal conviction, the process is very similar to filing a petition to seal. A conviction, however, means that you have either pled guilty or been found guilty at trial and the court has entered a judgment of conviction against you. If you fall into this category there are several statutes that govern how your expungement is to be handled depending upon he level of offense you are seeking to expunge. The vast majority of expungement cases are for misdemeanors, D Felony or Level 6 Felonies. If you are seeking to expunge a misdemeanor, you may not file a petition to expunge sooner than 5 years after the date of your conviction. If you are seeking to expunge a Level 6 Felony or a D Felony, you must wait 8 years after the date of conviction (unless you are eligible to have your felony reduced to a misdemeanor in which case you may be able to petition sooner). For offenses greater than a Level 6 or Class D Felony, the expungement process becomes lengthier and more complex.

Notwithstanding all of the technical statutory requirements, there are practical considerations when filing for an expungement you should be aware of such as what expungement does and does not accomplish.

There are many pitfalls you may encounter if you seek to expunge your criminal record yourself. There are very strict filing requirements for expungement which is why it is critical to hire counsel who is intimately familiar with the expungement process. This is especially true if you have multiple convictions you are seeking to expunge from multiple counties. If you have been arrested, charged, and/or convicted call the lawyers at Cate, Terry & Gookins LLC today to have your questions about expungement answered. You may contact us at 317-564-0016 or by filling out a contact form located at www.ctglaw.com.