Expungement of Criminal Records: Civil Forfeiture Case Dockets Now Included

By: Russell B. Cate, Cate Terry & Gookins, LLC, Member

 

In the State of Indiana, citizens who have committed a criminal offense have an opportunity to have their criminal records expunged so long as they meet certain statutory qualifications. Recently, Indiana Courts have expanded the application of the Indiana’s expungement statutes in the recent Court of Appeals opinion, D.A.  vs. State of Indiana. Although I helped with some of the research, my good friend and former partner, Andrew Barker argued this case before the Indiana Court of Appeals. In essence, the Appellant, D.A., had filed to have a series of criminal convictions expunged from his record, all of which were granted. He later amended his petition to expunge and added the civil forfeiture cause number because that case made direct references to his criminal case numbers. The trial court ruled against D.A. and he initiated an appeal.

The Court of Appeals held that “civil forfeiture is ancillary to a criminal conviction and the nexus between the civil forfeiture and criminal conviction is established a defendant may petition the trial court to expunge the records of that civil forfeiture along with the records of the criminal conviction.” With this ruling it is critical to know that if you are contemplating hiring an expungement attorney that he/she is familiar with the current status of the law. Indiana criminal expungement statutes only allow you to file for expungement once so it is critical you are hiring someone who is intimately familiar with expunging criminal records. With this recent Court of Appeals opinion, it is important to ensure that your expungement filing includes any reference to civil forfeiture records.

If you are wondering whether you are eligible for an expungement or if you are eligible to have your civil forfeiture records expunged give the attorneys at Cate Terry & Gookins, LLC a call. We are available 24/7 to take your calls on criminal and family law cases