By: Russell B. Cate, Member Attorney.
I have handled countless criminal expungements in counties across the State of Indiana. When I meet with clients I always tell them that the expungement process is not perfect. The expungement process, does however, provide individuals who may have made an error in judgment in the past the next best thing to a clean slate.
Many clients want to know why the expungement process does not “clear their record.” The reason the process is not perfect is because Indiana’s Second Chance Law, or the expungement statutes as they are sometimes referred, only requires certain entities to expunge their records. The Indiana State Police, Courts, Probation, arresting agencies, and treatment providers are a few of the entities who are required, by law, to expunge their records.
What you do not see listed are media outlets such as television or newspaper, and private third-party background check providers. Herein lies the culprit for why I advise clients that expungement process is not perfect. Private criminal background check providers have a duty to accurately report the background of individuals who have been convicted of a crime. These background check providers obtain their information from counties who report their records. Often times third party background check providers obtain information on an individual’s criminal history but they do not take steps to update those records. A failure to update their records may result in someone having a criminal conviction reported when it has actually been expunged.
Most of the time the client does not learn of this information until it is too late, such as after an employer has already run a background check after the client has applied for a job, or after you have been denied housing. The good news is that in the State of Indiana, it is unlawful discrimination for any person to discriminate against someone who has had their conviction or arrest record sealed or expunged. In fact, employers or licensing agencies cannot question you about your criminal record unless they are asking in terms that exclude expunged convictions or arrests.
So what do you do if you have had your criminal record expunged but you find that it is still showing up on criminal background checks? Call Cate Terry & Gookins, LLC. You may be entitled to compensation for the private criminal background check provider reporting inaccurate records. Indiana Law provides a cause of action for you if you have been harmed by a private criminal background provider’s irresponsible, inaccurate reporting of your criminal history. Call the law firm of Cate Terry & Gookins, LLC to talk about your criminal history and expungement and to determine whether you have a cause of action today.