Area of Law:
A criminal record can be a bar to certain types of employment, licensing, holding public office, and even the right to vote. Most states allow for a process called expungement that will remove certain arrests or criminal convictions from the offender’s record.
Depending upon the laws of the state in which you live and the nature of the crime, you may be able to get an arrest or conviction sealed or erased from your legal record. After the expungement process is complete, you will not need to disclose the conviction on a job or school application, and in most instances no record of the arrest or conviction will show up during a public records inspection or background check commonly done by potential employers, landlords, and educational institutions.
According to Indiana law, it is possible to have an arrest record expunged in limited circumstances. However, in the case of a conviction, there is no procedure for expungement, meaning that if a person pled guilty to a crime or were found guilty by a judge or a jury, those records cannot be expunged. Generally, a record can be expunged in Indiana if a person was arrested but charges were never filed, or if a person was arrested and the charges were dropped because of mistaken identity, no offense was actually found to be committed, or the absence of probable cause.
To file for expungement in Indiana, a petition must be filed in the court where the charges were brought. The petition must include the following:
- The date of the arrest
- The charge
- The law enforcement agency that employed the arresting officer
- Other identifying information, such as the name of the arresting officer, the police case number, or the court cause number
- Your birthdate
- Your social security number
- A verification, or statement certifying that everything in the petition is true
The petition must be signed and the original taken to the proper Indiana court. A copy of the petition must be sent to the law enforcement agency that made the arrest and to the state central repository for records located at the Indiana Government Center, 100 N. Senate, Room 302, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204. After the petition is filed, the court may grant it, set the matter for hearing, or deny it. If the petition is granted, the law enforcement agency must either destroy or give the individual all the records they have regarding the arrest. No information about the arrest can be placed or kept in any state central criminal information system.
For more information on expungement in the state of Indiana, go to the USLegal website.