Common Questions About Expungement in Indiana

Being charged with a crime in the state of Indiana can have a number of severe and long-lasting effects that can change the course of your life forever. This is why some individuals consider getting their criminal record expunged in the hopes of moving past their mistakes and rebuilding their lives. However, the expungement process can be confusing and complex. In this article, we will explore some common questions that convicted individuals often have about expungement in Indiana.

Am I Eligible for Expungement?

It is important to know that not all crimes are eligible for expungement in the state of Indiana. Eligibility is generally contingent upon the severity of the crime, with the most serious of them being ineligible for expungement. There are far more crimes that are eligible for expungement than ineligible, therefore, let’s look at a few that will deem you ineligible for expungement:
- Statutory rape
- Oral copulation with a minor
- Sodomy with a minor
- Lewd and lascivious acts with a minor
- Child pornography
- Failure to submit to a police inspection of your vehicle
- Murder
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Terrorism
- Arson

Do I Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

While you can file for an expungement on your own, it is highly advised to seek legal assistance from an experienced Indianapolis criminal defense attorney. Having the expertise of a criminal defense lawyer on your side is advantageous for a number of reasons. If you choose the right criminal defense lawyer, they should be very knowledgeable about how the expungement process works, whether you are eligible, and what paperwork is necessary. They will also likely be familiar with the local judges, which may benefit you as well. Overall, the odds of your criminal record being expunged are much higher with the help of a qualified lawyer.

Does Expungement Completely Wipe My Record?

Technically speaking, if you get your criminal record expunged, it is wiped away and dismissed. However, that does not necessarily provide a full picture of what happens. As Section 7 of Indiana Code 35-38-9 states, “the court records and other public records relating to the arrest, conviction, or sentence of a person whose conviction records have been marked as expunged remain public records.” However, the criminal record will be clearly identified as having been expunged, which still looks better than not having it expunged.

What Benefits Does Expungement Provide?

Although there are some limitations to expungement, it is still a worthy avenue to pursue as there are a number of benefits that come along with doing so.
First, expungement can help you obtain employment. In most cases, companies will conduct background checks before officially hiring you, and seeing that you have a criminal history may cause them to think differently about hiring you to work at their company. However, under Indiana Code Section 35-38-9-10, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an individual who has had their criminal record expunged. Therefore, seeking expungement may prove beneficial when seeking employment opportunities.

Second, expungement can help you in obtaining and maintaining your professional license. Roles that require licensing include lawyers, real estate agents, commercial truck drivers, doctors, and contractors. Furthermore, having your criminal record expunged can help alleviate any worries about professional licensing.

Third, expungement can be advantageous if you are looking to rent a house or buy a house or apartment. A landlord will likely conduct a background check when deciding whether to move forward with the application, therefore expungement can help ensure that this is not a barrier to obtaining housing.

Lastly, expungement can help restore some of the rights that you may have lost as a result of your criminal charge. For example, your right to vote or possess firearms may be taken from you if you have been convicted. Furthermore, getting an expungement can help restore your rights and civic engagement opportunities.

Furthermore, the benefits of getting your criminal record expunged can make life much easier in the long run and in more ways than one. Therefore, enlisting the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you through the expungement process is highly advised to ensure that your life is not inhibited by your criminal record history.

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Posted - 05/23/2024