A criminal conviction can have a lasting impact on your life. Everything from careers, to housing, to certain rights can be impacted because of past mistakes. Fortunately, Indiana has decided that for many types of cases your past does not have to haunt you forever.
In certain situations, you can ask that your record be “expunged” under Indiana law. What this means is that you can have a court issue an order that orders various state agencies to make your criminal records sealed or expunged from public view. This means that other than law enforcement agencies (and a few other exceptions), it will appear as if you never had a criminal conviction or arrest.
Is an expungement guaranteed?
In some cases, yes, an expungement is pretty much automatic as long as you (and your case) meets the necessary statutory requirements that include length of time since the conviction, completion of all probation and sentencing requirements, and payment of all fines and restitution.
In certain types of cases, the Prosecutor has the ability to object, but it is still within the Court’s discretion as to whether an expungement should be granted or not. There are a select few types of cases, where the Prosecutor has to agree to the expungement proceeding forward before the judge can even consider whether the expungement should be granted or not.
Do I need a lawyer to file an expungement in Indiana?
Short answer, no. You are always allowed to represent yourself in most types of court proceedings and there are forms online available to help pro se litigants file their expungement.
Now the long answer…
It makes sense to have a lawyer take care of your expungment for you. Certain types of convictions have certain requirements that have to be met. Additionally, there are time requirements that have to be met if you are trying to complete an expungement in different counties. Finally, it just helps to have an advocate in your corner telling your story of “change” in cases where the court has complete discretion in granting the expungement.
If you are considering an expungement, call my office at (574) 387-6529 or fill out the contact form to discuss your case.