Expungement & Restricted Access to Records
Updated June, 2015
How can I clear my criminal record – for job searches and other purposes?
Frequently clients talk to us about how criminal convictions and even dismissed charges appear on background checks and cause problems with obtaining employment, housing disqualification, and loss of other opportunities and benefits. Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, you may be eligible to have your record expunged or at least restricted so that criminal history does not appear on background checks.
Some of the possibilities are explained below:
I. If you were accused of a crime and no charges were filed or if the charges were dismissed:
Indiana Code 35-38-9-1 says that if you were arrested but were not convicted, then not earlier than one (1) year after the date of arrest, you are entitled to have the arrest records sealed so that only criminal justice agencies have access to it.
II. If you were convicted (found guilty) of a crime:
1. Misdemeanors. Indiana Code 35-38-9-2 provides that not earlier than five (5) years after the date of conviction, you are entitled to have records of the case expunged if you do not have new pending charges, an existing license suspension, and you have successfully completed all obligations of the sentence.
2. Some felonies. Indiana Code 35-38-9-3 and 4 provides that so long as the crime was not committed by an elected official, a sexual or violent crime, result in bodily injury, or perjury, then eight (8) years after the date of conviction, you are entitled to have records of the case expunged if you do not have new pending charges, an existing license suspension, and you have successfully completed all obligations of the sentence.
3. Indiana Code 35-38-5-5 says that fifteen (15) years after you complete the sentence, you are entitled to have your records restricted.
4. Indiana law allows for post-conviction relief in some very limited circumstances. Essentially, post-conviction relief allows you to challenge your conviction after the court process has concluded based on some legal error or insufficiency. If you are successful with a petition for post-conviction relief, your conviction will be set aside.
5. Finally a pardon is another possibility.
The procedures described above are of varying complexity – some are relatively simple and others highly complex. Please let us know if we can help you clear your record.