What is a Criminal Record Expungement?
Sealing and expunging of records in Indiana state is a statutory mechanism that prevents public access to documents about criminal history and the benefit of not disclosing those records upon most requests. Expungement is defined as the act of legally:
- Striking out documents or information in files, computers, and other depositories relating to criminal charges
Without this occurring, the records of criminal charges remain accessible to law enforcement agencies and, in many circumstances, to the public at large.
Once a criminal record is expunged, generally speaking, records cannot be accessed for general law enforcement or civil use. However, under certain exceptional situations, the deleted documents can be searched, retrieved, and used, but this occurs only in extraordinary circumstances that generally require a court order or statutory authorization of some sort.
Can All Offenses Be Sealed?
The purpose of criminal record expungement is to give individuals who may have made mistakes in the past that involve a run-in with law enforcement another opportunity to clean up their background. However, there are times or offenses where the state or Federal government may deny the opportunity to have a sealed criminal background.
Criminal Convictions That Do Not Qualify for Expungement
While these offenses will vary from state-to-state, generally speaking, if you have been convicted of a major violent felony such as:
- Child molestation
- Sexually based offenses
- Offenses involving children
If you are convicted of those crimes or similar violent or major violent felonies, a criminal conviction or criminal arrest expungement will generally not be an option for you to pursue in your quest to get your criminal background cleared.
Expungement Can Be Difficult at Times
Certain instances will hurt your chance of criminal record expungement, in some situations that include multiple criminal offenses or crimes where requirements such as restitution or community service requirements exist. If you have been convicted of a crime and there was a requirement to pay restitution, it is very easy for all restitution payments not to be fully repaid or slip through the cracks.
Criminal Convictions Expunged in Your State
Just because a crime eligible for the Indiana expungement law may not qualify everywhere in the United States, each state has independent laws and rules for expungement. If you have been convicted of a Federal crime, you are subject to national regulations concerning expungement regardless of which state you dedicated your criminal offense in. Additionally, each state manages expungement in various means. Some may secure your document; others may reserve your judgment; others might expunge your document. No matter the lawful terminology, most of the times, a successful expungement proceeding suggests you will have the ability to treat the conviction as if it never ever existed.
How to Determine if a Crime Can be Expunged?
Well, you could do some lengthy and potentially frustrating and confusing legal research or pursue the more straightforward option, which is to contact a criminal record expungement attorney and ask for a meeting and discuss your offense. Once that’s done, the next step is to apply for an expungement and pursue an expungement in whichever Indiana counties where you have had a criminal conviction and expect an expungement waiting period of anywhere between 90-120 before your process is complete.