Indiana Passes New Criminal Expungement Law

Below is the text of an article that I will soon publish in a local magazine.  This is important reading!  Indiana expungement law changed dramatically on July 1, 2013.  A lot of the information you find online may have been published before the new law was passed.  This information is current.

If you have looked for a job at any time in recent memory, you know that potential employers can – and do – conduct criminal background checks.  So imagine that you hit your job interview out of the park with the hiring manager at that new software development company you want to work for!  But so did Brittany, who’s going for the same job.  The problem is, when you were in college six years ago, you got nailed for a Public Intoxication while Brittany was home, staying out of trouble.  What’s that company going to think?  Probably that Brittany is the responsible one, and you’re unpredictable.

Who’s going to get that job?  Brittany, and it won’t even be that close.  Come to think of it, you sent a lot of applications and resumes out, and barely got a bite.  Do you think it’s because you had to list the conviction on the application?  Let’s face it – in our current economy, just one minor offense could shut you out of the few good jobs that are available right now.  That doesn’t seem fair, does it?

There once was a time when that Public Intoxication conviction could follow you forever, hindering your chances at a better job – meaning that the Brittanys of the world would win out every time.  Luckily, the times have changed.  Indiana recently passed a law that allows people convicted of misdemeanors and even certain non-violent felonies to have those conviction records expunged, making them forever inaccessible to employers or anyone else conducting a criminal background check.

In order to get records of misdemeanor convictions expunged, certain criteria must be met.  First, in most circumstances, the conviction must be at least five years old, and you cannot have been convicted of any other crime in the last five years.  Second, you can’t have any pending criminal charges (but you obviously don’t do you – which is why you’re looking for that great job!).  Third, you cannot have a suspended driver’s license.

For Class D Felonies, the waiting period is longer – your conviction must be at least eight years old, not just five.   For other types of felonies, your record can be wiped clean, but only after a longer waiting period, and in some circumstances, only with the consent of the prosecuting attorney.  However, certain types of felonies like sex crimes and violent offenses are never eligible for expungement under the new law.

So, if done the right way, you can have many, if not all, of your misdemeanor and minor felony convictions and arrest records expunged, meaning you will stand on equal footing with Brittany in spite of your youthful transgressions.  Why?  Because not only will these records not show up in court files, employers are prohibited from asking you to disclose arrest and conviction records that have been erased.

It is possible to petition the court to expunge the records by yourself, but experts recommend that you hire an attorney to make this petition for you, because the law only gives you one shot at expunging the records, and if you do it wrong, you may never get another chance to do it right.

Although Brittany might be OK for the job, you know that you are perfect for it!  Explore the possibility of expunging your criminal records to make sure she doesn’t get an unfair advantage.

Charles Hewins is an Evansville, Indiana attorney.  He can help clients who want to: expunge Indiana DUIs, expunge Indiana misdemeanors, expunge Indiana felonies, expunge Indiana arrest records.  Contact Indiana expungement lawyer Charles Hewins of Hewins Law Firm today.  He can be reached at 812-424-0650