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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Hicks

Clearing Your Record: A Brief Overview of Expungement Laws in Indiana

Having a criminal record can be a significant barrier to many aspects of life, from securing employment to finding housing. Fortunately, Indiana has recognized the importance of giving individuals a second chance through its expungement laws. Expungement allows eligible individuals to erase or seal their criminal records, providing a fresh start and the opportunity to move forward without the burden of past mistakes. Please note that you must consult an attorney to receive the most accurate information regarding your eligibility for expungement.

Understanding Indiana Expungement Laws

Expungement, in the context of Indiana law, refers to the process of sealing or erasing certain criminal records, making them inaccessible to the general public. While not all convictions are eligible for expungement, Indiana's laws have evolved to provide a path to a clean slate for many individuals.

Eligibility for Expungement

Before pursuing expungement, it's crucial to understand the eligibility criteria:

  1. Waiting Period: In Indiana, a waiting period is imposed before you can seek expungement. Misdemeanor convictions generally require a waiting period of five years from the date of conviction, while felony convictions usually necessitate a ten-year waiting period. Certain exceptions apply for less serious offenses, and some convictions may not be eligible at all.

  2. No New Convictions: To qualify for expungement, you must have no new convictions during the waiting period. Any new criminal charges or convictions can make you ineligible for expungement.

  3. Non-Violent Offenses: Generally, only non-violent offenses are eligible for expungement. Violent crimes, sex offenses, and other serious felonies typically cannot be expunged.

  4. Restitution and Fines: You must have paid all restitution and fines associated with your conviction before applying for expungement.

The Expungement Process

Once you meet the eligibility criteria, the expungement process in Indiana typically involves the following steps:

  1. Petition Filing: You or your attorney will file a petition for expungement with the court in the county where the conviction occurred.

  2. Notice to Prosecution: The prosecutor's office is notified of your petition, and they may object to your request.

  3. Background Check: The court will conduct a background check to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria.

  4. Hearing: If there are no objections or if the court overrules any objections, a hearing may be scheduled. At the hearing, you will have the opportunity to present your case for expungement.

  5. Court Decision: The judge will make a decision based on your petition, background check, and any evidence presented at the hearing. If the judge approves the expungement, your criminal record will be sealed or erased as appropriate.

Benefits of Expungement

Expunging your criminal record in Indiana offers several significant benefits:

  1. Improved Employment Prospects: With a clean record, you may have an easier time finding employment, as many employers conduct background checks.

  2. Enhanced Housing Opportunities: Landlords often screen applicants based on their criminal history. Expungement can increase your chances of securing housing.

  3. Restored Civil Rights: Some civil rights, such as the right to vote and possess firearms, may be restored after expungement.

  4. Peace of Mind: Having a clean slate can reduce the stigma and anxiety associated with a criminal record, allowing you to move forward with your life.

Expungement laws in Indiana provide a pathway for individuals to overcome the obstacles presented by a criminal record. However, the process can be complex, and it's essential to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to navigate the legal requirements successfully.

If you meet the eligibility criteria and are ready for a fresh start, pursuing expungement could be a crucial step toward rebuilding your life and securing a brighter future.


The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from this site, clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient’s state. The content of this website contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. B. HICKS LAW PLLC expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all the contents of this website. Please contact B. HICKS LAW PLLC for a Consultation.

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