Expunging or Restricting Access to Adult Criminal Records in Indiana

Currently, Indiana has two separate sets of laws that may help you clean up your criminal record. In some cases, your record may be eligible for expungement.

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Currently, Indiana has two separate sets of laws that may help you clean up your criminal record. In some cases, your record may be eligible for expungement -- that is, complete erasure. In others, your record may qualify for restricted access. If access to your criminal record is restricted under Indiana law, it means that only criminal justice agencies and, sometimes, child service agencies can see your record. Whether your record is expunged or restricted, you may legally state on an employment application that you have not been convicted of a crime.

Here are the circumstances under which your criminal record may qualify for expungement or restricted access.

If You Do Not Have a Conviction on Your Criminal Record

Expungement. You can file a petition to have your criminal record expunged if you were not actually charged with a crime or if the charges against you were dropped because:

  • of mistaken identity
  • you did not in fact commit the crime, or
  • there was no probable cause to believe you committed the crime.

Your petition will most likely be granted unless you have a record of arrests other than minor traffic offenses, or additional criminal charges are pending against you.

(Indiana Code § 35-38-5-1.)

Restricted access. You can petition to restrict access to your criminal record if:

  • you were arrested but not charged with a crime (30 day waiting period)
  • you were acquitted of all charges (30 day waiting period), or
  • you were convicted but your conviction was later vacated (one year waiting period).

 (Indiana Code § 35-38-5-5.5.)

Special provision for DNA evidence. If your conviction was reversed and the case was dismissed, you may petition to have your DNA profile expunged from the state DNA database. (Indiana Code § 10-13-6-18.)

If There Is a Conviction on Your Criminal Record

Restricted access for misdemeanors or Class D felony offenses. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor or a Class D felony, you may petition to restrict access to your criminal record if:

  • you did not cause bodily injury
  • you did not commit a sex offense
  • at least 8 years have passed since you met all the requirements of your sentence, and
  • you do not have any new felony convictions.

(Indiana Code § 35-38-8.)

Restricted access for other offenses. If you have been discharged from probation, imprisonment, or parole, and it has been at least 15 years since the date of your discharge, you may petition the state police to restrict access to your criminal record. (Indiana Code § 35-38-5-5.)

Getting Legal Help

Indiana’s expungement and criminal record restriction laws are complex. To learn more about cleaning up your criminal record in Indiana -- and to discuss your personal circumstances -- you should contact a qualified criminal law attorney. A good lawyer can guide you each step of the way.

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