In Indiana, you may be able to expunge—that is, seal or otherwise clean up—your criminal record under the circumstances described below.
In general, an expunged criminal record is essentially erased or sealed. When this happens, the record will be hidden from public view. In most cases, after your record is expunged or sealed, you can legally state on an employment application that you haven't been convicted of a crime. (Ind. Code § 35-38-9-10 (2023).)
Here are the circumstances under which your criminal record may qualify for expungement.
Non-conviction records may be eligible for expungement and sealing. Sealing a criminal record typically prohibits anyone from accessing it without a court order.
After a waiting period of one year from the date of your arrest, you can file a petition to have your criminal record expunged and sealed if:
You can file a petition to expunge non-conviction records without paying a fee. Also, if the prosecuting attorney agrees, you may petition earlier than after the one-year wait period. (Ind. Code § 35-38-9-1 (2023).)
Convictions for many misdemeanors, Class D or Level 6 felonies, and Class D or Level 6 felonies that were reduced to misdemeanors, may be expunged and sealed. With some exceptions, the sealed records can't be disclosed to anyone without a court order.
Records of more serious felony convictions will remain public even after expungement, although they must be clearly marked as having been expunged. Some convictions, however, are ineligible for expungement (more on that below).
If you were convicted of an expungement-eligible misdemeanor, Class D or Level 6 felony that was reduced to a misdemeanor, or Class D or Level 6 felony, you can petition to expunge and seal your criminal record if:
Wait periods. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor or a Class D or Level 6 felony that was reduced to a misdemeanor, you must wait five years from the date of your conviction before applying for expungement. If you were convicted of a Class D or Level 6 felony, the waiting period is eight years from the date of your conviction. A person can seek approval from the prosecuting attorney to file for expungement earlier than the five- or eight-year wait period.
Ineligible offenses. Convictions for some Class D or Level 6 felonies, including homicide, offenses that resulted in bodily injury, human trafficking, perjury, and crimes committed while serving as an elected official or candidate for public office, are ineligible for sealing.
(Ind. Code §§ 35-38-9-2, 35-38-9-3, 35-38-9-6 (2023).)
If you were convicted of a felony other than a Class D or Level 6 felony, you may petition to expunge your record if:
Some felony convictions, including those for most violent crimes, sex offenses, official misconduct, and human trafficking, cannot be expunged.
For most felony convictions, you must wait eight years after the date of your conviction (or three years after the completion of your sentence) before petitioning for expungement. If you were convicted of a felony that resulted in serious bodily injury, or you were serving as an elected official or were a candidate for public office when you were convicted, you must get the prosecutor's consent and wait ten years from the date of your conviction (or five years after completion of your sentence).
(Ind. Code §§ 35-38-9-4, 35-38-9-5, 35-38-9-7 (2023).)
Indiana's expungement laws are complex, and they can change at any time. To learn more about cleaning up your criminal record in Indiana—and to discuss your personal circumstances—you should contact a qualified criminal defense attorney. A good lawyer can guide you each step of the way. Indiana Legal Help also provides expungement resources online.