This part of the book looks at the laws governing the process of obtaining expunction in the state of Indiana. It also provides readers with the information that they need about the process of expungement, such as how to determine their eligibility and which documents to attach along with the petition form that they have to submit to the court.
At present, there are two main sets of rules and laws that govern the state of Indiana as far as cleaning up one’s criminal record is concerned. One law deals with a process that is known as expungement. As has been mentioned in other sections, the process of expungement leads to the total erasure of the criminal record of a person. This means that any files that bear the criminal charges or offenses of the individual are completely destroyed and deleted. If another person, institute or law enforcement agency also has a file bearing the criminal record of a person who has been granted expunction by the court, then it is legally bound upon this person, agency or institute to delete this record. Once a person has obtained expunction of his or her criminal record, he or she has the legal right to truthfully state that he or she has a clean state and has never had any run-in with the law.
The second law that governs the state of Indiana is associated with restricting access to an individual’s criminal history or file. If a person qualifies for having restricted access to his or her criminal records, then it means that the criminal record is kept away from the public eye. Only certain authorized bodies, such as law enforcement agency and child service agencies have the right to access the person’s file bearing his or her criminal history. Even with restricted access, the individual is given the right to legally and truthfully claim that he or she has never been convicted for a criminal offense.
The statute regarding expunction can be reviewed on the website of the state (http://www.in.gov/judiciary/admin/files/pubs-trial-court-44-expungement-statute.pdf).
If a person does not have any conviction on his or her criminal record (that is, if he or she was not properly charged for a criminal offense or if the charge against the individual was dropped), then or she can apply to the court in his or her respective county to have the criminal record expunged. A charge for a criminal offense against a person may be dropped for a number of reasons. A person may have been charged in a case of mistaken identity (where another person used his or her name or identity and carried out a criminal offense). Secondly, the person himself or herself may not have actually been involved in the crime and, thirdly, there may have been no probable cause or reason for the court to believe that this very person committed a criminal offense.
Unless the individual has any other convictions or charges, such as violations of traffic rules or any other criminal charges, then his or her petition will be accepted by the court.
If a person was arrested but was not actually charged for a crime or if a person was acquitted of any and every charge, then he or she can apply to the court to have access restricted to his or her criminal record after a waiting period of thirty days. If the person was initially convicted of a criminal offense but it was later vacated, then he or she can apply to have access restricted to the criminal records after a waiting period of one year.
In addition to this, if an individual’s conviction has been reversed and his or her case has been dismissed, then he or she has the right to submit an application to the court to have his or her DNA profile removed from the DNA database maintained by the state.
If an individual has been convicted for a Class D felony or any misdemeanor, then he or she can apply to the court to have access restricted to his or her criminal record. However, there are certain conditions that apply to this. The person must not have caused bodily injury to anyone, the person must not have committed any offense that is sexual in nature and the person must not have been convicted again for a felony. In addition to this, the person has to wait for a period of approximately eight years after meeting the requirements of the sentence doled out to him or her before an application can be submitted for restricting access to the criminal record.
Furthermore, a person can also apply to the court to have access restricted to his or her criminal record if he or she was discharged from imprisonment, parole or probation at least fifteen years ago. The date can be mentioned on the petition sent to the state.
Despite the two laws concerning the state of Indiana that have two different options (expungement of criminal records as well as restricting access to criminal records), a person has to be eligible for either of them in order to be able to apply to the court. There are certain convictions that make a person ineligible for having his or her criminal records expunged or for having access to her or her criminal history files restricted.
As is the case with most states, if a person has been registered as a sex offender or a violent offender, then he or she may not petition to the court under either of the two laws governing the state. Furthermore, people who have been convicted or charged for what is known as official misconduct, human trafficking offence, sexual trafficking offences, homicide offences or sex crimes offences cannot apply to the state for expunction of criminal records or for having access to their criminal records restricted.
Many other states in the United States also have similar exceptions, which have been discussed at the end of the section for each individual state.