Eligibility for Expunging or Clearing Adult Criminal Records in Indiana

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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In Indiana, eligibility for criminal record expungement rests mostly on one concept: if you have an arrest record but no criminal charges to go with it, then you deserve a chance to clear (expunge) that arrest record from the system.

There are two scenarios in which an expungement application will likely be accepted: The individual never had criminal charges filed against them, or the individual’s criminal charges were ultimately dropped because either, mistaken identity took place, no offense was actually committed, or, there was not probable cause.

This means that if you were arrested for a crime but no criminal charges were ever filed, or charges were filed, butthey were dropped because of mistaken identity, lack of probable cause, or the court (and the state) saw that no offense ever occurred, then your arrest record is eligible for expungement.

Be aware that this remedy is available only for arrest records for which there are no convictions on record. Conviction records cannot be expunged. If you were convicted of a crime (regardless of having pled guilty or otherwise, your record is not eligible for expungement. Even if you were found not guilty at trial, you are not eligible for expungement: a conviction record must exist for a case to even make it that far, and then it’s too late. In Indiana, there is not a court procedure availablefor expunging adult conviction records.

Exceptions to Eligibility Rules:Though there is no means for getting a conviction record expunged by the court, it is possible to get rid of a criminal conviction by receiving a pardon from the Governor. This is, of course, extremely rare.

There is one partial exception to the eligibility rules: If at least 15 years have passed since the date you were discharged from prison/parole/probation, you can petition the law enforcement agency that arrested you directly (usually state police department) and ask them to restrict access to your criminal history record. This petition, if approved, will ensure that only criminal justice agencies have access to it, and your private life can be largely free of the record’s influence.

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