If I want to have my record expunged so that I can get a job, how do I go about this and how much does it cost?

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If I want to have my record expunged so that I can get a job, how do I go about this and how much does it cost?

Asked on January 28, 2014 under Criminal Law, Indiana

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

On July 1, 2013, Indiana’s new expungement law (House Enrolled Act 1482) went into effect.   Under this new law, individuals who meet certain criteria will be able to expunge their criminal records.

What is expungement?

Expungement is the destruction or sealing of criminal records so that they are only available in limited circumstances.  Under Indiana’s new expungement law, expunged records are sealed and may only be released by court order or to a law enforcement officer acting in the course of their official duty.

The new Indiana law states that the civil rights of a person whose conviction is expunged shall be restored and it shall be unlawful for anyone to discriminate against a person – including discrimination in employment – based on a person’s conviction that has been expunged.

Who may have their records expunged?

You may have your records expunged only if there are no charges pending against you, you do not have a suspended driver’s license, and you have not been convicted of a crime for a certain number of years (between 5 – 10 years depending on the severity of the crime).

For a misdemeanor or Class D felony reduced to a misdemeanor, you may petition the court for an expungement five years after conviction.  For most non-violent felonies the waiting period is eight years.  For more serious felonies, the waiting period is ten years and the consent of the prosecuting attorney is required. Expungement is not available to sex offenders, violent offenders or those convicted of official misconduct.

Additionally, if you were arrested but not prosecuted or your conviction was overturned on appeal you may have your arrest records expunged as soon as one year after the date of arrest.

How are records expunged?

In order to have the records expunged, you must file a petition to expunge in the county in which the conviction was entered.  If you are seeking to expunge multiple convictions in the same county you must do so in the same petition.  If you wish to expunge convictions in separate counties you must file a petition in each county in which a conviction was entered.

The law requires payment of a $141 state court civil filing fee and forbids fee waivers for expungement requests.  The exception to this is a petition for expungement of arrest records which has no filing fee.  If the prosecuting attorney objects to the petition to expunge the court shall hold a hearing on the merits of the petition.

You may only petition for expungement once in your lifetime, so you must seek to have all of your convictions expunged at the same time (or within a 1 year period for convictions in separate counties).  If a petition for expungement is denied you must wait 3 years before filing another petition to expunge.

Do I need an attorney to get records expunged?

Due to the complexity of the law and the fact that you may only petition to expunge once in your lifetime, it is highly recommended that you do so with the help of an attorney.  The Indiana Division of State Court Administration has posted the forms for petitions to expunge records; they are available here: http://www.in.gov/judiciary/2706.htm

Estimated cost for a lawyer to get the conviction expunged with no guarantee of success is $1,500.00 to $2,000.00.


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