Indiana Criminal Expungement Update 2016
Indiana Criminal Expungement – 2016 Updates
At Chambers Law Office, we regularly work with clients to prepare Indiana criminal expungement petitions to have their criminal records sealed or expunged. These expungement laws can be quite complicated and we strive to make the process as streamlined as possible. To that end, this blog will discuss some of the most recent updates to the expungement laws.
What is an Indiana Criminal Expungement?
If a person has a criminal conviction or criminal arrest on their record, they may wish to have those records expunged or sealed. In Indiana, under Indiana Code 35-38-9, if a person fulfills the requirements as laid out in the law, they may be eligible to have their records ordered sealed by the court.
If someone has an arrest on their record, but that arrest did not result in a conviction, the arrest record may be sealed one year after the date of arrest or charging.
If a person has a criminal conviction on their record, after waiting the required period of time, and if the person fulfills all other requirements, they may petition the court to expunge the record. This expungement does not destroy the records, but either removes them from public record or marks them as expunged, depending on the level of offense. Once granted, a person may not be discriminated against for the expunged convictions.
There have been many updates to the expungement laws since they were first introduced in 2013. It is important to work with an expungement lawyer who is familiar with these changes.
Update 1: Gun Rights and Expungement
Currently, as of 2016, if a person has a conviction expunged, including a felony conviction, that expungement may reinstate the person’s civil rights, including the right to be considered a “proper person” under Indiana Code 35-47-1. While a person must still fit the definition of a proper person, an expunged conviction will not automatically prohibit a person from being found to be proper under Indiana or federal law. However, there are some exceptions to this, including if the conviction was for a domestic offense, which would require a separate petition to reinstate gun rights before a permit could be issued or a firearm purchased.
If you have questions about whether an expungement would reinstate your right to own or carry a firearm, you should consult an attorney to ensure you do not violate any state or federal laws.
Update 2: Indiana Criminal Expungement Petitions & E-Filing
Another recent update to the expungements laws is the need to begin e-filing the petitions. Indiana is slowly transitioning to e-filing in all counties, and it is important for an expungement attorney to be knowledgeable on how to e-file expungement petitions.
Due to the nature of expungement petitions, there is often confidential information contained in the petition. When e-filing an expungement request, the attorney must know what information is confidential, how to redact confidential information, and how to notify the court of the confidential filings. If not done properly, that confidential information may be made public.
Chambers Law Office is familiar with the e-filing procedures and if you have questions about e-filing an expungement petition, we are here to help.
Update 3: Expungement Orders and Driving Records
A final update to the expungement law is how the expungement order effects a driving record. Many of our clients are looking to expunge criminal convictions for OVWI or DUI, Operating While HTV or Driving While Suspended. While these convictions are eligible to be expunged, doing so does not always change a person’s driving status.
The expungement law was updated to include language that even though a conviction involving a motor vehicle may be expunged, if the person having the conviction expunged holds a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), the conviction may still be reported to the Indiana BMV, the Federal Motor Carrier Administration and the Commercial Driver’s License Information System, if reporting is required to comply with federal law. This means that even though the conviction may be removed from the person’ criminal record, the conviction may still be reported for purposes of CDL renewal and regulation. This is due to federal anti-masking laws that prohibit the masking of certain convictions of CDL holders.
If a person does not hold a CDL, however, a conviction may be removed from the driving record after it is ordered expunged, including convictions for OVWI, DUI, Driving While Suspended, Operating HTV or Reckless Driving. However, it is important to keep in mind that having a conviction expunged does not effect a current driver’s license suspension. Thus, if a person is currently HTV and has an underlying conviction that led to the HTV designation expunged, the HTV status will remain. In those cases, a person may have to apply for expungement and Specialized Driving Privileges in order to expunge and conviction and obtain a driver’s license.
Indiana Criminal Expungement Attorney
At Chambers Law Office, we represent clients in their petitions for expungement through Indiana, including in Marion County, Hamilton, Hancock, Boone, Shelby and Johnson Counties and many others. As a former Marion County deputy prosecutor, Julie Chambers has years of experience in the criminal courts and has been handling expungement petitions since they were first introduced. If you have questions about a petition to expungement a conviction or seal an arrest, contact Chambers Law Office today to speak with a lawyer at 317-450-2971.