Indiana Code 35-38-8 allows Indiana citizens with certain criminal offenses to seal their records. The law allows for anyone who has been acquitted, who has had a case dismissed or who has had a conviction vacated to restrict the public disclosure of their arrest record. More importantly, the law also allows for those convicted of a misdemeanor or Class D felony (not resulting in injury to another person) the opportunity to restrict their criminal records from the public once they finish their sentence and while remaining felony-free for eight years. If a petition is filed and all restrictions are met, a judge is required to grant the petition. Once the petition is granted, criminal records would only be available to law enforcement agencies, treatment agencies and service providers as required by a court.
Despite the law, all traces of a criminal past won’t automatically disappear for good. While I.C. 35-38-8 does restrict public access to certain criminal records, it does not affect records in the public domain. A person’s criminal history could still be referenced in past newspaper articles, blogs, television reports or other places that contain information on the court records.
The law can be extremely helpful for those that meet the law’s restrictions. I.C. 35-38-8 is intended to help lower-level criminals find and keep jobs by keeping employers from finding out about older convictions. Those who have had their records sealed will have the ability to check “no” when asked on a job application or other document if they have ever been arrested or convicted of a felony.
If you have questions, think you might be eligible for expunging your criminal record or are interested in expunging your criminal record, please call our office today (812) 282-7736.
By: Nick A. Karaffa