How to Expunge my Public Records in Indiana

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Deleting a public record means removing and destroying every form of documentation of the event listed in the record so that it is no longer accessible to the public. Sometimes, the events listed on a public record can negatively impact the life of an individual by limiting the chances of finding jobs, housing, or obtaining certain types of loans. A person with a criminal record may also have trouble securing professional licenses. Due to these and other reasons, many Indiana citizens desire to delete public records. However, it is legally impossible to delete public records in Indiana. Provisions are only made to restrict public disclosure or limit access to public records. Restricted records are still available in some form and can be accessed in limited circumstances.

What is a Public Record in Indiana?

Indiana designed a series of laws called the Access to Public Records Act (APRA) to guarantee public access to records of government bodies at all levels. The Act defines a public record as essentially any information created, maintained, or filed by government agencies. It includes any writing, paper, report, study, map, photograph, book, card, tape recording, or other material that is created, received, retained, maintained, or filed by or with a public agency. By providing the public with access to records of government bodies, ARPA allows citizens to obtain information relating to the government and to participate in the governmental process more fully.

Note that there are certain exceptions to ARPA. Certain records cannot be disclosed by a public agency unless disclosure is specifically required by state or federal state or ordered by a court under the rules of discovery. Common exceptions include:

  • Juvenile law enforcement records
  • Juvenile court records
  • Protective orders
  • Trade secrets
  • Confidential financial information received upon request from a person
  • Grade transcripts and license examination scores
  • Patient medical records and charts created by a health care provider unless the patient provides written consent for the record's disclosure
  • A photograph, a video recording, or an audio recording of an autopsy
  • A social security number contained in the records of a public agency

While Indiana citizens may have reasons to want public records deleted, state laws make no such provisions. However, it may be possible under certain conditions to have public records shielded from public view. Typically, this can be achieved by filing a petition to the court. In addition, we also offer record-sealing service to Indiana citizens who wish to start new lives without the handicap of previous misdemeanors.

Does Indiana allow Expungement?

Yes. Expungement in Indiana is a legal process for sealing criminal records. Under Indiana expungement law, expungement does not indicate an erasure or destruction of records. An expungement prevents access by non-governmental persons and organizations. If granted by a court, an expungement limits access to the following:

  • Arrests
  • Criminal charges
  • Criminal convictions
  • Delinquency adjudications
  • Trial court records
  • Appellate court records
  • Civil forfeiture records
  • Protective orders

Whether a criminal record qualifies for expungement depends on different factors such as:

  • The level of the offense involved
  • The nature of the record. That is, whether the record is related to an arrest, charge, or conviction
  • The amount of time that has passed since the arrest, charge, or conviction
  • The nature or characteristics of the petitioner

Contained in Chapter 35-38-9 of the Indiana Code is the list of criminal records eligible for expungement. These include arrest records, misdemeanor convictions, Class D or Level 6 felonies, and certain higher-level felonies. Expungement is not permitted immediately after an arrest, charge, or conviction. The waiting period depends on the nature of the record and the level of the offense. Typical waiting periods are:

  • One year - Arrests, charges, or juvenile delinquency adjudications
  • Five years - Misdemeanors and lower-level felonies reduced to misdemeanors
  • Eight years - Class D and Level 6 felonies
  • Eight or more years following conviction or three years from completion of sentence, whichever is later - Eligible major felonies.

Note that expungement is not automatic even after satisfying the waiting period. In some cases, additional conditions may apply.

Persons seeking expungement of records in relation to arrest, charges, and juvenile delinquency adjudications must meet the following criteria:

  • A minimum of one year must have passed since the arrest, charge, or juvenile delinquency
  • The arrest or charge did not lead to a conviction or juvenile delinquency adjudication or if it did, was overturned on appeal
  • No current participation in a pretrial diversion program
  • No convictions in the year before filing the expungement petition
  • No currently pending criminal charges
  • Successful completion of all diversion program requirements

For lower-level felonies and misdemeanors, the following requirements must be fulfilled:

  • A minimum of five years must have passed since the conviction
  • No convictions in the five years before applying for an expungement
  • No currently pending criminal charges
  • Payment of all fines, fees, court costs, and restitution orders
  • Payment of the expungement filing fee

The requirements for expunging Class D and Level 6 felonies are:

  • A minimum of eight years must have passed since the conviction
  • No convictions in the eight years before applying for an expungement
  • No currently pending criminal charges
  • Payment of all fines, fees, court costs, and restitution orders
  • Payment of the expungement filing fee

An individual may be eligible to expunge major felonies including Class C or Level 5 felonies and higher by satisfying the following conditions:

  • A minimum of eight years must have passed since the conviction
  • No convictions in the eight years before applying for an expungement
  • No currently pending criminal charges
  • Payment of all fines, fees, court costs, and restitution orders
  • Payment of the expungement filing fee

It may also be possible to expunge serious felonies; however, an individual must meet more requirements than is required for expunging lower-level convictions. First, prosecutor approval is required for offenses that involve serious bodily injury to another person or were committed while serving in an elected public position or as a candidate for public office. Other than obtaining prosecutor approval, an individual seeking expungement of serious felony convictions must also satisfy the following conditions:

  • A minimum of 10 years must have passed since the conviction or five more years since the completion of the sentence, whichever is later
  • No convictions must be on record in the 10 years before applying for an expungement
  • No currently pending criminal charges
  • Payment of all fines, fees, court costs, and restitution orders
  • Payment of the expungement filing fee
  • Prosecutor consent to expunge

Note that the following offenses are not eligible for expungement in Indiana under any circumstance:

  • Sex or violent offender as stated under Indiana Code § 11-8-8-5
  • Official misconduct under Indiana Code § 35-44.1-1-1
  • Convictions for two or more offenses involving the use of a deadly weapon that were not committed as part of the same episode of criminal conduct
  • Homicide, voluntary manslaughter, or involuntary manslaughter

How do I Expunge My Criminal Record in Indiana?

To have records expunged in Indiana, you must file a petition to expunge the record in the county in which the conviction disposition was entered. Persons seeking to expunge multiple convictions in the same county can do so in the same petition. For multiple convictions in separate counties, petitions must be filed in each of the counties in which a conviction was entered.

In most instances, the filing fee for an expungement is the same as the court's civil filing fee. However, the court may waive this fee for indigent persons. After filing the petition with the court, a notice of filing will be served on the prosecuting attorney who has a legal right to object to the expungement. If the prosecuting attorney objects to the petition to expunge, the court shall hold a hearing on the merits of the petition.

Per Indiana law, individuals may only petition to expunge their conviction records once in their lifetime. Hence, it is advised you seek to have all your convictions expunged at the same time (or within a one-year period for convictions in separate counties). Multiple petitions for the expungement of arrest records that do not result in a conviction are allowed. If a petition for expungement is denied due to the exercise of the court's discretion, there is a three-year waiting period before filing for another expungement.

Considering Indiana's complex expungement law and criteria, persons seeking expungement are advised to hire the services of experienced expungement lawyers.

Will my Expungement Record Show up on a Background Check in Indiana?

Expunged records do not show up on standard background checks including non-FCRA compliant background checks conducted by prospective employers, landlords, lending agents, professional licensing authorities, and educational institutions. However, expunged records will show up on background checks run by criminal justice agencies such as law enforcement, prosecutor offices, and courts.

How to Seal a Record in Indiana

Indiana allows a person who was arrested but not convicted to file a petition to seal the records relating to the arrest one year after the date of the arrest. However, to be eligible for sealing, the individual must not have any pending criminal charges. Once a petition to seal an arrest record has been granted, the court files, BMV records, and background check records of the Indiana State Police central repository records will be sealed and made publicly unavailable.

Indiana also allows criminal records of cases that were dismissed following a diversion agreement to be sealed. Individuals charged with a first offense for possession of marijuana, underage drinking, and shoplifting typically qualify for a diversion agreement.

The petitioning processes for expungement and sealing in Indiana are similar. Sealing application forms can be obtained from the clerk of court in the courthouse where the petition will be filed. Upon completing the form and submitting it to the court, a copy of the application must go to the prosecuting attorney who has the right to object within 30 days of receiving it. Subsequently, the court schedules a date for a hearing during which the judge decides whether to grant the petition. If the petition is granted, the judge issues an order sealing the requested records.

Note that no filing fee is required for a sealing petition in Indiana courts.

Who Can See My Sealed Record in Indiana?

Sealed records in Indiana are not accessible to the public. They will not show up on a criminal history check by noncriminal justice organizations or individuals. However, the following persons may still access a sealed record:

  • The court
  • Prosecuting attorney
  • Defense attorney
  • The FBI
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Immigration officers
  • Other law enforcement agencies

How to Delete Bankruptcy Records in Indiana

Indiana makes no provisions for deleting bankruptcy records except in instances where the record is untrue, misreported, or inaccurate. In such instances, bankruptcy suits can only be filed at a federal court. Otherwise, bankruptcy records will only be removed after the expiration of the time limitation on the record. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy record will remain on file for 10 years while a Chapter 13 bankruptcy typically stays on record for seven years before being automatically deleted. Although Indiana does not have an equivalent, the right to receive accurate credit reporting by credit bureaus and creditors in the state is governed by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Bankruptcy records are open records and can be accessed even through non-FCRA compliant records check services.

The FCRA also helps regulate hiring practices in Indiana and other states in the United States. It ensures the privacy, accuracy, and fairness of consumer information. The FCRA accomplishes this by having a set standard for collecting, disseminating, and using consumer information. Employers obtain consumer reports for background screening purposes. The FCRA's purpose is to help protect employers, employees, and potential job candidates.

What are Consumer Protection Laws in Indiana?

Consumer protection laws in Indiana are set forth to protect consumers in the state from scams, unfair, and unconscionable practices of business and ensure justice and fairness in the marketplace. That is the purpose of the Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act (DCSA), I.C. 24-5-0.5 et seq., which prohibits a seller from committing an unfair, abusive, or deceptive act, omission, or practice in connection with a consumer transaction. Proving a deceptive act is insufficient to give a consumer standing to bring and succeed on certain causes of action except where it is an "uncured" deceptive act (I.C. 24-5-0.5-2(a)(7)) or an "incurable" deceptive act (I.C. 24-5-0.5-2(a)(8)).

The Act defines an "uncured deceptive act" as a deceptive act where the damaged consumer has given requisite and timely notice to the seller and, after such notice, there has either been no "offer to cure" by the seller to the consumer within 30 days or the deceptive act has not been cured within a reasonable time after the consumer accepted the offer to cure. An "incurable deceptive act" is a deceptive act done by a seller as part of a scheme, artifice, or device with the intent to defraud or mislead.

Under the DCSA, a person who disseminates a false, misleading, or deceptive advertisement commits deception, pursuant to Section 35-43-5-3, which is a Class A misdemeanor. Pursuant to Section 24-5-0.5-4, any individual or consumer may bring an action to recover actual damages suffered or five hundred dollars, whichever is greater. Per Section 24-5-0.5-8 of the DCSA, only an Attorney General may bring an action against a seller who commits an incurable deceptive act. Such acts are subject to a civil penalty of a fine of up to five hundred dollars for each violation.

Indiana also has a Senior Consumer Protection Act which protects the elderly from financial predators. It allows senior consumers in the state - persons aged 60 and older - to seek legal action against businesses or individuals who knowingly and deceptively take control of seniors' assets and properties.

Although Indiana does not have specific data protection laws specific to privacy policies, under §24-4-14-8 of Chapter 14 of Article 4 of Title 24 of the Indiana Code, a business operating in the state is prohibited from disposing of unencrypted, or unreacted personal information belonging to its customers. Proper disposal requires shredding, incineration, erasing, or otherwise rendering the information unusable or illegible. Under §35-43-1-7 of Chapter 1 of Article 43 of Title 35 of the Indiana Code, Indiana also prohibits the knowing or intentional modification, destruction, or disclosure of data, a computer program, or supporting documentation without authorization.

Other consumer protection laws in Indiana include:

  • Indiana Homestead Laws
  • Indiana Antitrust Laws
  • Indiana Identity Theft Laws
  • Indiana Interest Rate Laws
  • Indiana Lemon Laws

How to Delete Lien Records in Indiana

A lien is a claim a person makes on your property if you owe money to that person. While there are different types of liens, such as security lien and judgment lien, all liens mean someone owes money to another person. A judgment lien in Indiana will remain on a debtor's property for ten years, regardless of whether the property changes hand. All liens in Indiana are public records that can be easily accessed. The state makes no provisions for persons to delete lien records. In order to have a lien removed, a debtor must pay off the debt owed or settle it.

To pay off a lien, contact the lienholder and get the balance for the payoff. Sometimes, a lien creditor may be willing to take less than their full amount to settle out a lien. It is also possible to take legal action against a lien by petitioning a local court to reverse a judgment or contest a lien filing. However, the legal action is more likely to be successful if the lien is invalid, inaccurate, or miscalculated.The County Recorder's Offices in Indiana maintains lien records across the state. To search a lien record, visit the location of the relevant County Recorder's Office in the state. Nominal fees may apply to search available records. Vehicle title and lien search is available online through the Indiana government website. Note that an Indiana government account is required to perform a search on the BMV database.

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