Who can access an expunged Criminal Record? Sealing records related to a criminal arrest or conviction obscures information from being accessed by the majority of people, including the general public. However, sealing documents about a criminal case or arrest means that the records still exist, but access to them is only available to a very small subset of authorized persons, such as criminal justice agencies like law enforcement or court personnel or, in certain limited circumstances, child services agencies like Child Protective Services. Indiana Law Regarding Expungement and Sealing of Criminal Records Under Indiana law, a person is eligible to have access to certain records related to a criminal conviction or arrest restricted or erased entirely. The records can be expunged if (i) a person was not actually charged with a crime, (ii) the person did not actually commit a crime, or (iii) prosecutors determined there was no probable cause to charge the person with a crime.
Access to records about an arrest or conviction can be sealed in other instances, including where a person was found not guilty of the crime he or she was arrested for or charged with, if the person was convicted of a misdemeanor, or the person committed certain violent and non-violent felonies. In each case, there are specific periods which must have passed before the person can seek to have the record sealed, typically based on the seriousness of the offense. As an example, if a person committed a felony which involved serious bodily harm to another individual, then he or she would need to wait for ten years to have passed before applying to have his or her record sealed, whereas someone who committed a non-violent felony would need to have waited eight years before applying for restricted access. Someone who committed a misdemeanor would only need to wait 5 years before applying.
An individual typically must also not have committed any other offenses within the enumerated waiting period, completed any sentence or term of release relating to the original conviction and not have a suspended driver*s license to have his or her criminal record sealed. Why Having Your Criminal Records Sealed or Expunged is so Important One reason it is essential to have your Indiana criminal record sealed or expunged if possible are the consequences associated with such a record. Your criminal record information is public record, accessible by anyone. The criminal record can keep you from obtaining or keeping a job, keep you from being able to legally purchase firearms, can cause you to have a lower credit score or even higher insurance rates. More importantly, a public criminal record will often cause you tremendous chronic stress.
Expunging or restricting access to a criminal record may reduce insurance rates, improve chances of employment, and even increase your credit score. Today most employers will not make a job offer to a candidate before having performed a background check. However, under a law passed by the Indiana Legislature which became effective on July 1, 2013, known as Indiana*s Second Chance Law, it is illegal for an Indiana employer to refuse to hire or otherwise discriminate against anyone because of a sealed or expunged conviction or arrest record. Employers also cannot ask applicants or employees about sealed or expunged convictions. A granted request to expunge a criminal record also allows you to legally state on an employment or housing application that you have not been convicted of a crime.
Having a criminal record expunged is also crucial because, in Indiana, your firearms rights are restored following an expungement. The one exception to this rule is that, if you were convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony involving domestic violence, your firearm rights could not be restored through an expungement. Seeking expungement may also help you to have your voting rights restored if you were previously convicted of a crime that is subsequently expunged.
Finally, merely having closure on the part of your past that you would rather forget is another reason that having your criminal record expunged or sealed is such an important step to take if you qualify. Not having a former arrest or conviction hanging over your head, just waiting for someone to discover if you apply for a firearms license, a job, a mortgage, or a rental unit is better than being in a constant state of fear as to how the consequences of one mistake will haunt you for the rest of your life. Contact Indiana Criminal Expungement Attorney David Frangos for a Free Consultation Indiana criminal defense and expungement attorney David Frangos of Frangos Legal offers several different packages for those who are seeking expungement or sealing of a criminal record in Indiana. David*s services are affordable, and he is well versed in the often complicated and time-consuming process of having your criminal record expunged or sealed under Indiana law.
Visit http://indianaexpungementlaw.com or David*s main website for more information regarding the process of having your criminal or arrest record sealed or expunged. You can reach David Frangos of Frangos Legal by emailing [email protected], by telephone at (317) 643-1345, or by booking online. With the initial consultation free, there is no reason not to contact David today!