Important Indiana Expungement Law Update
As I discussed in this January 2014 post, Indiana used to have one of the most restrictive expungement statutes in the country, creating an unfair and unnecessary roadblock to individuals who had long since paid their debt to society after youthful mistakes and were simply trying to move forward with their lives like everybody else.
Thankfully, Indiana legislators changed the expungement statute in 2013 as described in the aforementioned post, expanding its availability and giving more people an opportunity at a second chance, earning the new Criminal Code provision its moniker, “The Second Chance Law.”
The Indiana legislature further amended the state’s expungement law with additional revisions that went into effect on March 26, 2014. Some of the more significant changes that became effective on that date include:
- Lower burden of proof. The court must find by a preponderance of the evidence, rather than by “clear and convincing evidence,” that all of the statutory requirements for expungement have been met.
- Petitions for expungement and orders of expungement are now confidential.
- No waiver. The right to an expungement cannot be waived as part of any plea agreement.
- “Successful completion” of sentence no longer required. A petitioner no longer must prove that he or she had “successfully completed” their sentence but rather must show payment of all fines, fees, and court costs, and satisfaction of any restitution obligation.
- Allowance of subsequent petitions. A petitioner who omitted a conviction from his initial petition for expungement may now file a subsequent petition if the court finds the failure to list the conviction in the initial petition was in good faith, that the omission was due to excusable neglect or factors beyond petitioner’s control, and that the new filing is in the best interests of justice.
- Waiting period for felonies above Class D or Level 6. The wait period for filing an expungement petition is to no earlier than the later of eight years from the date of conviction, or three years from the completion of the person’s sentence
- Firearms restriction restored. Expungement of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence does not restore firearm rights. An individual must go through the firearm rights restoration process set forth in Indiana Code 35-47-4-7.
There are a number of additional changes that were made both substantively and procedurally to the expungement process, and the requirements for a sufficient and successful expungement petition can be detailed and complex. If you have questions about expungement or are seeking to file a petition for expungement, please do not hesitate to contact me at 317-983-5333 for a free initial consultation.
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