Having a criminal record can wreak havoc on every aspect of your life. It may exclude you from applying for housing or employment, even if the offense was minor. Luckily, the state of Indiana has two ways in which you can wipe the slate clean. Both of these methods will extinguish past offenses and allow you to honestly state that you have no criminal record.
If you were charged with a crime but not convicted, you will still have that charge on your record. Expungement allows someone in this situation to have their record completely erased. If, on the other hand, you were convicted of a crime but your conviction was later vacated or if you were acquitted in court, you can apply to have your record restricted. Having a restricted record means that it can only be accessed by justice agencies and child services.
Strangely, The Advisory Task Force on Remote Access to and Privacy of Electronic Court Records has recently advised the Indiana Supreme Court to post certain expungement records online. While this may seem harmless, it could have devastating effects on those attempting to eliminate their records.
According to the Indiana Supreme Court, this recommendation entails petitions for expungement and restricted access being posted online while they await a judge’s ruling. If this advice is followed, all petitions, or official requests for expungement, would be posted on the mycase.in.gov website as public information for trial cases. If the courts approve an expungement, the petition would be removed from the website. If the petition is denied, however, it would remain online indefinitely.
While this new procedure has not yet been deemed official, the Indiana Supreme Court almost always accepts recommendations from the Advisory Task Force on Remote Access to and Privacy of Electronic Court Records. Petitions for expungement and restricted access could be posted online as soon as next year.
What it Means
Thankfully, the recommendation in question will not dramatically affect the expungement process. If your petition is approved, the petition, as well as your entire criminal record, will be washed away. The problem lies in situations where expungement is denied. In these cases, keeping petitions posted online would only add to the stress of having a criminal record. Many may not even apply for expungement if they fear a denied petition being immortalized on the internet.
What’s more, the presence of a denied petition would make a person’s criminal record even more compelling. A background check showing a crime is off-putting, but seeing the petition would make the offense look worse. After all, a crime must be very serious if it did not qualify for expungement.
Contact Hessler Law Firm
Since this recommendation has not yet been enacted, now is the time to get your criminal record wiped out. Contact the Indianapolis criminal defense attorneys at (317) 886-8800 to see how we can help. With years of experience in helping people clear their past offenses, Hessler Law Firm will stop at nothing to get your record expunged or labeled as restricted, if possible.