HOW TO EXPUNGE AN INDIANA CRIMINAL RECORD & RESTORE FIREARM RIGHTS
Stop Past Mistakes from Holding You Back
There isn’t anyone who wants a criminal record. Criminal records can make getting a decent job nearly impossible, make it hard to find a decent place to live, and even take away constitutional rights like your Second Amendment right to own a gun. Once you’ve finished your sentence and paid your debt to society, you shouldn’t be permanently branded and punished for the rest of your life.
If you’re arrested or charged with a crime in Indiana, the Indiana State Police and courts usually create a criminal record that’s easy for anyone to access and never goes away. This happens even in cases where you’ve been found not guilty, your charges were dismissed, or vacated on appeal. You can be permanently branded with a criminal record for something that you didn’t even do.
Indiana’s online criminal search portal makes it incredibly easy for anyone to find your criminal record. It doesn’t even take a background check. Anyone with an internet connection can find detailed, private information in a matter of minutes. Fortunately, Indiana has passed some of the most forgiving expungement laws in the country.
Indiana allows for the expungement of both felony and misdemeanor convictions, arrest records, and provides a way for many to restore their firearm rights. Our law firm has helped thousands of clients get rid of criminal records of every kind, and we hear success stories from them often. If a criminal record is currently holding you back, keep reading to see if we can help.
Know Your Options
Indiana provides multiple ways to get rid of or limit the availability of criminal records and restore your Second Amendment rights, so it’s very important to review the specific circumstances surrounding the incidents on your record to determine the best method for you.
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Reducing Felony Convictions in Indiana
Indiana State law allows most Class D felony convictions to be reduced three years after completing your sentence. This does not seal your record or remove it from the public record, but it changes your conviction from a felony to a misdemeanor. Unless there is another reason your firearm rights have been taken, reducing your felony conviction will typically restore your constitutional right to own a gun. When you cannot satisfy the waiting period to expunge a felony conviction, it is common to reduce the felony and then later expunge the conviction when enough time has passed.
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Expunging Convictions in Indiana
Indiana State law allows for the expungement of most misdemeanor and felony convictions. Certain violent offenses and many sex crimes are not eligible, but Indiana law has less restrictions on the types of convictions you can expunge than most other states. However, expungement alone does not entirely remove your record from public view. Instead, your record is marked as “Expunged” in the public record and it cannot be used against you for most circumstances. Your conviction must also be sealed for it to be entirely removed from the public record. Misdemeanors and lower-level felonies are automatically sealed when expunged, but more serious felonies often cannot be sealed. An expungement will also restore your firearm rights, regardless of whether it has been sealed.
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Expunging Arrest Records in Indiana
When your record did not result in a conviction, you can usually expunge and seal it after waiting one year. There are additional requirements to seal records that did not result in a conviction, but they are typically easy to satisfy. This is usually the route you want to take when your charges were dismissed, you were arrested and never charged, you were found not guilty, your conviction was overturned on appeal, or your charges were dismissed after completing a pretrial diversion program.
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Indiana Firearm Rights Restoration
Indiana law provides two main ways to restore your firearm rights. Unless there is another reason your Second Amendment rights have been restricted, expunging a felony conviction will restore your firearm rights. The same applies to felony reductions. It’s important to understand why your firearms were taken away and if federal law will pose a problem in restoring your rights. Restoring firearm rights involves both state and federal law, so it can be somewhat more complicated to accomplish.
This Information is for You
Since the majority of people reading this aren’t lawyers, we’ve tried to simplify the legal jargon on our website, so regular people may follow along and get the information needed to understand their rights. However, before we get started, we should be clear that some of this information can get complicated, and, in many cases, it’s best to seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
To help you understand your rights, our lawyers have developed a tool that can be helpful in figuring out your options. This tool can’t be perfectly accurate in every situation, but our lawyers have invested substantial time and resources working to make it as accurate as possible.
You can get started by using our Secure Eligibility Test, or you can give us a call at (844) 947-3732 to see if our legal staff is available for a free consultation. Be aware that our staff is often busy with current clients and a high volume of calls and appointments. If you’re serious about getting rid of your record, your best bet is to take our Secure Eligibility Test and then schedule an appointment to discuss your results and options.
Legal Effects of Sealing and Expunging Indiana Records
The two biggest issues our law firm’s clients encounter relate to obtaining employment and restoring firearm rights, so we’re going to discuss each. Indiana law permits expungement, sealing, and reduction for both conviction and arrest records, and it also allows you to restore firearm rights and expunge juvenile records. There is a wide range of different legal methods to deal with your criminal record, and it really depends on what post-conviction remedy you’re talking about in answering these questions.
How will expunging my conviction or arrest record help me get a job?arrow_drop_down
The answer to this question depends on which type of post-conviction remedy you qualify for, but each of the criminal record services discussed above should be helpful in obtaining a job.
Expunging convictions that is then sealed is the best way to improve your chances of getting a job with a criminal record. Expunging your conviction releases you from the judgement of guilt, allowing you to legally state that you have not been convicted of the expunged conviction. When your conviction is only expunged, it is still available in the public record, but the record is marked as “expunged” and cannot be legally used against you in most hiring situations. However, misdemeanors and lower-level felonies are also automatically sealed at expungement, which removes the conviction record from the public record entirely. For serious felonies, particularly for those where bodily injury is involved, you will probably not be able to have your record sealed after expungement.
If you’re not able to expunge your conviction, you may be able to reduce your felony to a misdemeanor. Although a misdemeanor conviction will remain on your record, getting rid of your felony conviction should be very helpful in improving your chances of obtaining a job. The bottom line is that it’s almost always easier to get a job when you’re no longer a felon.
Arrest records are not as much of a barrier to employment as convictions, but they can still hurt your chances. While it is illegal for an employer to discriminate in most cases for an arrest record, you can’t affect an employer’s perception in making their hiring decision, so expunging an arrest record should also help your employment prospects.
How can I restore my Second Amendment right to own and possess a firearm?arrow_drop_down
Not everybody with a conviction in Indiana can restore their constitutional right to own or possess firearms, but Indiana law provides two accessible methods for restoration.
Expunging a felony conviction is typically the best way to restore your firearm rights in Indiana. In addition to restoring your Second Amendment rights, it also expunges your conviction in the public record, which has a host of other benefits unrelated to firearm rights.
When you can’t set aside your felony conviction, you may be able to reduce your felony to a misdemeanor, which will also restore your firearm rights. A felony reduction does not expunge or seal your conviction, but it does change your felony conviction to a misdemeanor in the public record.
We will go into more detail regarding restoring Second Amendment rights in Indiana on our Indiana Firearm Rights Restoration page, but restoration typically involves both state and federal law that should be handled by an experienced lawyer. The lawyers in our firm regularly handle complex firearm rights restoration issues, so a good first step in exploring whether you can restore your firearm rights would be to take our Secure Eligibility Test. Then, if appropriate, set up a time to speak with our legal staff about how to proceed.
What You Need to Do to Get Rid of Your Record
If you are tired of having a criminal record hold you back, reach out to us by taking our Secure Eligibility Test or by giving us a call at (844) 947-3732. Our law firm has helped thousands of people with criminal records move on in life, leaving many of the negative effects of a criminal record behind. Our experienced attorneys and legal staff are here to help you figure out what criminal record clearing services best fit your needs, and then help you accomplish your goals. Using our secure, confidential Eligibility Test is the best way to get the process started.
Some of the potential benefits of expunging your criminal record in Indiana include:
- Removing a finding of guilt from your criminal record to help you get a better job
- Becoming eligible for professional licenses you previously did not qualify for
- Restoring your Second Amendment right to bear arms
- No longer being treated as a felon
- Increased eligibility for student loans, housing assistance, and government programs
- Improving your ability to obtain higher-paying job opportunities
- Improving access and admission to college and other educational resources
Each of Indiana’s methods for dealing with your criminal record have different requirements and are meant for different circumstances. To move forward, it’s important to determine what Indiana criminal record services are available to you, and then select the services that will provide the greatest benefit. Eastman Meyler, PC is here to help you navigate this very specific area of Indiana criminal law, fight to protect your rights, and assist you in moving forward in life without the effects of an Indiana criminal record.