Having an Indiana criminal record may make it more difficult for you to find a job or a place to live, and it may also place other obstacles in your path. However, in some cases, you may be able to request having your record sealed under Indiana’s Second Chance Law, which seeks to reduce the damage criminal records cause some types of offenders.
Per Indy.gov, Indiana’s Second Chance Law restricts access to your criminal record, but it does not erase or expunge your criminal history. This means that it shields the details of your offense from the general public and non-law enforcement agencies. However, criminal justice agencies maintain access to your record no matter what. While the Second Chance Law applies to misdemeanor convictions, you may also be able to seek relief under it if your conviction is for one of several types of felonies.
In some cases, you may be able to have non-violent felony offenses sealed from your record. To seek this type of relief, you must wait at least eight years after you finished your sentence for the offense. You must have stayed out of the criminal justice system during this time, and you must not have any pending charges, among other compliance requirements.
Violent or sexual felonies
Certain violent or sexual felony offenses may also be eligible for sealing. If you wish to pursue relief under Indiana’s Second Chance Law for a violent or sexual felony, you must wait at least 10 years after you completed your sentence and all of its terms. You typically also need the prosecutor’s approval and need to have abstained from criminal activity during that 10-year span, among other eligibility requirements.
Requesting relief under Indiana’s Second Chance Law requires filing a petition. You may then have to take part in a hearing to determine if the courts approved your petition.