The New Law. House Enrolled Act No. 1482, effective July 1, 2013, was implemented with the goal of creating opportunities for people with criminal records to find meaningful employment. For this reason, it has earned the nickname “the second chance law.” The act dramatically amends the previous eligibility requirements and procedure for obtaining an expungement. This act is seriously life-changing for Indiana residents who are still feeling the consequences of their convictions many, many years after their crimes.
Here are some noteworthy features of the new law: Obtaining an expungement is relatively easy, but definitely requires patience. There is a waiting period following conviction that one must complete before petitioning for an expungement. This waiting period ranges from five years for misdemeanors to eight or ten years for more serious felonies. Fortunately, the qualifications for expungement eligibility are fairly minimal: as long as the crime is not specifically made ineligible in the law (violent felonies like murder or rape) and the waiting period is completed without getting into any legal trouble, anyone’s conviction could be eligible for expungement.
Any civil rights withheld from a person because of his criminal record shall become restored upon expungement, provided he maintains a clean record. These include the right to vote, to own a firearm, and to serve as a juror.
A person can receive an expungement only one time from the state of Indiana. It is possible to remove multiple charges, but they must all be cleared at the same time. This means individuals will have to be strategic about when they apply for an expungement. If someone is not sure that he can keep up a clean record after the expungement, he ought to put off getting an expungement until he is sure.