An expungement is a legal process that seals records regarding most misdemeanors and felonies. Expungements are a relatively new area of law in Indiana and recently, changes have been made that increase a former offender’s privacy after the expungement is completed. When Indiana first allowed expungements, only certain agencies were ordered to seal the expunged records. Now, effective July 1, 2021, more agencies will be required to seal criminal records expunged in Indiana.
Before this year, upon meeting certain requirements, a Court can order agencies including the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the State Police, the local police agency involved in the relevant arrest(s), and the relevant county Clerk to seal and expunge criminal convictions, arrests, and other collateral actions. However, the law as it currently stands does not prohibit outside, non-government agencies from continuing to publish these otherwise sealed records. Starting July 1st, Senate Enrolled Act 255 requires any “criminal history provider” who regularly publishes criminal history information on the internet to periodically review their records and seal any records that have been expunged by an Indiana court.
One of the major purposes for obtaining an expungement is to ensure that mistakes made in the past do not follow you forever. Expungements are intended to open new doors, such as eligibility for licenses, loans, career opportunities, and more. However, if a third party continues to report this criminal history, after the record has been expunged, potential employers or others are still able to find supposed “sealed” criminal records. This new law, coming into effect July 1st makes providing such report containing an expunged conviction a violation under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Despite this helpful change to the law, the process of getting criminal records expunged remains challenging. If you have records in Indiana that you would like to be sealed, our office can help you understand whether you meet the legal requirements for expunging the records and guide you through the process of wiping your slate clean and getting a fresh start.