INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed into law legislation last month that permits individuals arrested or convicted of certain crimes to have those records sealed. The new law, House Enrolled Act 1482, goes into effect on July 1, 2013 and provides a second chance to those convicted of certain nonviolent felony or misdemeanor charges in the state.
Under the new law, which is a revision of the “Second Chance Law” enacted by the 2012 Legislative Session, individuals who are convicted of misdemeanors or class D felonies can request to have their criminal records sealed after five years, or eight years in the case of a class D felony. Such a petition requires the ex-offender to:
- Not have been charged with or committed other crimes
- Successfully complete their sentence
- Not have a pending or existing driver’s license suspension
- Pay a licensing fee
Individuals convicted of sexual and violent crimes, such as murder and manslaughter, are not eligible to have their records sealed. The release of sealed criminal records, other than law enforcement officials acting in their official capacity, is prohibited without a court order.
House Enrolled Act 1482 (.pdf)
A violation of the statue's anti-discrimination provision under HEA 1482 is defined as a Class C infraction. For this reason, Indiana employers are encouraged to review their non-discrimination policies and employment applications to determine whether revisions are necessary to ensure compliance with the new law.
While you can complete a petition and file it on your own, lawmakers encourage individuals to seek legal advice, if not hire legal counsel, before filing. The reason for this recommendation is the strict guidelines involved in properly filling out these petitions. Failure to fill out the petition properly can cause it to be tossed out of court. A petitioner may have to wait for at least three years before filing again. If the petitioner has multiple charges or arrests, not including each offense in the petition can cause it to be denied forever for expungement.