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Does expungement erase criminal records entirely?

If you have a criminal record in Indiana and want a fresh start, expungement could be the solution. If you meet the eligibility criteria and waiting period, you can file a petition for expungement in the court where the conviction occurred. The court will review your case and decide whether to grant the expungement.

Expungement offers significant benefits. In some cases, you may be granted limited expungement. This means that there will be a seal on your criminal from public view. However, this will not erase all consequences of your past convictions. It still affects certain situations such as:

  • Professional pathways: Some licensing boards thoroughly check your background and past convictions, though expunged, might still raise concerns.
  • Future charges: Expungement does not offer immunity from future criminal charges. If you commit new offenses, your previous expunged records could still hold weight and influence the sentencing process.
  • Hidden from most: Standard background checks will not reveal expunged records, but certain agencies can access them. For example, applying for a government or law enforcement position may still reveal past criminal records.
  • Firearms ownership: The federal law firmly bars individuals with specific criminal histories from owning firearms. This leaves no room for exceptions. Nevertheless, there may be varying provisions of your state’s specific firearm laws. There may be certain limitations that apply so you cannot always guarantee the complete removal of this restriction.

Expungement holds the key to a life-changing opportunity for individuals with a criminal record. It is a second chance that everyone deserves. Yet, while the benefits are undeniable, let us not overlook the fine print. Expungement may come with certain limitations. It is still important to manage expectations even after the court grants it.