Whether your criminal record involves a misdemeanor or a felony, it can have negative consequences in your life. In 2013, the state of Indiana passed a measure known as “the second chance” law.
The law has many important provisions that can lead to a better life for people with a criminal record.
The details of Indiana expungements
According to WFYI of Indianapolis, an expungement does not destroy a person’s criminal record, it just seals the record from public view. The law has several interesting features. You can file for an expungement for any misdemeanor and most felonies. Exceptions for felonies include crimes such as homicide, human trafficking, sex crimes and perjury.
You are not eligible for an expungement immediately. For misdemeanors, you must wait five years and for felonies, you must wait for eight years. You can only file for an expungement once in your life.
The benefits of an expungement
A criminal record has many consequences for individuals. It can make getting a job more difficult and can limit your employment options. Research shows that a person’s income drops after a criminal conviction, and this drop is particularly steep for Black and Latino men. For those who successfully file for an expungement, their wages typically rise.
An expungement can also help a person obtain housing. Indiana law bars housing agencies from using an expunged record as a basis for discrimination. A clean slate also helps in other areas of a person’s life such as improving child custody agreements.
One obstacle you might face when pursuing an expungement is fees. One study estimated average court fees of about $500, but for most people, the benefits of an expungement outweigh the costs.