Sorting Out Indiana’s “Second Chance” Law
August 8, 2013 – A recently-passed “second chance” law gives Hoosiers convicted of low level felonies and misdemeanors the opportunity to clear their records. As Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith reports, lawmakers are planning a series of forums around the state designed to educate the public on how the potentially complicated law works:
Indiana’s expungement law allows the criminal record of those convicted of a misdemeanor and some low-level felonies to be wiped clean five years after conviction if the person completes their sentence and isn’t convicted of another crime. It does the same for most Class D felons eight years after conviction. Sex and violent crime offenders are not eligible. People must petition the courts for expungement…and Indianapolis Democratic Representative Cherrish Pryor notes people only get one chance to clear their record:
“The more convictions you have, the more complicated your process is going to be so don’t assume that you can do it yourself.”
There’s also some confusion about the different types of expungement contained in the law. Brookville Republican Representative Jud McMillin, the bill’s author, says if you have a D-felony or lower that doesn’t involve serious bodily injury, your record is completely sealed:
“If you have a D-felony that includes serious bodily injury or higher – anything higher – then the type of expungement that you are eligible for just says that it is marked as expunged and people still have access to see it but you can’t be discriminated against based on that expunged record.”
McMillin says he’s also giving people the same advice Pryor offers – consult with a lawyer before trying to expunge your record.
For Indiana Public Broadcasting, I’m Brandon Smith.