You Did the Crime, You Did Your Time – 5 Facts About Indiana’s Second Chance Law

second chance law indiana

You Did the Crime, You Did Your Time – 5 Facts About Indiana’s Second Chance Law

Back in the dark ages in Indiana (before July, 2013), it didn’t matter what you did. If you were convicted of a crime it was on your permanent record. You were screwed.

Maybe once in your rough past you got caught stealing to survive.

Or the cops found a tiny bag of weed on you at a party when they came to break it up.

You might have just gotten stupid one night and blew a .09 into a breathalyzer.

Unless that charge was dismissed, chances were it would never go away. Bad decision? Sure. Did you deserve the penalty? Probably, at the time. But what you don’t deserve is for that one mistake to haunt you for the rest of your life.

That’s what the Second Chance Law of 2013 is all about: getting the record of that conviction “expunged” (erased, basically) so you can get your civil rights back.

Here are 5 facts you need to know. WARNING: READ THEM ALL BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING.

  1. You can’t get any crime expunged.

We’re not talking about the big stuff, here. If you were convicted of murder, rape, possession of child pornography or perjury, to name a few, that’s a whole different conversation.

What we are talking about are misdemeanors and most Class D felonies. If you’ve got one of those on your record, read on.

  1. Sit tight. This is going to take a while.

If you were lucky enough not to get convicted, you can petition to seal your arrest records one year after the date of arrest. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, you’ll need to wait five years to apply for expungement; if it was a non-violent felony, eight years; and if we’re talking about a felony deemed violent or sexual in nature, 10 years.

There’s one important thing you can do in the meantime: stay clean. When the time comes, you’ll need to have completed your sentence, have no additional charges pending against you, and your driver’s license can’t be suspended.

  1. It’s not true expungement … but it’s pretty close.

It’s important to understand that when Indiana says “expungement” it almost means it. True expungement would mean completely erasing your criminal history, but the best this state has to offer is hiding it from most people, like employers. Sorry, but it will still show up to criminal justice organizations – like the court and the police.

The Second Chance Law is still a huge step forward. You’ll be able to get a job, vote, go to school, even legally purchase a firearm, all because it’s no longer anybody’s business what you did but the courts and police.

  1. If they ask about expunged records in an interview, you have the right to SUE THE BASTARDS.

It is none of their business! In the eyes of the law, you are no longer to be held accountable for the crime. You’re protected. Now it’s the employer who asks about it who’s in the wrong, not you! You have the right to a new life and to make those who try to take it from you pay hefty fines for pissing on your parade.

  1. You only get one shot.

You better have read all the way to the end, because this is important: you can only apply for expungement of all your conviction and arrest records once. Imagine waiting five, eight or 10 years to petition the court, only to have the request denied because you “failed to comply” with something or other you didn’t even know about.

A second chance at life may be available to you. Don’t blow it. Please, contact my office before you do anything. Let’s work out a winning strategy that will get you off the hook for good!

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