What Sex Crimes Can Be Expunged in Indiana?

Like any category of crime in Indiana, those of a sexual nature cover a broad spectrum. To be considered a “sex offender” is to be lumped into a group with persons who may have forcibly raped their victim, may have lured children into sex slavery, or who may have engaged in sexual activity with a minor.

Indiana is committed to strict enforcement of its sex crime laws. The passing of Indiana’s Second Chance Law in 2013 did not give most sex offenders a pass to have their conviction records expunged; however, it did give hope to those most Hoosiers would agree can be forgiven the mistakes of their past.

The criminal code is complex, so let’s break sexual offenders into three groups: those who are ineligible for expungement, those who are possibly eligible, and those who are probably eligible.


The majority of the most commonly convicted sex crimes fall into this category. Indiana believes pretty strongly in protecting sex offenders from the public (and from themselves) for life.

This is a partial list of offenses that the offender will not be able to shake from their permanent record:

  • Rape
  • Child molesting (use of minor for sexual stimulation)
  • Child exploitation (offer of money, goods or services in exchange for sex with a minor)
  • Incest
  • Sexual battery (virtually any unwanted sexual touch)
  • Kidnapping
  • Sexual trafficking

In other words, while there may be other legal avenues for these sexual offenders to take to improve their quality of life once they have rehabilitated, expungement is not one of them.


The Second Chance Law is explicit that the opportunity for offenders to have their records expunged does not apply to “a sex or violent offender (as defined in IC 11-8-8-5).” There is just one exception to that definition in this section of the Indiana code.

Under the following circumstances, “sexual misconduct with a minor” falls under the definition of a “sex offender” unless:

  • (A) the person is convicted of sexual misconduct with a minor as a Class C felony (for a crime committed before July 1, 2014) or a Level 5 felony (for a crime committed after June 30, 2014);
  • (B) the person is not more than:
    • (i) four (4) years older than the victim if the offense was committed after June 30, 2007;  or
    • (ii) five (5) years older than the victim if the offense was committed before July 1, 2007;  and
  • (C) the sentencing court finds that the person should not be required to register as a sex offender.

For example, a 30-year-old man who, when he was 18, engaged in consensual sexual activity with a 14-year-old girl, may be able to have his record expunged. These “Romeo and Juliet” situations are about the only exception to the rule. This is the only place where the word “unless” is used in IC 11-8-8-5.

Other conditions apply, including a squeaky clean record since the offender served time. It’s also worth noting the application can be denied for any reason. That said, with qualified legal help, there is at least a chance.


None of this applies to individuals who were accused and arrested for a sexual crime but were never actually convicted in a court of law. The right to apply for expungement of arrest records existed in Indiana before the Second Chance Law came around, and certainly still applies today.

If you were arrested for a crime you did not commit, or know someone who did, you know how devastating the stigma of that accusation can be. Good luck finding a job when all an employer sees is a pedophile, a rapist, you name it, even when you have done nothing to earn that label.

Is this you? Contact our office today to start discussing whether we can help you get a clean slate in Indiana.

*(Indiana switched from a Class system to a Level system in 2014. Since there has to be at least 10 years since an offender has completed their sentence before they can apply for expungement, we’re still talking in terms of classes if you’re reading this prior to 2024.)


I Was Young, She Was Younger, Can I Ever Have A Second Chance?

Meet “David”, age 32

I had a feeling something bad was going to happen the second I got out of my car. I ignored it.

The house where the party was happening was in kind of a run-down neighborhood. It was a wet winter. I remember stepping in a wide crack in the pavement into cold slush. My feet were cold all night.

My friend Derek had invited me. I say “friend” even though I didn’t know him very well. He went to a different school. We just happened to have a mutual friend who introduced us at a concert.

Derek was cool, confident. Always up for a party. He made you feel like you could do anything, get away with anything.

He was also into some pretty shady stuff. I should have known when I entered his house. It was disgusting. The smell of something like rotten eggs was overpowering. Another sign that this was a bad idea. I ignored that, too.

I followed the noise down into the basement. The first thing I noticed were how many girls were there. I recognized a few from school, but mostly I had no idea who these people were.

Derek was playing video games. The air was full of choking smoke. I coughed as a grabbed a warm beer off the table.

That’s when this girl I didn’t recognize walked right up to me and gave me a big hug. I almost dropped my beer. The other girl she had been sitting with on the couch started cracking up. She said her friend dared her to hug the next guy who came into the room. Then she said her name was Zoey.

Zoey was beautiful. She had long, black hair. Bright green eyes. Full, red lips.

I know how this is going to sound, but she looked my age. She looked 18.

We spent the rest of the party together. I forgot all about the bad omens. I thought at the time that night was amazing. We talked about video games and movies, and she touched me a lot. I had never met a girl who was so physical. She always had a hand on my arm, or her fingers in my hair.

Before long we were making out on the couch. I couldn’t believe what I was doing. This had never happened to me before. I thought I was the luckiest guy in the world.

I knew where this was headed. I could see it in her eyes, and I was going nuts. I was a virgin. I took her hand and we started up the stairs. There were lots of empty rooms upstairs …

I thank God every day for what happened next.

Derek and Alex’s mom came home. She was drunk, and mad as hell they were throwing a party, and kicked everybody out. She looked like she was going to beat Derek half to death, and probably did.

That’s when Zoey ran off, down the street with her friend. I had no idea why. She said nothing. I didn’t have her number or anything.

The next day, a cop showed up at my mom’s house and arrested me. I was confused, hungover. I heard the word rape. I’ll never forget the look of horror on my mom’s face. She just stood there in the kitchen, frozen.

Zoey was not 18. She was 14, and she had a record.

Apparently, in addition to making meth, Derek and his mom’s brother were also doing a little pimping on the side. Zoey was one of the girls they were grooming, under her probation officer’s nose. Her friend got scared and told the probation officer, I came up in the story as a john.

Suddenly, I was a sex offender. It didn’t matter that we didn’t actually have intercourse. What I did with Zoey was enough to be considered sexual misconduct with a minor.

Ever since completing my jail time, life has been a nightmare. So why do I thank God that Derek’s mom showed up? Just think of how much worse it could have been if nobody had stopped us. I’d probably still be in jail today.

If you’re wondering what life as a registered sex offender is like, it is as terrible as you might imagine. I still live with my mother. I’ve only held a few jobs here and there. I wanted to be an architect once. Now I’d be lucky to bag groceries.

But listen, I’m not asking for your sympathy. I know what I did was wrong. It was careless. She was a child, somebody’s little girl. I was old enough to know better. There is no excuse, and I’m not making one.

All I’m asking for is a second chance. I want to work, to get out of my mom’s house. I want to maybe have a real relationship with a woman some day. I want to be a part of my community, not an outcast people can find on a map of places they want to keep their children out of.

I’m ready to apply for expungement of my record. I don’t know if it will work, but I have to try. I’ve lived in shame for over 10 years for one stupid night.

So, Mr. Prosecutor, tell me. Will you let me move on?

The above story is a work of fiction, but it might sound familiar. If “David” could be you, there is good news: you may be able to get your sexual misconduct charge erased from your criminal record. Contact Bruce Munson today to discuss your options for expungement.

It’s time to move on with your life.

How are You Supposed to Get a Job When They Still Think You’re a Thief?

Meet “Oscar”, age 29 and his father, “Jose”, age 51

I discovered my dad was a thief when I was five years old.

I remember the day I figured it out. At first he tried to hide it from me, the deodorant, the can of soup, the wool cap he stuffed into his coat at Walmart. He didn’t say a thing about it as we walked back to the bus stop in the cold.

We were alone, just the two of us, but I still whispered when I asked him about the things he took. “Aren’t you supposed to pay for it?”

I’ll never forget the look on his face. First, he looked confused, like he didn’t understand the question. Then he smiled, like I had said something funny.

“Not when you’re broke,” he said.

After that, Dad started showing me how to look for cameras and avoid store employees. He taught me what was too big to take, what I could fit into a coat, and how warm it could be before people started to suspect a guy in a coat.

He fed me his morality BS, too. My dad really believed it was okay to steal as long as he needed what he was taking, the store was big enough to afford it, and he didn’t go over a certain dollar amount in value.

Of course, what he “needed” turned out to be anything he could fleece, he definitely robbed a few mom n’ pops, and that dollar value limit changed about a thousand times.

He finally got caught when I was 10, and spent most of my teenage years in prison. He never lasted long on parole before he would screw it up.

Once, his parole officer busted him in Ohio. It was a Sunday and my dad actually wanted to buy something for once, a six-pack. So, he went across the state line where Sunday alcohol sales were legal. A few hours and disorderly charge later, he was on his way straight back to Indiana State Prison.

Mom never divorced him. I couldn’t believe it, but the church wouldn’t condone it. She sure hated him, though. Dad still has a scar on his stomach from the time Mom came at him with a butcher knife. She swears it flew out of her hand because her palms were greasy. I don’t know, maybe.

I turned out to be terrible at shoplifting. I got caught the first time I tried it, at 13. I pinched a few candy bars at the dollar store around the corner from my house. The manager called my mom. I was grounded for what felt like months.

It was a miracle that I never went to juvey. A few years later, another miracle happened.

My dad was out on parole again. He came home and announced he was going to make us dinner. That was the first sign that something was different.

Over dinner, he told us about a prison ministry that had helped him. These people from a church (Protestant, which my Catholic mom was willing to overlook) came with cookies and Bibles to talk to the inmates. He was really skeptical at first, until he discovered he really liked talking to the pastor.

He said that pastor helped him figure out a lot of things about himself, about self-hatred and depression … Yeah, it was a lot to take at once. I was 18 by now, old enough to see in her eyes that my mom’s BS detector was on high alert.

That was over 10 years ago. My father completed his parole and has not been back to prison since. He began to volunteer in the prison ministry during the week and go to mass with my mom and me on Sundays. I still don’t know whether he’s Catholic or Protestant.

He picked up work where he could, going door to door selling home security systems, washing cars, doing a little handyman work. That was fine until Mom got sick.

She was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer last year. Radiation and chemotherapy have taken their toll on her, and it’s likely she won’t be able to go back to work for a long time. I help out where I can financially, but it never seems to be enough. They’re getting behind on credit card bills.

Dad started applying for real jobs with benefits almost as soon as Mom got sick. He’s applied for factory work, auto sales, secretarial work, everything. I’ll bet he has submitted over 200 applications by now.

Every interview has gone the same, though. They always ask about the box. He has to mark “Yes” to the question about committing a crime, and when he tells them it was for theft, the interview is almost always over.

One day recently, I was over at the house. Mom was taking a nap, and after a long silence my dad said, “I never knew how hard it would be to want to be responsible, and feel like I can’t.”

How long does this have to go on? At what point does society forgive and forget what a man like my father has done, and give him a chance at a new life?

What does he have to do?

The above story is a work of fiction, but it might sound familiar. If “Oscar” and “Jose” could be you and a family member in crisis, there is good news: you may be able to get their theft conviction erased from their criminal record. Contact Bruce Munson today to discuss your options for expungement.

It’s time for your loved one to have the freedom to move on.

Here is How to Get Your Life Back After a Theft Conviction

Your shoplifting days are over. You haven’t jacked a car in over a decade. You wouldn’t even pick up a candy bar if it fell out of a vending machine.

The thief you once were is gone, but the black mark on your record carries on.

Felon. That’s what they called you. It’s a label you can’t quite shake, everywhere you go. The bus station, the grocery store, even church. Even when they call you an “ex-felon”, it still stings.

And word gets around, doesn’t it? Everybody knows. Not everybody judges you for it. Some people are fascinated. They want to know what you lifted, how much you took in. They want to hear about the con jobs. It’s entertainment to them.

Sometimes you play along, but usually you hate it. You know it gets around. You’re reminded of it every time you go to Work One. Here comes the felon.

Here comes the guy who has to check that little box that screams YES, I HAVE BEEN CONVICTED OF A CRIME.


Not all felonies are created equal. In Indiana, felonies are separated into six levels (seven, if you count murder, which is above all the rest). Rape, manslaughter, aggravated battery, arson: these are violent felonies.

When they call you a “felon”, or even an “ex-felon”, they’re lumping you in with all the rest. Maybe that’s why it ticks you off so much.

People might not make that distinction, but the law certainly does. Because yours was a non-violent crime, you may have an option others who have committed felonies in Indiana don’t.

You may be able to get your record wiped clean.


Eight years after completion of your sentence, you can apply for expungement of your theft conviction. Keep in mind, that’s not just prison time. That includes parole or any “other obligations” placed on you as part of your sentence.

Totally Free & Clear Day + 8 years. That’s your Expungement Day.

As long as:

  1. You can provide documentation that you completed your sentence and when.
  2. You have no charges pending against you.
  3. Your driver’s license is not suspended and there is no suspension pending.
  4. You haven’t been convicted of a crime since.

In other words, if you’ve kept your nose squeaky clean, you have a shot at putting your past behind you for good.


It’s basically a three-step process:

  1. You’ll need to write a petition and bring two copies to the clerk’s office of the county in which you were convicted. The long list of instructions is in the statute, IC 35-38-9-8 (toward the bottom).
  2. Then you get a cause number (an ID for your case), and your petition goes to the trial court that convicted you.
  3. After that, you wait to be notified of a hearing and whether or not your petition is granted.

Simple, right?

Not so fast …


You get one shot with this. One shot to make it nobody’s business, once and for all, what you did in a past life. One shot to deny an employer the ease of dismissing you because of your prior conviction.

One shot to no longer be a felon.

If the court denies your petition, you’re done. You cannot apply again. Why might they deny it? It says so right in the statute:

“(b) The court may summarily deny a person, if the petitioner (that’s you) does not meet the requirements of section 8 of this chapter, or if the statements contained in the petition demonstrate that the petitioner is not entitled to relief.”

In other words, you are at the mercy of the prosecuting attorney. Just as you stole whatever it was that landed you in prison so long ago, he or she can steal this chance to get past it away from you.


You need an experienced criminal defense attorney at your side for this. Contact our office today to discuss your eligibility for expungement, and to make a winning game plan.

You may have committed theft, but that black mark has stolen too much of your life away. Let’s take it back.


Don’t Worry About Me, I’m NOT Guilty of Murder

Don’t Worry About Me, I’m NOT Guilty of Murder

How would you react if someone walked up to you, shook your hand and said, “Hello. I want you to know, no matter what people might say, I didn’t kill anybody.”

What’s the first thought that runs through your mind?

If you have ever been accused of a crime, and the charges were later dropped or you were found not guilty by a jury, you know exactly what people are thinking.

Just being accused can haunt you your whole life. The worse the crime, the more fearful people get. Who’s going to want to take the chance on hiring you? What school will be comfortable having you on their campus?

Here are three examples of Hoosiers accused. Ask yourself, if you knew about their past, would you give them a chance?

A Teacher Shot on Her Doorstep

Kristi Redmon was an elementary school art teacher in Lafayette who lost her life because she answered the door one night. She was a Cubs fan, friendly, and generous with her time with kids according to the neighbors. They found her body after hearing the shots.

18-year-old Darius Printup, a young African-American man, was arrested for the crime. During the trial, his attorney told the jury it was true Darius had been knocking on doors in that neighborhood on the night in question. It was also true he was looking for people who had stolen drugs from him.

But he was, according to the attorney, not guilty of murder. There was no evidence. The young man was innocent. Darius was acquitted.

What do you think happens after police arrest a young black man for a crime they believe he committed and he doesn’t stay in prison?

If you guessed that he is arrested frequently for minor offenses like possession of marijuana and “visiting a common nuisance,” you’d be right.

What kind of a future does this young man have in his own community under the circumstances? What do you think would happen to you in his shoes?

Free After 21 Years a Prisoner

In the case of Trondo Humphrey, getting a second chance means battling the popular idea that our court system is infallible when it comes to locking people up.

Someone murdered Benjamin Laflin in February, 1996. He and a buddy drove to Anderson to buy crack cocaine. They argued with their dealer, who pulled a gun and shot Laflin. Roosevelt Brooks said he was with Humphrey and saw him greet the truck Laflin and his buddy drove in on. That made him the killer.

It was an unsworn statement that Brooks later recanted. The public defender assigned to the case should have objected to the admission of that statement into the trial. He didn’t.

Humphrey was sentenced to 60 years. It took 21 years for the Indiana Supreme Court to overturn the conviction. After two decades of doing time for another’s crime, he was a free man.

His mother told the Herald Bulletin she hoped Humphrey would move to Indianapolis or Mississippi to live with his uncle. Clearly she wanted him anywhere but Anderson after all the family had been through.

Can you blame her?

The Bush/Colombian Mafia Conspiracy

People often don’t give people much leeway when it comes to the why of killing a person. If they ended a likeable person’s life, they’re just plain guilty in the eyes of the public.

But sometimes the why makes a big difference.

Lori Barcroft killed Pastor Jama Iseminger in May 2012 at his Indianapolis church. That was never under dispute. What the court had to decide was whether she was a murderer or in desperate need of mental health services.

In cases like this, motive really matters:

Barcroft was upfront with police about why she killed Iseminger: She believed he was part of an international conspiracy to harm her and her family that involved the Colombian Mafia and the family of Presidents George H. W. and George W. Bush.”

Someone who is guilty of murder needs to be held accountable, but someone who is sick needs help. Let’s assume Ms. Barcroft was sick and she has a shot at getting better, at having a life.

How is she ever going to do that?

Who will let someone like her into their school or workplace? Who will even allow her into their independent living facility?

The answer is, no one who knows she killed a pastor. Even if she is better now. Even if she suffers from regret every day.


The moral of all these stories is this: no matter what you were accused of, if the case was dismissed, you may be able to expunge it from your record. Expungement means wiping the slate as clean as possible. It opens the door to employment, schooling, housing opportunities and more.

Even if you were found guilty of a minor crime (not murder, but misdemeanors and minor felonies) and served time, expungement may be an option for you.

It may be your only shot at leading a normal life.

Learn more about Indiana expungement. Follow this link to contact us today.

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

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!

I Shouldn’t Have Offered to Drive Her Home

Meet “Jason”, age 26

I’ll never forget that party after Jenny’s graduation open house. It should have been all happy memories. God, I wish they were.

I liked Jenny’s friend Sarah. Sarah was beautiful, and fun. We would go cruising with friends on the backroads and when it was Sarah’s turn to drive, she would always go the fastest. Pushing 100. Long blonde hair blowing in my face.

There were always other guys around, douche bags she would flirt with. One of them, Chris, dealt pot outside school like every day. I had no idea how he didn’t get caught. He was one of those skinny punk types, holey t-shirts, blue hair. Pierced everywhere.

For once, Chris wasn’t around. None of the douche bags were, because Jenny didn’t run with that crowd. It was my chance to get Sarah alone for once.

It was a barn burner out on some farm. A couple of kegs, jungle juice in a metal trough. Eminem on the stereo. There was Sarah, dancing with some girls with a cup in her hand.

I wasn’t much of a drinker but I needed some liquid courage. I got myself loose enough that I could get close and dance with the girls around Sarah. By the time I got over there they were about done, started playing quarters. All I wanted to do was get Sarah alone and tell her I liked her, but she wanted to drink. So I drank.

I was pretty wasted when I noticed Chris had shown up. It was so easy to tell he was dealing. Jenny about gagged when she saw him. She wasn’t a fan either.

Sarah started talking to him and I just couldn’t stand it. I went over there and heard her tell Chris she wanted to go home.

So what went through my mind was, I got two choices. I can let her go home with a drug dealer and probably get into all kinds of trouble, or I could do something about it.

I stepped up and told her I was heading out. I could give her a ride.

When we got in my car I was feeling pretty good. She was in a good mood, talking about how much fun she’d had at the party, looking forward to the summer. I thought this drive, right now, this was my chance to tell her how I felt about her.

It was a warm June night. We had the windows open, she was sticking her head out the window, imitating her dog. I was laughing. She told me to go faster.

It was an open county road. We’d gone cruising here a million times. But it was dark, and even though I didn’t admit it to myself at the time, I was drunk.

I missed my turn. When I realized it, I slammed on the brakes, skidded on gravel … too close to city limits. There were lots of graduation parties going on that night so the cops were out, ready to catch idiots like me.

I did a U-turn and started to speed up. Too fast. Sarah grabbed my arm and told me she was about to puke. I pulled over, she got sick in the ditch, and that’s when I saw the red and blue lights on the rear view.

That was eight years ago. I blew a 0.12, spent the night in jail. My mom screamed at me all summer, Sarah never talked to me again and my graduation gift to myself was probation on an OWI charge.

College plans ruined, and that was only the beginning. I’m 26 now. I live with my mom, who never lets me forget what I did. I’d love to go off and live on my own but I can’t get a decent job to save my life. A friend of my mom’s cousin let me come wash dishes, part time, minimum wage. I’ve had lots of interviews but every time my Class C misdemeanor comes up I can see it in their eyes: I’m toast.

I thought by now Sarah and I would be married with a kid on the way. I was supposed to go to college for computer science, supposed to be working as a programmer in Indianapolis by now. Instead, because of one dumb mistake I’m stuck.

What am I supposed to do?

The above story is a work of fiction, but you might find it familiar. If this character could easily be you, there’s a chance you could get the OWI charge erased from your criminal record. Contact Bruce Munson today to discuss your options for expungement.

It’s time to move on with your life.

Want to Erase Your Past? Now You Can in Indiana

Regret is a tough emotion to tackle. We go over the mistakes we made in the past over and over again, and we ask ourselves why we didn’t keep our mouths shut, or say no to that last drink, or stay away from those people.

We’ve all made mistakes. Usually we deal with the regret, forgive ourselves and move on.

Some of us don’t have that option. Sometimes the pain of regret can’t heal, because we are constantly reminded of our mistakes and asked to pay for them. For the rest of our lives, in some cases.

Kristen’s Story

Kristen Brasher thought she would never escape the consequences of her mistake. In 2008, at 19 years old, the Seymour native pleaded guilty to “attempted possession of a controlled substance.”

The public doesn’t know all the details, but we can guess. Hers is likely a familiar story of teenage anger or escape or a search for belonging … whatever the cause, it led her to drugs. She got caught trying to buy what she thought she needed at the time.

On the advice of her attorney, she accepted the consequence. She thought all she faced was a year of probation, the completion of a drug and alcohol program and community service.

What she couldn’t possibly understand until experiencing it was how serving her sentence would not be the end of her regret. That wound would be reopened, again and again.

For five years, every time Kristen interviewed for job – Seattle, Kansas City, it didn’t matter where – her criminal record haunted her. She had to answer for getting into that “wrong place, wrong time kind of thing” everywhere she went, knowing it would cause any potential employer to think twice. One even outright told her they couldn’t hire her because not enough time had passed. Company policy. Sorry.

Then came Indiana’s Second Chance Act of 2013, dramatically expanding the rights of people like Kristen to have their criminal record “expunged,” or erased in the eyes of the law.

On September 15th, 2013, Kristen became the first person to file for expungement of her record in Jackson County. With the help of her attorney, on March 14th, 2014, the crime was erased. She was finally free of it. Kristen used her new clean-record status to become a CASA (court-appointed special advocate), a volunteer supporting and speaking for foster kids in court proceedings. She also got a job at a technology company in Columbus.

“It doesn’t have to hinder you from getting employment,” Kristen said. “You don’t have to have your record following you the rest of your life.”

What is expungement?
Expungement is the most thorough way of erasing your criminal past. While certain folks, such as law enforcement or immigration officials, will still be able to view your records by request, potential employers will not.

How do I get my criminal record expunged?
Really, the first thing you should ask is, “Am I eligible to have my record expunged?” If you murdered someone or committed a sex crime, for a couple of examples, we need to have a different discussion. But assuming you are eligible, like Kristen was, there’s a pretty complicated process to go through to get you to the Promised Land.

Over the next few months we’ll be exploring the ins and outs of expungement in Indiana in this blog, but please don’t consider anything you read here as comprehensive legal advice. Every case is unique. You’re going to need a good attorney to make sure you get the result you want.

Why Bruce Munson?
I’ve been doing this for over a quarter century. I’ve seen the law come down too hard, too often, and I’ve seen lives destroyed by past mistakes. Indiana’s Second Chance Law has opened the door to a new life for people like you who haven’t been able to move on. I’m focusing on this right now because I want to help as many people as possible take advantage of this opportunity.

If experience, skill and heart aren’t good enough reasons to hire me, I don’t know what is. Come back to this blog to learn more about expungement as we go, or just contact me today to discuss your situation.

You won’t regret it.

I.B.S. (Irritable Bruce Syndrome)

I.B.S.  (Irritable Bruce Syndrome)

I’ll keep this short and sweet.  It seems like every day that I see someone on Facebook trashing some private citizen about some purely personal matter.  Let me just say this:  Doing so says more about the trash-or than it does the trash-ee.



Biofuel, esoteric numbers, and alleged fraud

U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett calls it the biggest fraud prosecution in Indiana history.  An 88 count indictment charges four men connected with a now-closed Middletown business, e-Biofuels, and others, of fraud at the $100 million level.


Much of the alleged misconduct involves RIN’s — renewable identication numbers associated with batches of “green” fuel.  A RIN is a 38 character code (count ’em, 38 characters; as a point of reference, remember that the entire U.S. population requires only nine figures) assigned to each batch of biofuel.  Here’s a chart that’ll make RIN’s easy to understand:

RIN chart

source:  www.ers.usda.gov

OK, so maybe I exaggerated the “easy to understand” part.

The Middletown boys are accused, among other things, of re-using RIN’s.  Who’da thunk that this byzantine regulatory framework might provide a platform for alleged fraud?




The old joke goes like this:

A lawyer died and arrived at the pearly gates. To his dismay, there were thousands of people ahead of him in line to see St. Peter. But, to his surprise, St. Peter left his desk at the gate and came down the long line to where the lawyer was standing. St. Peter greeted him warmly. Then St. Peter and one of his assistants took the lawyer by the hands and guided him up to the front of the line into a comfortable chair by his desk.

The lawyer said, “I don’t mind all this attention, but what makes me so special?”

St. Peter replied, “Well, I’ve added up all the hours for which you billed your clients, and by my calculation you must be about 193 years old!”



An Ohio lawyer who billed for lengthy work days on court-appointed cases, including one that stretched for 29 hours, is facing a disciplinary proceeding.

However, Ben Swift did the work and just needed to keep better records, his lawyer told the Dayton Daily News.

An audit showed that he had billed for days that included 29 hours of work, 23 hours of work, 21.5 hours of work and 21 hours of work.



In an effort to restore some dignity to this blog, we offer Exhibit A from our file of multi-tasking lawyers:  Jerry Springer.




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Unfairly Snoped?

Has a Muncie musician/bar owner been unfairly Snoped?

I’m not sure I’ve ever before personally known someone who has been the subject of a Snopes item.  (Snopes.com purports to arbitrate the truth or falsity of various rumors, theories and urban legends.)

Mike Martin, owner of Muncie’s FOLLY MOON bar and grill, has discontinued live music because of a dispute with the state fire marshal’s office.  He has been led to believe that the state agency is acting on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security in regulating, and charging fees to, venues that offer live music “from a stage.”  The qualifier is significant, sense Folly Moon has no stage (despite a reported finding to the contrary by an administrative law judge).

Snopes has pronounced “false” the idea that Homeland Security has banned live music:

http://www.snopes.com/politics/arts/livemusic.asp  Snopes Screenshot_2013-09-22-20-46-00

Here’s a contrary take on the issue:  http://www.infowars.com/homeland-security-is-now-regulating-live-entertainment/


So…are you feeling lucky? Want to make a little wager about what I’ll find once I delve into this thing? Let’s bet one of Folly Moon’s delicious burgers (and let’s limit this wager to the first three people to take me up on it).  I will bet — without yet having done an ounce of research — that the legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security empowers state agencies to require permits of the sort that they are trying to impose on Mr Martin. And if that proves to be the case, it illustrates just have a tricky it is for the Snopeses of this world.

Even if Folly Moon’s owner has mischaracterized the issue, it’s clear that there is AN issue.  It’s one that will likely be addressed by Indiana’s court of appeals, in which case you will be sable to read more about it on this blog.


Indiana’s Son of Sam law.

A newspaper article recently made reference to a civil case I’m handling.  I won’t discuss details of the case here beyond mentioning the fact that I invoked Indiana’s “Son of Sam” law.

“Son of Sam” laws were adopted by numerous states after serial killer David Berkowitz was feared to be in line for another killing: the one he theoretically could have made by selling his story to a book publisher or movie producer.


Indiana’s version of the law,  Ind. Code § 5-2-6.3, requires that 90% of the proceeds from the story rights be made available to the victim (assuming that the perp is convicted of the crime that made the rights valuable).

The phrase “Son of Sam”, by the way, is something that Berkowitz heard, or thought he heard, in the Jimi Hendrix song “Purple Haze” around the time that a voice from his neighbor’s dog was instructing him to kill.


Multitasking Lawyer of the Week

Nelson Mandela, the ailing human rights activist, had a career as an attorney.  Let’s keep him in our prayers.



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