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Can someone expunge an Indiana drug crime or OWI?

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | Expungements

People get arrested for possessing prohibited drugs, misusing prescription drugs or operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) every day across Indiana. Many of those people plead guilty to the charges they face out of fear of the worst penalties the courts can impose or a desire to avoid public attention.

They may later come to regret that decision, as the record of their conviction can limit their opportunities in life. An OWI conviction or drug charge may turn up every time they apply for a new job, a scholarship or a rental home.

An Indiana criminal record can affect someone’s employment, education, finances and housing. Those with a prior infraction on their record might want to expunge their criminal record so that a prior issue no longer holds them back in life. Can someone with an OWI or drug offense on their record expunge their criminal record in Indiana?

Some offenses are eligible for expungement

Indiana, like other states, has rules allowing some people to seal their criminal records. The requirements for expungement are extensive.

The person requesting an expungement typically has to avoid additional criminal charges. They can’t have any recent convictions or pending charges when they seek expungement. They typically need to wait at least a year after the date of arrest to apply for expungement of arrest records or longer for the expungement of a conviction.

The offenses in question also need to meet certain standards. Misdemeanor offenses may qualify for expungement, as well as Class D or Level 6 felonies. A misdemeanor drug offense or first-time OWI might be eligible for expungement.

A person frustrated by their criminal record has to file paperwork with the courts. They then need to attend a hearing where a judge looks at their record and their expungement request to determine if removing certain blemishes from the public record might be appropriate given the circumstances.

Individuals with a criminal record may need help evaluating their background and learning about state law to see if expungement is an option. They may also benefit from having professional advocacy when they go to court in pursuit of an expungement. Having the right assistance can make a major difference for an individual who hopes to put a prior criminal record behind them.