Adult Criminal Records: Expungement Process in Indiana

The Application:There are two basic requirements for getting your Indiana expungement request processed by the court. You can apply to have your arrest record expunged if:

  1. You never had criminal charges filed against you for the arrest, or
  2. Criminal charges filed against you were ultimately dropped because of mistaken identity, no offense was in fact committed, and/or there was an absence of probable cause.

You must fill out and submit a petition for expungement of records related to your arrest. Though it sounds formal, it is not: it can even be handwritten (neatly). The petition (application) should be typed or printed on standard 8 ' x 11 inch paper. It should include the following pieces of information:

  1. Arrest date
  2. Charge name & description
  3. Law enforcement agency that employed the arresting officer
  4. Any other identifying information for the arresting officer, including his/her name, police case numbers, etc.
  5. Your birthday
  6. Your social security number, and
  7. A verification statement, which means you must write and sign a statement affirming that everything you've stated above in your petition is true.

Sign your petition, and then make three (3) copies. The original one goes to the court with proper jurisdiction over this case. For those who had no charges filed against them, the expungement petition should be filed with the court that had jurisdiction over the county where you were arrested. For applicants whose criminal charges were dropped (because of mistaken identity, lack of probable cause, and/or no offense committed), file your petition in the court where the charges against you were filed.

Note that the Division of State Court Administration requires that petitions be filed under the case number of the original case or, where unavailable or inapplicable, under a Miscellaneous Criminal (MC) case type and case number. Ask the Clerk of the Court or other staff member for clarification if you are unaware of the various case types.

Your first copy of the petition, properly filled out, must be served on the law enforcement agency that arrested you and on the Indiana State Police central records repository. If any other agencies are in possession of your arrest records or you think they might be, don't worry about serving them copies. The Clerk of the Court is responsible for getting copies of your expungement petition to agencies that may have been forwarded your arrest record.

Your second copy is to go to the state central repository for records. You can mail it (certified is best) to the:

Indiana Government Center
100 N. Senate
Room 302
Indianapolis, Indiana 56204

Your third copy is for you to have an exact record of the information you sent out to the court. You may need it, especially if there's a hearing scheduled for your case.

The Hearing:If you meet the requirements for eligibility as stated above, your expungement petition will likely be approved unless a law enforcement agency objects to it. If the agency does so within 30 days of the date your expungement petition is filed (either by filing sworn statements from individuals, or filing a notice of opposition explaining themselves), then the court will consider the information and possibly set a hearing date.

Other than a failure to meet the basic requirement of having only an arrest record and no conviction record, the most common reasons for denial of an expungement at this point include:

  1. Having a past arrest record for more than just minor traffic offenses, and/or
  2. Having other criminal charges still pending against you.

Unlike other states, a record of other arrests on your record doesn't automatically signal the end of your expungement application, nor does the law enforcement agency filing an objection automatically signal the need for a hearing. The trial court maintains the discretion to grant or deny the petition.

Consequences: If your petition is granted and an expungement of records is ordered, then all records that directly relate to your arrest either destroyed or returned to you by the law enforcement agency within 30 days of receiving the order. This will include fingerprints, photographs, and of course, any arrest records in their possession. Whether these documents are destroyed or given to you will depend on the exact terms of the expungement order. If you want all of these documents, you should state that in your expungement request. Similarly, if you want court records in additionto all of the above documents (note: this isn't necessary given that expungement requests themselves are always confidential), then your petition should explicitly state that as well.

Once all this information has been removed from the public databases, all that will remain are replacement pages in the record that state the fact that the case had been expunged and the date that the expungement order was entered. No information about your arrest will be left in any state central criminal information system.