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Everyone makes mistakes, but those small moments when we slip up shouldn’t define the course of the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, if you’re arrested and convicted of a crime, your criminal record could inhibit future opportunities for employment, relationships, and other important life milestones.

The expungement lawyers from Webster & Garino LLC can help you regain your freedom and opportunities by fighting for the elimination of certain or all aspects of your criminal history. For more than a decade, attorneys at our local law office have helped numerous clients effectively erase their arrest records and misdemeanor and felony convictions as a part of our criminal law solutions. Many of our clients across Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, Sheridan, and Zionsville, Indiana, have been able to move forward in life based on who they are today and not how they behaved in the past.

Contact Webster & Garino LLC for legal assistance regarding criminal expungement in Westfield, Indiana.

1. Do I Need an Expungement Lawyer?

The short answer is yes. Although anyone could gather their documentation and petition a court for expungement, the process is not friendly to legal do-it-yourselfers.

Various timing requirements and deadlines complicate the process, and you must ensure that you have no outstanding issues, such as an unpaid court fee or restitution order. And even the smallest mistake could leave you unable to ever clear your record.

An expungement lawyer who has conducted this process many times understands the legal ins and outs and is prepared to manage every detail. At Wester & Garino LLC, we know how to conduct the detailed process of gathering your records and petitioning the court or courts that previously convicted you.

If your record includes a higher-level felony conviction, you may need permission from the original prosecutor in your criminal case to succeed. An expungement attorney in Indiana is the best person suited to making requests of a prosecutor.

2. How to Hire the Best Expungement Lawyer in Indiana

The most basic requirement for effective expungement attorneys in Hamilton County, Indiana, is one who is experienced in practicing criminal defense, such as the criminal law team at Webster & Garino LLC. We have the skills and knowledge needed to represent criminal cases and successfully navigate the complex steps of Indiana expungement.

During your initial conversation with potential expungement lawyers, screen them by asking the following questions:

  • Do all of my records qualify for expungement?
  • Have you succeeded previously with cases similar to mine?
  • Can you manage expungement petitions in my county or multiple counties?
  • Can you get the records I need to provide to the court?

Before meeting with an expungement attorney, collect as much documentation as possible about your arrest, court case, and incarceration, if applicable. This will help the attorney provide a preliminary evaluation of whether or not you qualify for expungement.

It is likely that you won’t have all of the necessary records to initiate a successful expungement petition. However, the best expungement lawyer will know how to track down every piece of information for you.

Your greatest virtue in this process will be patience, especially if you have more than one offense on your record. In that case, you’ll need to complete the waiting periods applicable to each individual offense. The length of time that must pass before expungement becomes possible varies depending on what you were convicted of.

3. Can My Crime be Expunged?

Since 2013 when the Indiana State legislature passed the Second Chance Law, many crimes have become eligible for expungement, including some drug and theft offenses. Eligibility Requirements to expunge a specific criminal offense are as follows:

Misdemeanor or Level 6 Felony (Level D Felony pre-2014) Reduced to a Misdemeanor

  • 5 years past the conviction date
  • No pending criminal charges
  • All fines, court feeds, and restitution paid in full
  • No convictions for 5 years

Level 6 of Class D Felony

  • Eight years have passed since the conviction date
  • No pending criminal charges
  • All fines, court fees, and restitution paid in full
  • No conviction for any other crimes for eight years
  • No bodily injury

Higher-Level Felonies

  • Ten years since the conviction date or five years since completing your sentence
  • No pending criminal charges
  • All fines, court fees, and restitution paid in full
  • No conviction for any other crimes for ten years
  • No bodily injury
  • Written consent from the prosecuting attorney

Very serious crimes, specifically homicide, and almost any sexual offense, cannot be removed from your record. Other issues that prevent expungement include:

  • Public servant official misconduct
  • Sex offender status
  • Human and sex trafficking
  • More than two convictions for crimes involving a deadly weapon

4. How Long Does it Take to File an Expungement?

On average, it takes a couple of months to complete the process and seal your records.

The number of records you want to seal influences the length of time to prepare the court petitions. Additional time may be needed to gather all paperwork if you have many items on your record. And once the petition is filed, the applicable court may schedule your hearing, if one is needed.

Experienced expungement lawyers from Webster & Garino LLC can help your expungement cases be completed in a timely manner. Contact us today for your free consultation.

5. Steps to Expunging Your Criminal Record

The expungement process begins with an exhaustive review of your criminal records, an effort that could include undergoing a new background check. An expungement attorney in Indiana then reviews the records to see if your offenses qualify for expungement and if sufficient time has passed to start the process.

Upon confirming eligibility, you must collect documentation proving that you completed all aspects of your court orders regarding penalties and fees. Your attorney will identify all jurisdictions where you were arrested or convicted. If you have a record in different counties, separate petitions, and additional information will be prepared for each location.

Your specific situation dictates exactly which records are needed, but these are commonly necessary:

  • Driver’s record
  • Criminal history report
  • Court documents
  • List of your previous addresses
  • Records from the Department of Correction

The petition or petitions can now be written. The petition will explain how you qualify for expungement under the law and that you have completed all penalties imposed on you. If necessary, due to certain felony convictions, your expungement lawyer in Indiana will contact your original prosecuting attorney and request a permission letter.

Once all materials are ready, additional court paperwork must be completed and fees paid. The court will then schedule your expungement hearing, where a judge will review your petition and approve or deny it.

6. What Happens to My Record if the Expungement is Granted?

Expungement seals a record of arrest, the trial that acquitted you, or conviction from public view. Your record ceases to exist and will not appear when entities outside the criminal justice system perform a background check. You will also be able to answer “no” on forms that ask if you have been convicted of a crime.

When your criminal record is expunged, you will regain your civil rights revoked due to your conviction, specifically voting, eligibility as a juror, and ability to hold public office. Many people also become eligible to possess firearms again, although some crimes and federal laws could prevent it.

7. Is There a Limit on the Number of Expungements I Can File?

The state gives you one chance to expunge what you can. When you work with an expungement attorney in Indiana to clear out your record, you must address every aspect of your record within 365 days. If your effort fails, or you do not petition for all offenses on time, you will not be able to try again.

A primary exception to the limit on expungement filings concerns arrests. As long as arrests do not result in a conviction, by law there is no limit or time frame on petitions to seal those records.

Claim Your Future With Webster & Garino LLC Today

At Webster & Garino, LLC, we will give your expungement case our full attention. We understand how a previous legal issue can hinder your ability to move forward with your life and career, and we believe you deserve a fresh start. Besides expungement, our criminal law practice areas include sentence modification and OWI/DUI representation. As your dedicated criminal defense attorney, we’ll do everything we can to clear your name for good. Contact Webster & Garino LLC today to speak with an expungement lawyer in Westfield, Indiana, and the surrounding areas.