Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

April 11, 2014

Here's how the Second Chance Law works

Anyone can petition to have court, arrest records sealed

Under Indiana’s Second Chance Law, any felony, no matter how severe, can eventually be hidden, at least partially, from the view of potential employers.

There are four different categories in the Second Chance law and the requirements to be met before records can be expunged are different for each category. Some provisions of the law were recently revised and the revisions won’t take effect until July 1.

On the low end of the scale are people who were either never convicted, who had prosecution deferred, who entered into a pretrial diversion program or who had a conviction overturned on appeal.

If they stay out of trouble for one year after the date of their arrest, they can petition to have any information about the arrest removed from the state’s central repository for criminal history background checks, and to limit access to court files, department of correction files and files of anyone who provided treatment or services to the individual.

The law requires a judge to grant the petition unless the individual has criminal charges pending or is still currently in a pre-trial diversion program.

The requirements get steeper for anyone with a conviction on his or her record.

If someone was convicted of a misdemeanor, including a Class D felony reduced to a misdemeanor, they’ll have to avoid any further criminal convictions for five years, pay all fees and fines and any court-ordered restitution, and not have any pending charges.

Someone convicted of a non-violent felony must wait either eight years after their conviction or three years after they’ve completed their sentence, assuming they’ve not been convicted of any other crimes in the meantime. The only way to shorten the requirement is for a prosecuting attorney to consent in writing to a shorter time period.

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