How does Indiana’s Second Chance Law work?

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2022 | Criminal Law

Many good people find themselves embroiled in legal trouble in Indiana. If you list yourself among them, you may worry about having a criminal record and how that criminal record might impact various aspects of your life. Depending on the details surrounding your offense and history, you may be eligible to have your record sealed under Indiana’s Second Chance Law.

Indy.gov reports that, under the Second Chance Law, you may be able to petition to have part of your criminal record sealed from public viewing. It is important to note that having your record sealed is different than having it expunged. Even if the state seals your record, certain people, including those working on behalf of criminal justice agencies, still have access to it.

Having misdemeanors sealed

If you have a misdemeanor offense on your record, you may ask to have it sealed if at least five years have passed since your conviction. You also need to not have any criminal charges or driver’s license suspensions pending against you. Furthermore, you must have abstained from any criminal activity for the past five years and have completed any other terms associated with your sentence.

Having felonies sealed

You may also be able to have certain felony offenses, including nonviolent felonies and certain violent or sexual ones if enough time has passed. You may petition to have a nonviolent felony sealed if at least eight years have passed. You may petition to have a violent or sexual felony sealed if at least 10 years have passed. In each case, you also must meet other compliance requirements.

Once the state seals some of your records, you may find it easier to find housing or secure a job, among other efforts.

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