What are some of the common misconceptions that people have about expungements?
One thing that people don’t realize is that the granting of an expungement has no effect on an existing or pending driver’s license suspension. For example, a person can have a habitual traffic violater conviction expunged but if their driver’s license is suspended the suspension will remain. Moreover, the expungement of a crime of domestic violence under Section 2 does not restore a person’s right to possess a firearm. Additionally, if a person who has had their records expunged is subsequently arrested or convicted for an unrelated offense the expunged records may be considered by the sentencing court in determining the sentence for the new offense or for the purpose of a habitual offender enhancement.
If someone worked with another attorney on a previous conviction, could they go to you for their expungement?
Yes. There are many criminal defense attorneys that don’t handle expungement cases. Also, I strongly recommend that you hire an attorney experienced in this area. Simply put, if somebody tries to do this on their own and they don’t do it correctly then they’re out of luck. They can’t file an amended expungement petition.
What are some of the most common cases that people get expunged?
The most common are the Section 1 and 2 offenses. I believe they are the most common because the wait period is short (one and five years respectively) and I have not had a prosecutor object to any offenses in these categories.
Why would it be beneficial to hire an attorney for an expungement?
Without question, it would be beneficial to hire an attorney that has the knowledge required to follow the statutory scheme. As I’ve previously stated, you only get one opportunity at this, there are no do-overs. Also, if you have a hearing, you don’t want to try to do the hearing without an attorney because the Court is going to expect you to know the Indiana Criminal Code and the rules of trial procedure.
If someone doesn’t know they have a charge that could be expunged, could they give you a call and you can give them an idea if they can pursue it?
Yes. I like to meet with them and go through all of the elements of the statutory scheme with them to make sure they qualify.