Expungement laws are designed to help those who are struggling with the consequences of having a criminal history to seek relief by hiding their past. Whenever you are involved in a criminal matter, regardless of whether or not you are found guilty, your history goes into the public record. This history can then be found by anyone who conducts a criminal background check, such as a potential employer, landlord, or creditor. When your record is expunged, any entries are hidden away, allowing you to truthfully answer that you have never been arrested or charged with a crime.
However, petitioning isn’t necessarily a straightforward process. While you will be required to print out a petition with specific information on it and submit it to the court, you’ll also need to be able to plead your case successfully and pay the filing fee. Let’s take a closer look at the expungement process here.
In order to petition the court for an expungement, you’ll have to pay a filing fee. The current fee is $156 for most courts, but not all petitions will be required to pay it. Those who were arrested but not convicted or released and wish to have their arrest record expunged can do so without paying the expungement filing fee.
It’s also important to note that you may only petition to have your records expunged in one county. If you wish to have other records from other counties expunged, you must petition a second time with a separate process in the other county (though the process will likely be the same).
Provided you qualify for expungement, you’ll submit your petition and pay the filing fee with the court. From there, the court will get a copy of your expungement petition to the law enforcement agency responsible for your initial arrest and charges. You should also make sure you submit a copy of your petition to the state central records repository.
From there, the law enforcement agency that made your arrest will have the opportunity to object. If they don’t, your expungement will likely be approved and your records hidden away. If they do, the court will consider the information and probably schedule a hearing date. At this hearing, you and your attorney will likely face prosecutors from the law enforcement agency that initially made your arrest, and you’ll need to demonstrate how your criminal record has continued to plague you after the completion of your sentence and why expunging your records is beneficial to society. If your request is denied, you’ll be required to wait a period of time before re-applying.It’s strongly advised you speak with a Fort Wayne criminal attorney as soon as possible to further discuss your expungement matter before filing your petition. Arnold Terrill, P.C. today at 888-912-7220 to request a consultation.