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Expungement and Restricted Access to Criminal Records Revisited

As many of my readers are aware, a new law went into effect on July 1, 2011 allowing Court's to Restrict Access to Criminal History Records for certain cases. Indiana Code 35-8-8-1 et. seq. allows Court's to Restrict Access to Criminal Records for Misdemeanor and Class D Felony convictions that did not result in injury to a person. This can include, but is not limited to convictions for Public Intoxication, Possession of Marijuana, Criminal Mischief and Drunk Driving (DUI/OWI).

There has been a bit of confusion regarding this law and how to implement it. In certain Courts, the Petition to Restrict Access is to be filed under the original criminal case number. However, in other Courts, a seperate miscellaneous case file is opened and a filing fee must be paid. To complicate matters further, the Indiana Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Committee met yesterday to discuss "fixes" to the current law.

Some of the proposed "fixes" are minor, including, what to include in the Petition and a requirement to serve the prosecutor with a copy of the Petition. However, some on the committee don't like the current law and want to limit the law so non-law enforcement entities can access the convictions even after the Order restricting access is granted.

I am hopeful that others on the committee will derail the attempts to water down this law. In fact, I would hope the Committee would go farther and allow more convictions to be sealed.

If you, or a friend or family member, have questions regarding Restricting Access to Criminal History Records or other criminal defense related questions, please call me, Gregory A. MIller, a Fort Wayne Criminal Defense Lawyer.