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DUI Expungement in Indiana

Indiana has very stringent requirements for the expungement of records. These requirements apply to all criminal convictions, including DUI convictions.  In order for a person to get a criminal conviction erased from their criminal history, the person must obtain a pardon from the governor. However, pardons are only available to persons who have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment longer than five years. This means the chance for obtaining a pardon for a misdemeanor DUI is nonexistent, as the maximum sentence is 3 years in prison. In the case of DUI which results in serious bodily harm or death the minimum sentence is 1.5 to 2 years, so if a defendant receives a harsh sentence from a judge it may be possible to obtain a pardon from the governor.

Indiana law also provides for the expungement of arrest records. However, arrest records may be expunged only in certain, very limited circumstances. Expungement may occur only in cases in which a defendant is arrested but no criminal charges against the defendant are filed or when charges against the individual are dropped because no offense was committed, there was mistaken identity, or there was no probable cause for arrest.  If any of these four criteria have been met, an arrestee may petition for the expungement of the arrest records. The arrestee must file a petition in the court with jurisdiction over the case to begin expungement proceedings. The petition must state:

  • the date of the arrest,
  • (2) the charge,
  • (3) the name of the law enforcement agency employing the arresting officer, (4) any other important identifying information such as the arresting officer’s name or the case number,
  • (5) the arrestee’s birthdate and
  • (6) the arrestee’s Social Security number.


Once a petition is filed, a copy is sent to the law enforcement agency. The law enforcement agency then provides the court with the name and address of each agency to which the arrest records were forwarded.  The clerk of the court then serves a copy of the arrestee’s petition on each named agency. Any agency upon which the petition is served has thirty days from the date of the filing of the petition to submit a notice of opposition to the petition with the court.

If a notice of opposition is filed to the petition and the court declines to summarily grant or deny the petition, the court must hold a hearing on the petition.  A court will only summarily deny a petition if it finds the petition deficient or if the court finds that, based on information contained in the sworn statements of individuals representing an interested agency, the arrestee is ineligible for expungement. After the hearing, the arrestee’s petition will be granted unless the court finds: (1) none of the abovementioned criteria for eligibility have been met, (2) the arrestee has a record of arrests for offenses other than minor traffic violations, or (3) criminal charges are pending against the arrestee.

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