New law will expunge criminal records
INDIANAPOLIS — In a month, a new Indiana law will give Hoosiers convicted of a crime the opportunity to wipe their record clean.
Indiana House Bill 1482, authored by Rep. Jud McMillin (R-District 68), is aimed at giving criminals a second chance to start over.
“I believe in do the crime, do the time. But when we say that I don’t think anybody means for that time to be forever,” said McMillin.
He warned, however, the law is not built for everyone. People convicted of most violent or sexual crimes will not be eligible to take advantage of the program. However, minor felonies and misdemeanors like driving while intoxicated can be expunged.
“Some things are easier to get expunged and some things aren’t eligible at all,” he said.
Anyone wanting to erase a misdemeanor would have to wait five years from their conviction date to file a petition. People with a minor felony would have to wait eight years.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving told Fox 59 it does not support the new law.
“Drunk driving is a 100% preventable violent crime and it kills and injures too many people in Indiana roadways and this, this really undercuts the current drunk driving law in Indiana,” said Frank Harris, with MADD’s Legislative Affairs Department.
Harris said the organization believes drunk driving is a violent act, even if it does not end fatally and should never be expunged.
McMillin understand why this would raise some eyebrows. However, under the new law, he said people would have their old convictions used against them if they break the law after expunging their record.
“When they get expunged they are still available to be used in subsequent prosecution,” explained McMillin. “So they’re not getting a complete new lease on life in terms of ‘I committed a drunk driving offense in 1997 and now nobody can elevate my crime when I do it again in 2013.”