Divided ruling: Felony reduced to misdemeanor means longer expungement wait

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The Indiana Lawyer on 9/6/2019

The Indiana Court of Appeals on Friday asked the Indiana General Assembly for guidance as it sharply divided over whether minor felonies reduced to misdemeanor convictions should trigger new five-year waiting periods for people seeking to expunge their criminal records. The majority ruled they should, a result the dissenting judge called “unjust and ill-advised.”

The appellate panel affirmed the denial of an expungement petition that was filed last year in Elkhart Superior Court. N. G. was convicted of Class D felony theft in 13 years ago, and in 2016, he successfully petitioned to have the conviction reduced to a misdemeanor. But when he filed an expungement petition in 2018, the trial court denied it, ruling that the entry of the misdemeanor conviction meant he had to wait five years from the date the conviction was reduced for relief.