New Indiana Law Gives Safe Harbor to Those With Criminal Records

Nick Fishman

Effective today, July 1, 2011, a new Indiana law takes effect which will allow ex-convicts with non-violent criminal records to hide their past from potential employers.

The law, which applies to anyone convicted of a misdemeanor or a Class D felony that didn’t result in injury, gives the ex-offender the legal right to petition the court to limit access to their criminal histories for eight years if they don’t commit any more crimes.

Indiana officials are making it known to those that successfully petition the court to wipe out their record that they can tell employers that they have not been convicted of criminal activity on a job application.

However, there’s a rub. While the conviction would be cleared from the actual court, it cannot be purged from criminal record databases that previously catalogued such information. This will can create an interesting situation for both employers and applicants when the actual background check is conducted.

Interestingly enough, this development would actually benefit those that do not take extra steps to verify criminal records at the source when they have been found on a criminal record database. Those that engage in the best practice of confirming these records at the court will be unable to report the record because it cannot be substantiated.

It will be interesting to see how this unfolds. Stay tuned.

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