Jud McMillin (R-Brookville) authored HEA 1482, dubbed the "Second Chance Bill."
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – A local lawmaker’s bill that allows non-violent Indiana criminals to have their charges eventually erased from their records is now law.
House Enrolled Act 1482 allows individuals to expunge a misdemeanor conviction – such as a DUI or possession of marijuana – after five years. Some non-violent and non-sexual Class D felonies – like theft or residential entry – can be expunged after eight years. An individual can only petition a judge for expungement one time.
The law also allows judges to seal the records of a person who was arrested but not prosecuted or whose conviction was overturned on appeal one year after their arrest. Another provision permits police to access certain expunged records without a court order.
Along with HEA 1006, HEA 1482 was signed into law by Indiana Governor Mike Pence on Monday. He said Indiana should be the worst place in American to commit a serious crime, but the best place once you’ve done your time to get a second chance.”
"The legislation that I sign today will reform and strengthen Indiana's criminal code by focusing resources on the most serious offenses, and the related legislation will give a second chance to those who strive to re-enter society and become productive, law-abiding citizens," Pence said.
A smear on a person’s record can often prevent them from finding gainful employment. HEA 1482 was the idea of State Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville), who said the bill gives convicted Hoosiers who want to move on with their lives and support for their families a way to do so.
“Article 1, Section 18 of our State Constitution outlines that the goal of our penal system shall be founded on reformation and not vindictive justice,” said McMillin. “Ex-offenders leave prison and immediately become labeled everywhere they go; all the while, doors close because of a permanent criminal record hanging over their head. With thirty-three other states having an expungement policy in place, I am glad to see Indiana join the rest of the nation in holding people accountable while allowing forgiveness and second chances to occur.”
McMillin, a criminal defense lawyer in Brookville, said HEA 1482 is an extension of 2012’s Second Chance Act, which seals records for Class D felonies and misdemeanors for non-sexual and non-violent crimes if eight years have passed from completion of the sentence.
According to the governor’s office, HEA 1006 strengthens the penalties for B and C felonies, computer crimes, sex crimes and hazing. It also allows a judge to report suspected child abuse or neglect directly to the local Department of Child Services after they have reported the suspicion to the child abuse hotline.