Indiana has a pretty open system for looking at criminal records and court filings. Many of the state’s records are online so that is a good place to start. Certain types of documents are available at no cost. The state has websites with some helpful links to guide people on how to obtain public information for criminal and court records.
Even though Indiana has good online resources, those seeking criminal or court records still may need to visit a law enforcement agency or court in person to get everything needed. Most thorough criminal records require fingerprints and other information, so that would also require an in-person visit to get that done.
The state has different costs for the types of records being sought but remains reasonable in costs compared to others. Clerks of courts will list a price for the time and copying of records based on the extent of documentation.
What is a criminal record?
A criminal record is an official document detailing a person’s criminal convictions, pending criminal cases, prior arrests, and other interactions with law enforcement agencies. Additional names for a criminal record include criminal history record, rap sheet, and police record.
As with marriage records and court records, criminal records are generally public records in the United States and can be accessed through a criminal background check. However, public access to specific criminal record information varies from state to state.
In the State of Indiana, criminal records are extremely accessible as people can start their searches online. However, not every record is online and those seeking out records may need to visit the local clerk’s office or law enforcement agency to get all records.
What is included in an Indiana criminal record?
As criminal records are kept by law enforcement agencies at all levels of government in the United States, an Indiana criminal record may vary in format and content depending on the law enforcement database from which it is accessed.
Generally, an Indiana criminal record will include the following information:
- A person’s full name and possible aliases
- Personal information such as age, date of birth, sex, ethnicity, height, weight, and other physical characteristics
- Fingerprints and mugshot
- Misdemeanor criminal offenses and convictions
- Felony criminal offenses and convictions
- Traffic records
- Past and outstanding arrest warrants
- Prior arrests
- Pending and dismissed charges
Why would someone access a criminal record?
Getting a criminal record is done primarily as part of a background check, but it may be needed to obtain a security clearance or as a part of another court case. Sometimes, law enforcement will seek out criminal records as part of another investigation and some prosecutors will want to look at a person’s history to recommend a sentence to the judge. Criminal records may also be required in cases of adoption or another private matter.
Most of the time, an individual is requesting their own criminal record for personal use. It is also good to get a criminal record to make sure everything is accurate where a person can seek to correct it if necessary.
What’s the difference between an infraction, misdemeanor, and felony?
When you access a criminal record, the person listed on the record may have an offense listed. Criminal offenses are usually broken into three categories: Infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies.
An infraction is a minor violation, a misdemeanor is more serious, and a felony is the most serious type of crime.
To better understand the information listed on a criminal record, here’s a quick overview of each offense and its severity:
- Infraction: A small traffic violation or littering are considered infractions. An infraction is a minor violation of the law. Usually, punishments are a warning or a fine. Typically, no jail time is associated with an infraction.
- Misdemeanor: If someone were to get a DUI or a drug violation, it’s considered a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is more serious than an infraction but less severe than a felony. Jail time of less than a year or probation are usually associated with these types of crimes. Likely, the offender will do time in a local or county jail.
- Felony: Murder, rape, and arson are considered felony charges. A felony is the most serious type of crime. Offenders are typically sentenced to jail for more than a year and are likely held in a state or federal facility.
What is the difference between an Indiana arrest record and an Indiana criminal record?
An arrest record is an official document including the details of a specific arrest. A criminal record is a more comprehensive document that includes a person’s entire criminal background known to law enforcement agencies.
Both types of documents are usually public records in the United States, although information about specific arrests may be sealed and rendered inaccessible to the public for a variety of reasons.
Whether an arrest record or a criminal record is accessed, the information listed is for state crimes only. If a person is involved in a federal crime, this information is not listed on a state record.
How do I search for an Indiana criminal record?
The first place to start is online at the state website to search for criminal history. On the website, those searching can either look at a limited record under their name or a complete state record using fingerprints. Those seeking to look at criminal records nationwide can click on a link that explains how to do that.
With the limited history report for Indiana, only misdemeanor and felony arrests within the state are reported. This information is pulled based on the name, birth date, race, gender, Social Security number, and birthplace.
A complete criminal history would require fingerprints and the criminal records typically used when someone wants to seal or expunge their records. This can be obtained solely for the State of Indiana or nationwide through the Indiana system.
How do I obtain a physical copy of an Indiana criminal record?
In Indiana, a request for a criminal record is labeled as a challenge of the record. Those wishing to see criminal records first must register to have their fingerprints taken. Registration can be done online. The system will pull up the closest Indiana State Police (ISP) center based on your zip code to have fingerprints taken. Payment for the service can be done online with a credit or debit card or those wanting criminal records can pay at the fingerprint center using the case, check, or money order.
Those applying to see criminal records will either get a copy of their criminal transcript or something called a “no record letter” indicating there are no criminal records listed for that person.
How do I search for Indiana criminal case court records?
This is where the online court case website is handy. Many of the court cases are online and can be free to access. However, not every document is online. Those who can’t find a specific case online would need to go to the local court where the case was handled and ask the court clerk for a copy of the court records. Some records are also at the Indiana State Library and at the Indiana Supreme Court Law Library, both of which can be accessed online.
Does Indiana allow criminal records to be sealed or expunged?
Indiana law allows for an individual’s criminal history to be expunged or sealed. While the Indiana State Police is the central repository for criminal records in the state, a petition for seal or expungement should be filed with the local court where the case was handled. An individual may represent himself in this matter or a private attorney may be hired. Be aware the Indiana State Police can’t give legal advice on filing a petition.
Once approved, a verified petition and court order granting the petition is sent by the local court to the Indiana State Police Expungement Section. Processing time can be delayed if all the proper paperwork isn’t submitted with the petition. Once all the documents are received, the Expungement Section will review, process, and comply with the court order.
Those with questions can email [email protected] or call 317-234-4427. Remember, officials can’t answer legal questions but can direct you on where to obtain forms or similar questions.
How can I have false information on an Indiana criminal record corrected?
This can be done on the Challenge My Record link by registering for fingerprinting to get a complete criminal record. Those challenging their records will then need to obtain all court documentation for their case available through the local courts where the case was handled.
There are also forms available that will need to be completed. Those seeking help to obtain those can chat live with a person at the state information center. Challenges can also be made by emailing the Indiana State Police Criminal Justice Information Services Section at [email protected] or by calling 317-232-8262.
How long are Indiana criminal records kept on file?
All criminal history is stored in the Indiana State Police database, which is secured. It remains there until the person dies or turns 99 years old. Also, they must not have had another criminal act for 15 years in order for records to be destroyed at 99 years old.