Expungements or Sealing of the Record
Ohio Revised Code chapter 2953 outlines the requirements for sealing your criminal record of conviction. Although it is commonly called "expungement," the process for an adult in Ohio is actually sealing. If granted, your record is not destroyed; it is sealed. For juvenile records, there is a sealing process and an expungement option. This page speaks to sealing a record of convictionfor an adult.
Leslie will assist you in first determining whether a criminal record is able to be sealed per the statutory requirements. Some attorneys will simply take a case without making this initial determination, which is a waste of money to you. If you qualify, Leslie will then assist in the application process and the hearing.
As outlined in O.R.C. 2953.32, there are five requirements an applicant must satisfy before his/her record of conviction is sealed.
REQUIREMENT 1: Eligible Offender
The Court will look at your entire criminal and traffic record to determine if you qualify to apply. To be an eligible offender, you must have only the following:
- 1 misdemeanor; or
- 1 felony; or
- 1 misdemeanor and 1 felony; or
- 2 misdemeanors.
*minor misdemeanors are not considered; 2 or more offenses that resulted in 1 case count as 1 for this step; some traffic offenses will be considered, such as an OVI/DUI or DUS*
REQUIREMENT 2: Time frame
You must wait to apply 1 year (for a misdemeanor) or 3 years (for a felony) to apply. The time starts ticking after you have completed ALL Court obligations, i.e. probation, payment of court costs, restitution, etc.
REQUIREMENT 3: Eligible Offense
The offense you are trying to seal must be an eligible offense. Offenses that CANNOT be sealed:
- 1st or 2nd degree felonies
- offenses with mandatory prison terms
- sex offenses
- traffic offenses
- certain crimes involving minor victims
- offenses of violence (assault does qualify to be sealed if M1)
REQUIREMENT 4: No pending charges with any Court
REQUIREMENT 5: Demonstrated rehabilitation
You must demonstrate that you have been rehabilitated to the satisfaction of the Court. The Court then must weigh your interests in having the record sealed versus the legitimate needs of the government to maintain those records. This involves a hearing, the length and detail of which is determine by level of offense.
*For cases in which you were charged with a crime that was later dismissed, resulting in no conviction, the process is much more simple. Leslie strongly suggests you apply for sealing of dismissed charges, as a dismissed charge could later cause problems with a potential employer or interested party. Contact her for more information.