If you have a criminal record in Ohio, it’s time to start the new year fresh with a clean record. Getting your record expunged means that you legally do not have to mention being arrested or charged for that conviction. This is important because having a criminal record can hurt your chances of getting a job, renting an apartment, adopting a child, or receiving a loan. So, how do you begin the process of clearing your record?
Expungement vs. Record Sealing
Record sealing means your case records are removed from all public records.
Expungement means that all references to a prior criminal conviction are completely destroyed forever. No one can access these records any longer. If your record is expunged, in the eyes of the law, the case never happened.
How do I know if my record is able to be expunged?
You will need to apply to have records expunged or sealed and if eligible, it is up to the judge’s discretion to grant your request. It also depends on whether your case resulted in a conviction, not guilty verdict, dismissal, bail forfeiture, no bill, or pardon. Any dismissal can be sealed, and many convictions can be sealed/expunged except those excluded by Ohio law (including DUIs, most violent crimes, some sex crimes, and first- or second-degree felonies).
- Eligible minor misdemeanors can be expunged/sealed after 6 months.
- Eligible M1-M4 misdemeanors can be expunged/sealed after 1 year.
- Eligible low-level felonies (fourth or fifth-degree felonies) can be sealed after 1 year.
- Eligible mid-level felonies (third-degree felonies) can be sealed after 3 years. For third-degree felonies, only 2 cases can be sealed.
Many crimes are eligible, but it is best to consult an experienced attorney to evaluate your case. Ohio’s laws have changed over the years, so even if your case was not previously eligible for sealing/expungement, you may speak with an attorney to discuss your current options.
In order to successfully seal/expunge your record:
- You must have no open or pending cases.
- All cases on the application have reached final discharge, meaning you have completed any jail/prison sentence, probation/parole, and fines/fees.
- The required waiting period has passed.
- Each offense is eligible for sealing/expungement.
What is the process for sealing or expunging a record?
First, contact an experienced attorney to handle your case. They will review the specific circumstances of your case and evaluate whether or not you are eligible for record sealing/expungement, then help guide you through the process. Your attorney will file an application in court that you were convicted, and then a case will be set for hearing. Even if the State files an objection, you will proceed with the hearing to explain your case. Finally, the judge will decide whether or not to grant record sealing/expungement.
Are You Looking for a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Cincinnati, OH?
If you are facing criminal charges, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Cincinnati office directly at 513-929-9333 to schedule your free consultation.