Expungement Of A Criminal Record In Ohio
Having a criminal record can complicate almost every aspect of your life, making it difficult to find a job or even rent an apartment. Fortunately, some states – including Ohio – allow those who have completed their sentences the opportunity to file for expungement, which makes criminal records inaccessible to most employers and landlords. Understanding which offenses can be sealed and the other eligibility requirements can help you get a fresh start in life.
What Are The Eligibility Requirements?
Beginning October 29, 2018, under Ohio law, a person can expunge up to five felonies (as long as they are not first, second, or third-degree felonies, sex offenses, or offenses of violence), and an unlimited number of misdemeanors or minor misdemeanors (as long as they are not OVI/DUI or sex offenses).
If you have a conviction for an act of violence, then the current expungement rules apply, where it is only available to those who have not been convicted of more than two misdemeanor offenses, a single felony, or one felony and one misdemeanor. These restrictions also apply to cases in other states, but multiple charges resulting from the same arrest will usually be treated as a single conviction. Minor misdemeanors are also not counted toward the conviction limit.
What Charges Cannot Be Expunged?
Records of most criminal offenses will be eligible to be sealed, but there will still be exceptions as explained above. Ohio will not allow records of first- and second-degree felonies, violent crimes, or any sexual offenses to be sealed. Many automotive offenses, including tampering with an ignition interlock device, DUIs, refusing to submit to chemical testing, or hit-and-run accidents are also ineligible for expungement.
When Can Records Be Expunged?
Applicants applying for expungement must not have any pending criminal charges and have any fines, court costs, or restitution related to the case paid before the criminal records can be sealed. The waiting period is still three years after completion of the sentence for felonies and one year for misdemeanors, where there is a conviction. For a felony case ignored by the grand jury, the waiting period is two years. For any case where there is an acquittal or dismissal, there is no waiting period.
Get Help Pursuing An Expungement
Contact me, James F. Bogen, Attorney at Law, for guidance on whether you qualify for an expungement. I have 20-plus years of experience handling criminal defense in the Cincinnati area. I can help you pursue a clean criminal record.