Attorneys for Expungement of Criminal Convictions in OhioIf you've been convicted of a crime or even a number of crimes, you do not necessarily have to be burdened by your criminal record for the rest of your life. You may be eligible to have your record of criminal convictions sealed. Ohio made it easier to get criminal convictions sealed starting in 2014, so that people can expunge their records and get a much needed fresh start to life. Ohio amended the expungement statutes even further in 2018, allowing people with up to 5 felonies get their felony convictions sealed.
Who is Eligible to have Criminal Convictions Sealed in Ohio?Ohio Revised Code Section 2953.31 determines who can have their record sealed and Ohio Revised Code Section 2953.32 determines how to actually expunge records of criminal conviction. Ohio Revised Code Section 2953.31 provides who is eligible to have their records expunged, in summarized part:
'Eligible Offender' means either of the following:
(a) Anyone who has been convicted of one or more offenses, but not more than five felonies, in this state or any other jurisdiction, if all of the offenses in this state are felonies of the fourth or fifth degree or misdemeanors and none of those offenses are an offense of violence or a felony sex offense[.]"
This means that an individual can get an unlimited number of non-violent non-sex crime misdemeanors expunged and can get up to 5 felonies expunged if they are only 4th or 5th degree felonies that are non-violent and non-sex related crimes.
The old provision of the statute still stands to allow even more potential crimes to be eligible for expungement (including some 3rd degree felonies). This provision provides in summarized part:
(b) Anyone who has been convicted of an offense in this state or any other jurisdiction, ... and who has not more than one felony conviction, not more than two misdemeanor convictions, or not more than one felony conviction and one misdemeanor conviction in Ohio or any other jurisdiction. When two or more convictions result from or are connected with the same act or result from offenses committed at the same time, they are counted as one conviction. When two or three convictions result from the same charge or case and result from related criminal acts that were committed within a three-month period, but do not result from the same act or from offenses committed at the same time, they are counted as one conviction. Convictions of minor misdemeanors do not count towards the tally. Convictions for certain serious offenses, violent offenses, OVI and traffic offenses are simply not eligible to be expunged.
Sometimes you can apply to have the court treat multiple convictions as one conviction - so it is possible to get your records expunged even if you exceed the above stated limits.
What Crimes Can Get Expunged in Ohio After the 2018 Law Change?The 2018 change to Ohio expungement and record sealing law basically allows most felony drug and theft related offenses to now be expungeable (if they are 4th or 5th degree felonies or even sometimes 3rd degree felonies). The law change also expands to allow almost everyone with non-violent and non-sex crime criminal records to get their criminal convictions sealed and make it like it legally never happened. So long as it is a non-violent offense and non-sex crime related offense (along with a few other specific types of crimes), an individual can now have ALL of their misdemeanor crimes in Ohio sealed and up to 5 felonies sealed! The law change is life-changing for a lot of people in Ohio. If you need to talk to an attorney to see if your criminal record is eligible, then call attorney Evan T. Engler, a criminal record sealing and expungement attorney for all Central Ohio criminal records at (614) 610-9988.
How to Get Criminal Convictions Expunged in OhioFirst, if you would like to get your criminal convictions expunged then you should consult with an attorney because you only get one chance to petition the court to expunge your records; if the court denies your application then you cannot do it over again and your chances will be dramatically increased with an attorney. Secondly, Ohio Revised Code Section 2953.32 governs the process of petitioning the court to have your records of criminal convictions sealed. There are certain time limits that you must wait out before you can petition the court to have your criminal convictions sealed, depending on whether you were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony.
Time Limits For Getting Criminal Convictions Sealed in OhioOhio Revised Code Section 2953.32(A)(1) sets out the time limits that you must wait before getting your record of criminal convictions sealed.
- For misdemeanors, you have to wait 1 year after the final discharge of your case
- If you were only convicted of 1 eligible felony, then you have to wait 3 years after the final discharge of that felony
- If you were convicted of 2 felonies, then you have to wait 4 years after the final discharge of the most recent felony
- If you were convicted of 3 or more felonies, then you have to wait 5 years after the final discharge of the most recent felony
What Factors Does the Court Look At In Determining Whether to Seal Records of Criminal Conviction?According to Ohio Revised Code Section 2953.32(C), the Court looks at 5 factors in determining whether or not they will seal your record of criminal conviction. These factors are:
(1) Whether you are an eligible offender within the definition of Ohio Revised Code 2953.31.
(2) Whether there are any criminal proceedings pending against the applicant for expungement.
(3) Whether the applicant has been rehabilitated to the satisfaction of the court.
(4) If the prosecutor filed an objection to the granting of the applicant's application to seal records, then the Court must consider the prosecutor's reasons against granting the application.
(5) The Court must weigh the interests of the applicant in having the records sealed against the legitimate needs, if any, of the government to maintain those records.
If the Court determines that an applicant satisfies all of the required criteria, then the Court will grant the application to seal records. The records will not be sealed immediately after the granting of an application, but takes up to a few months to get all the records removed and sealed.