Criminal Record Sealing – Ohio
In Ohio, having a criminal records can make it hard to find gainful employment or even find a place to live! Everybody makes mistakes, and if you have learned from them and stayed out of trouble, our office can help you get your record sealed in order to live a more productive life.
In Ohio, adult criminal records are not actually “expunged” (completely removed, destroyed or erased). Instead, Ohio law allows courts to allow certain criminal records to be sealed. This means that any electronic or paper records of your criminal charges are kept separate and secure.
Most employers and landlords are not able to see any sealed criminal records, though there are exceptions for certain types of jobs (such as law enforcement, jobs working with children/the elderly, and state professional licensing boards).
How many convictions can I have sealed?
In Ohio, a new law regarding the restrictions on the number of convictions you can have sealed and the types of convictions you can have sealed has taken effect. Thanks to this new law, you may apply to have up to five non-violent, non-sexual F4 or F5 felony convictions sealed, and an unlimited number of non-violent, non-sexual misdemeanors sealed.
If you are not eligible under the new law, and have one non-violent, non-sexual F3 conviction and a misdemeanor, you are still eligible under the old law to seal the one F3.
Am I eligible to have my record sealed?
An individual may be eligible to seal their criminal record in Ohio if they meet the following requirements under Ohio Rev. Code § 2953.32:
- They are a first time criminal offender, or an individual who has not previously been convicted of the same or a different offense in Ohio or any other state;
- An individual who is a felony offender may have their criminal record sealed three years after all terms to their sentence are complete;
- An individual who is a misdemeanor offender may have their criminal record sealed one year after all terms to their sentence are complete;
- An individual who was charged for a criminal offense but not found guilty of the offense or convicted may file an application to have the charges acquitted and all criminal records associated with the case sealed at any time after the case is dismissed;
- An individual who is arrested for a misdemeanor offense and who has effected a bail forfeiture may have their record sealed one year after the bail forfeiture was entered; and
- If the individual has no other criminal proceedings pending against them.
According to section 2953.36, an individual is not eligible to seal their criminal record if they were convicted of certain offenses. Before you start the process of sealing your record, it is important to first speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney to determine if your criminal record is eligible to be sealed.
Sometimes, there can be blemishes on your record that stem from something other than being convicted of a criminal offense. These types of situations are described below:
In cases that were dismissed, or in which you were found not guilty:
If all charges against you were dismissed, you can apply for the record to be sealed.
If you were convicted on some of the charges, but found not guilty on other charges (or other charges were dismissed), all from the same incident, you cannot get the dismissed charges sealed unless the convictions are also eligible to be sealed.
In cases that were “No-Billed” by a Grand Jury:
You must wait two years from the date of the No Bill to apply. (Prosecutors have two years to re-file charges.)
Sealing arrest records:
If you were arrested and no formal charges were filed, you must check with the police department that arrested you to determine how to request that your arrest record be sealed. You may not have any pending criminal charges against you to apply to have any non-convictions sealed.
If you believe that you qualify to have your record sealed, or have questions about your record to see if you would qualify to have your record sealed, please get in touch with one of our attorneys today so that you can get back to living the life that you deserve!