Changes in Ohio law regarding eligibility to expunge or seal a record

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The attorneys at Artz, Dewhirst & Wheeler, LLP strive to provide updates on recent changes in Ohio law.  Although this information may not be helpful to you personally, it may be helpful information for you to share with someone you know.  The consequences of a criminal charge or conviction on one’s record may impact current or future employment, school or education, as well as other opportunities.  It may be possible to have these records sealed – commonly referred to as an expungement.  The application process to expunge the records of a conviction in Ohio has three primary steps.  The individual must be an “eligible offender” as defined by Ohio law, the required period of time must have passed and a judge must approve the individual’s application. A hearing may or may not be required.

In 2012 Ohio legislators changed the definition of “eligible offender.”   Under the old law, expungements were only available to first time offenders, so an individual with a prior criminal or serious traffic offense conviction was not eligible to apply for an expungement.  Under the new law, although the waiting periods remain the same, many more people are eligible for an expungement, and a person may be eligible to apply even if a prior conviction exists.  However, certain types of convictions, such as OVIs, can never be expunged.

The waiting period to file an expungement application is one year after a misdemeanor case has been closed and three years after a felony case has been closed.  A case is not considered “closed” until probation has been completed and all fines have been paid.  However, an individual may apply to expunge dismissals or not guilty verdicts without a waiting period.

The expungement process in Ohio requires a relatively small investment for a potentially significant benefit.  If you wish to know more about expungements, please contact the law firm of Artz, Dewhirst & Wheeler, LLP.