Expunging a criminal record in Ohio means placing it off-limits to the public. Law enforcement and court officials can gain access to some expunged records under certain circumstances, but the information will not be available to employers, banks, apartment owners, and others conducting background checks for work-related, financial, or contractual reasons.
Most types of offenses can be expunged provided the person convicted on the charge has fully completed and satisfied all the terms of his or her sentence. The only two types of criminal convictions that cannot be expunged are those involving violence and those related to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Also, traffic violations are generally exempt from expungement because actions like speeding and failure to yield are not considered crimes in and of themselves under Ohio law. WHAT CHARGES CAN BE EXPUNGED FROM MY RECORD IN OHIO?
Current laws in Ohio allow individuals to petition for the expungement of one nonviolent felony, two nonviolent misdemeanors, or one felony and one misdemeanor. Nonviolent criminal offenses include larceny/theft, fraud, white-collar crimes, drug possession, drug trafficking, solicitation/importuning, and burglary. Listing each criminal offense that falls into the nonviolent category would be impossible without reproducing much of the Ohio Revised Code. A simpler way to understand if you may have a chance of getting your criminal record expunged is to ask yourself if you were convicted of one of the following DUI-related or violent crimes:
- Assault, including sexual assault
- Domestic violence
- Kidnapping/false imprisonment
- Operating a vehicle while intoxicated
- Physical control (e.g., intoxicated while in the driver’s seat of a parked car)
If you can answer no, then you may be eligible for expungement. The other minimum criteria that must be met to have your Ohio criminal record expunged are
- Release from jail
- Finished parole
- Paid all restitution
- Waited at least one year after completing all terms of your sentence
- Failed the correct forms with the appropriate court
- Paid the expungement petition filing fee
Consulting with an experienced expungement lawyer in Columbus, Ohio, before starting to apply for having your criminal record sealed is strongly recommended. Filing an incomplete application form or directing it to the wrong jurisdiction can result in an automatic denial. And you may be given a second chance to petition for expungement.
A knowledgeable Columbus expungement attorney will also be able to provide advice on what information to include with the expungement petition to convince the prosecutor and judge who review the application that you have paid your debt to society in full, kept your post-conviction record clean, and earned the opportunity to leave your past behind you as you apply for new jobs, loans, and educational opportunities.