Expungements in Ohio
Sealing Your Criminal Record
According to the Ohio Ex-Offender Reentry Coalition, expungement involves sealing your criminal record so that any record of your previous criminal activity or convictions is court file sealed. Legally speaking, your record will be the same as it was before you were convicted – as if you were never found guilty of a crime. Why should you pursue expungement? In Ohio, many job, apartment and license applications ask if you have been convicted of a crime. When you answer yes, your application may be automatically rejected. It is unlikely that you will get hired, be given a license or accepted to rent an apartment if you have a criminal record. Because of this, some people are allowed to seal their records.
If you are asked to appear as a witness in court, the jury may not consider a reliable source of information if you have been convicted of a crime. Your testimony may not be taken seriously and your reputation may be permanently marred. Once your record is sealed, certain individuals and entities will be able to look at it. For example, law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and other agencies may be allowed to look at your record. If you commit another crime, your record may be held against you during sentencing. For example, if you were convicted of drunk driving but had your record expunged, your second DUI probably won’t be sentenced as a first offense. You may be treated as a repeat offender.
After a conviction, certain crimes may not be able to be sealed. For instance, if you have been convicted of rape, sexual battery, corrupting a minor, gross sexual imposition, sexual imposition, obscenity involving a minor, pornography involving a minor illegal use of a minor in pornography or a motor vehicle violation, your record cannot be expunged. Additionally, your record cannot be sealed if you have been found guilty of the following crimes:
- Bail forfeiture in a traffic case
- Any first-degree misdemeanor committed against a minor
- A first degree felony
- A second degree felony
- A drivers’ license violation
Previously, if you were convicted of two crimes based on the same action, your record may still qualify for expungement. Both convictions must be counted as your first offense. For example, taking a small item from a store may be considered shoplifting, but the same action may warrant a charge for resisting arrest as well. Also prior to the recent expungement amendments, if you had been convicted of more than one offense, your record may not have qualified for sealing.
The law regarding expungements changed as of September 2012. The law changed not only what convictions can be sealed but changed who might be able to qualify for these expungements. There are now more qualifying individuals than ever before. Many qualifying individuals will likely be seeking the help of attorneys throughout the state to clear their criminal records.
Possibly the most important change to the expungement law in Ohio is that only first offenders could be eligible for sealing of their criminal records. Now, the verbiage of the expungement law has changed from “first offenders” only qualifying to all “eligible offenders” qualifying. Who is considered “eligible” may be interpreted differently from case to case, which is why it can be extremely helpful to have an advocate on your side, fighting for your expungement to be approved.
Additionally, if you have multiple charges for minor misdemeanors, you may be able to have your record expunged. Most traffic offenses are considered minor misdemeanors. A minor traffic offense probably won’t count as a criminal record on your conviction. A minor charge like this shouldn’t keep you from having your record sealed. Even if you meet the qualifications for expungement, the judge may refuse to seal your record. If you justly qualify for an expungement, don’t let anything get in your way! The Columbus expungement attorneys at our firm can fight to see that you get the record-sealing you deserve.
How to File for an Expungement in Ohio
At the The Boerst Law Office, we understand that legal procedures can be tedious and intimidating. If you’ve been convicted of a crime and want to have your record expunged, talk to an attorney from our firm today. We can help you file the necessary paper work. In order for a judge to seal your record, you must complete the following steps:
- Get a copy of your Judgment Order of Your Conviction(s)
- Fill out all of the expungement forms and make sure that they are completely filled out
- Make copies of your completed paperwork
- Get your “Poverty Affidavit” notarized (without it, you will pay a $50 fee)
- Give your forms to the Clerk’s office and make sure that the Clerk returns one of your copies
- Go to your court hearing
The Boerst Law Office – Ohio Expungement Attorneys
If you’re hoping to have your recorded sealed, an attorney from The Boerst Law Office may be able to give you the legal assistance you need. We are experienced in a multitude of legal practice areas and may be able to help you get your criminal record expunged. At the firm, we can help you through this legal process in any Ohio county. Although we primarily work in Toledo, Ohio, we understand that people across the whole state need legal assistance. To see what an attorney from our firm can do for you, call us today. The sooner we hear from you, the sooner we can help. Remember, The Boerst Law Office is able to help clients file for expungements in all 88 Ohio counties. Don’t hesitate to contact our firm!