Motion to Expunge/Seal the Record
A criminal record can affect employment, housing, educational, and licensing opportunities. Removing these stains through expungement or sealing helps alleviate these burdens.
Expunged v. Sealed
Though the words are often used interchangeably, Ohio law distinguishes between expungement and sealing. When a criminal record is expunged, all evidence of the physical and electronic record is destroyed. Generally, in Ohio, only juvenile records are expunged. When a criminal record is sealed, the physical file is moved to a separate location in the courthouse and it is no longer available to the public through electronic records search or public records request. However, the record is still available to some governmental agencies and law enforcement.
Who can apply to have convictions sealed?
The definition of “eligible offender” is complicated. Generally, those with up to five convictions for non-violent misdemeanors or up to five convictions for 4th and 5th degree felony offenses are eligible for sealing. Dismissals and No Bills are also eligible for sealing. Convictions for 1st or 2nd degree felony offenses, offenses of violence, sex offenses, 1st degree misdemeanor domestic violence, and OVIs are not eligible. ALL convictions are considered, regardless of how old they are and even if you do not want them sealed.
When can I apply to seal my adult record?
- A person convicted of two felonies, may apply four years after completing his/her sentence, period of post-release control, and payment of fines and restitution.
- A person convicted of three to five felonies, may apply five years after completing his/her sentence and period of post-release control, and payment of fines and restitution.
- A person convicted of unlimited misdemeanors may apply one year after completing his/her sentence and post-release control, and payment of fines and restitution.
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