Skip to main content

Can I get a DUI or OVI expunged in Ohio?

Caldwell, OH |

Can I get a DUI or OVI expunged in Ohio? My DUI/OVI in Ohio was in October of 2009, This was my first offense. Is it possible to get my DUI/OVI expunged from my record? If so, how long must I wait to do so and what steps should I take? Should I hire a lawyer?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. My office handles expungements, and I'd be happy to help. My contact information follows.

    Here's a thorough answer to your question:

    **M A Y B E**

    T H E answer to your question depends on the precise offense to which you pled.
    Occasionally, people get drunk driving tickets, plead to lesser offenses, and don't recall the precise offenses to which they pled.

    If you pled to a regular DUI/ OVI--you'll know this because the charge will be under R.C. 4511.19 or under a municipal ordinance that resembles that section--then you aren't eligible for an expungement in Ohio.

    Otherwise, if you pled to, for example, a charge of reckless operation--R.C. 4511.20 or some similar municipal ordinance--you certainly can move to have the matter sealed. B U T, a reckless operation charge is basically just a traffic violation, which won't cause much of a stir in a background check.

    You have to be a "first offender" to expunge a DUI/ OVI. Some offenses prevent you from qualifying as a "first offender" Here's the basic law on point, which comes from Ohio's records sealing statute, R.C. 2953.31, et seq.--

    2953.31 [Effective Until 7/6/2010] Sealing of record of conviction definitions.
    As used in sections 2953.31 to 2953.36 of the Revised Code:

    “First offender” means anyone who has been convicted of an offense in this state or any other jurisdiction and who previously or subsequently has not been convicted of the same or a different offense in this state or any other jurisdiction. When two or more convictions result from or are connected with the same act or result from offenses committed at the same time, they shall be counted as one conviction. When two or three convictions result from the same indictment, information, or complaint, from the same plea of guilty, or from the same official proceeding, and result from related criminal acts that were committed within a three-month period but do not result from the same act or from offenses committed at the same time, they shall be counted as one conviction, provided that a court may decide as provided in division (C)(1)(a) of section 2953.32 of the Revised Code that it is not in the public interest for the two or three convictions to be counted as one conviction.

    For purposes of, and except as otherwise provided in, this division, a conviction for a minor misdemeanor, for a violation of any section in Chapter 4507., 4510., 4511., 4513., or 4549. of the Revised Code, or for a violation of a municipal ordinance that is substantially similar to any section in those chapters is not a previous or subsequent conviction. However, a conviction for a violation of section 4511.19, 4511.251, 4549.02, 4549.021, 4549.03, 4549.042, or 4549.62 or sections 4549.41 to 4549.46 of the Revised Code, for a violation of section 4510.11 or 4510.14 of the Revised Code that is based upon the offender’s operation of a vehicle during a suspension imposed under section 4511.191 or 4511.196 of the Revised Code, for a violation of a substantially equivalent municipal ordinance, for a felony violation of Title XLV of the Revised Code, or for a violation of a substantially equivalent former law of this state or former municipal ordinance shall be considered a previous or subsequent conviction.

    I'm attaching the relevant statutes for your review below.


  2. Best to rely on experienced Ohio DUI lawyers for this one. The previous advisor seems to be up on it.


  3. Chances are, your conviction of a DUI in Ohio can't be expunged. Even if it was amended to Reckless Operation under the Ohio Revised Code (4511.20), it can't be expunged. Revised Code section 2953.36 "Sealing of record of conviction exceptions" clearly states that any offense under ch. 4511 of the O.R.C is an exception to the expungement statute.

DUI topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Questions?
An attorney can help.

Post a question and get free legal advice from attorneys.

Ask a Lawyer

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics