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Posted by attorney Andrew Korduba

Senate Bill 337 (effecive 09/17/12) has changed Ohio Law to allow persons with TWO prior criminal offenses to apply to "expunge" or "seal" their criminal records. This new law expands an offender's ability to apply to have their criminal records sealed to ONE FELONY and ONE MISDEMEANOR; or TWO MISDEMEANORS. The new law also reduces the penalties for driving with a suspended license and allows the Ohio BMV to create a "payment plan" for BMV reinstatement fees. The law also allows courts to grant limited driving privileges when a license is suspended for non-payment of child support; and decreases the penalty for use or possession of marijuanna paraphernalia to a minor misdemeanor.

This new law will make it easier for people who get into trouble to have an opportunity to turn their lives around and erase their past misdeeds and get a fresh start. This sweeping legislation is designed to ease the side effects of criminal convictions and help non-violent ex-offenders reenter the workforce and also helps juvenile offenders from being denied College, employment or even housing opportunities. Most people think that your juvenile record "magically disappears" once you become an adult. Well, it doesn't. But under this new law, a juvenile's mistake(s) can now be eligible for expungement after 6 months, instead of 2 years under the old law.

However, not every offense is "eligible" for expungement: crimes of violence including murder, rape, DUI and Domestic Violence cannot be expunged. Only an experienced criminal defense lawyer can advise you properly on what convictions are eligible and how to go about Petitioning the Court to expunge or seal your record(s). It is NOT "automatic." Just because you are otherwise eligible for expungement does not mean the Judge will grant it for you. You need an experienced criminal trial laywer to help you know what to say and do at court to give you the best odds of having your request granted.

Again, the new law allows a person with ONE (1) Felony and ONE (1) misdemeanor or TWO (2) misdemeanors to Petition the Court (where the conviction(s) occurred) to expunge or seal the records of those offenses. Call today for a free telephone consultation to see if you are eligible under the new law. We have reasonable fees and payment plans available for these services.

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