I was arrested for a OVI last year May and after going to court they said my case is "nolle prosequi " What does that mean? I had a rough night and made a mistake. This is the only time Ive been in court. I have paid my fines and taken the classes and everything. I finished all of it before the required time. I really want to know in Ohio if I can remove it from my record. I graduated from a top college and hope this doesn't get in the way of me advancing my career. I currently live in Denver, CO but the incident happened in Ohio
"nolle prosequi" means the prosecutor decided not to pursue the case. Typically, this results in a dismissal without prejudice. Without prejudice means the prosecutor is free to re-file the case during the limitations period. A limitations period is the amount of time the prosecutor has file formal charges following the commission of a crime. If the case was dismissed without prejudice, you will be eligible to have the record sealed once the limitations period has run. The statute of limitations on a first OVI, which is first degree misdemeanor, is two years. So you will be eligible two years after the date of the alleged offense. If the case was dismissed with prejudice, meaning the prosecutor is not free to refile, you are eligible immediately. The record of a traffic conviction cannot be sealed in Ohio. The record of a dismissed case can. You should hire a lawyer to review your case for eligibility and make the proper motion in the sentencing court. The court will hold a hearing. Your presence may or may not be required at the hearing. That depends on the judge. Many will allow a lawyer to represent you. Some, however, will require your attendance.
Answers provided by attorney Matt Williams to questions on Avvo DO NOT form an attorney client relationship. Mr. Williams is available to represent persons charged with crimes in Ohio for a fee. Only after Mr. Williams is retained, or agrees to discuss a matter privately, shall Mr. Williams be deemed your attorney. Mr. Williams answers questions on Avvo only to provide general advice based upon the limited information in the question.
You are eligible to file a motion to seal the record of a dismissed case, which is basically what a nolle prosequi is. However, if the nolle prosequi was in exchange for a guilty plea to an amended charge, or if you were convicted of any other offenses from the same case/incident, then you are not eligible to have the record sealed. You should ask the lawyer who handled the case or consult other qualified counsel. This is probably a very easy question to answer if the lawyer reviews the case record.
You should contact an attorney to help you file for the expungment. Ohio law is evolving when it comes to expungements and your case will depend on several factors that an attorney can identify and explain to the judge. If you plead guilty to other traffic offenses in connection to the OVI, that could complicate the answer of whether or not an expungement would be granted.
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