Written by attorney Casey Lauren Cerreta

Ohio's new expungement/ record sealing law

Ohio Expungement Law

To determine if you are eligible to have your record sealed, consult this expungement checklist:

1. How many convictions do you have on your record?

  • To be eligible to have your record sealed in Ohio, you can have no more than two misdemeanor convictions OR one misdemeanor conviction and one felony conviction.
  • Convictions from anywhere in the United States are counted. It does not matter how old they are.
  • Traffic offenses are not counted as convictions, unless they are serious enough to be categorized as Prohibited Offenses, listed below.
  • Minor Misdemeanors are not counted as convictions, regardless of whether they are traffic offenses or not. A Minor Misdemeanor carries no chance of jail time with a potential maximum fine of $150. Typically examples are Speeding, Red Light violations, Marijuana Possession (MM) and Disorderly Conduct (MM).
  • Two or more convictions out of the same incident are treated as one conviction for purposes of applying for record sealing.
  • Two or three convictions resulting from the same court proceeding may, but are not required to, be treated like one conviction for expungement purposes, if the convictions were for related criminal acts committed within 90 days of each other. The judge would decide whether you would be permitted to do so.

If you do not exceed the limits on the number of allowable convictions, proceed to the next question.

2. Is the offense you are trying to seal on the prohibited list?

The law on Expungements in Ohio prevents you from sealing your record for a number of criminal offenses:

  • Any Felony 1 or Felony 2 level offense
  • Any Felony level offense or Misdemeanor 1 level offense where the victim was under 18 years old, except Non-Support of Dependants
  • Any Offense of Violence, as defined by Ohio Revised Code section 2901.01(A)(9):

2903.01 Aggravated Murder 2903.02 Murder 2903.03 Voluntary Manslaughter 2903.04 Involuntary Manslaughter 2903.11 Felonious Assault 2903.12 Aggravated Assault 2903.13 Assault (felony level) 2903.15 Permitting child abuse 2903.21 Aggravated menacing 2903.211 Menacing by stalking 2903.22 Menacing 2905.01 Kidnapping 2905.02 Abduction 2905.02 Extortion 2907.02 Rape 2907.03 Sexual Battery 2907.05 Gross Sexual Imposition 2907.12 Felonious Sexual Penetration 2909.02 Aggravated Arson 2909.24 Terrorism 2911.01 Aggravated robbery 2911.02 Robbery 2911.11 Aggravated Burglary 2917.01 Inciting to Violence (felony level) 2917.02 Aggravated Riot 2917.03 Riot(felony level) 2917.31 Inducing panic (felony level) 2919.25 Domestic violence (M-1 level offense) 2921.03 Intimidation 2921.04 Intimidation of Attorney, Victim or Witness 2921.34 Escape 2923.161 Improperly Discharging Firearm (some levels) 2911.12(A)(1), (2), or (3) Burglary 2919.22(B)(1), (2), (3), or (4) Endangering Children

Additional sex offenses, not listed above, are on the prohibited list and include:

  • Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor
  • Importuning
  • Pandering Obscenity Involving a Minor
  • Pandering Sexually Oriented Material Involving a Minor
  • Sexual Imposition
  • Illegal Use of a Minor in Nudity-Oriented Material or Performances

Certain offenses involving vehicles:

  • Driving Under an OVI/DUI Suspension
  • Hit Skip
  • Drag Racing
  • Tampering with an Odometer
  • Offering to Sell a Vehicle with a Tampered Odometer
  • Sale or Possession of a Vehicle Master Key
  • Concealing the Identity of Vehicles or Parts

If the offense you wish to have sealed is not on the prohibited list above, proceed to the next question.

3. Do you have any criminal charges pending against you right now?

Under Ohio Record Sealing law, the court is not permitted to consider your application if you have any criminal charges pending against you at the time you file the request. You must wait until the pending charges have been resolved.

If you have no criminal charges currently pending against you, proceed to the final question.

4. Have you waited the required period of time since completing your sentence?

There is a waiting period after you have completed the sentence for your conviction before you can apply to have the record sealed. This is known as a Final Discharge.

A Final Discharge occurs when you have completed all requirements of your sentence. You must have served the jail or prison time, paid all your fines and court costs, paid any restitution required, completed any community service mandated, completed any probation and finished all other aspects of your sentence.

One common road block can occur when, for example, a person has been given a suspended sentence conditioned upon "no violation of law for one year" or something similar.

You would normally have been deemed not to have a Final Discharge until this year had passed. In this particular situation, some judges can be persuaded to remove this sentencing condition to enable you to apply for expungement. The required waiting periods for Record Sealing are as follows:

  • For Misdemeanors you must wait ONE YEAR after Final Discharge.
  • For Felonies you must wait THREE YEARS after Final Discharge.

If you have satisfied the required waiting period, you are now eligible to apply to have your record sealed!!

Additional resources provided by the author

Ohio Revised Code section 2953.31

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