Records that are expunged in Ohio are sealed and blocked from viewing by the public. The purpose of an Ohio expungement is to make it seem as if the crime someone was convicted of or charged with never happened. It is that person's right to legally deny any involvement in a crime that has been expunged.
An Ohio expungement can greatly benefit someone who is applying for a job, permit, or license that would be affected negatively by a criminal record. Once a record is expunged in Ohio, agencies performing background checks will not come across the record of someone who has had their record expunged.
Expunged records in Ohio are not completely lost. They may be unsealed if:
A court, law enforcement agency, or prosecutor requests to view all records including those that have been expunged.
The person commits another crime. The expunged record can then be used against that person during sentencing.
A sealed record may be used to show character or credibility during court proceedings.
Juvenile records that are subject to an Ohio expungement must be destroyed; there are no exceptions.
Ohio Expungement Eligibility
A record may not be expunged if the record mentions one of the following crimes:
● Sexual battery
● Corrupting a minor
● Gross sexual imposition
● Obscenity involving a minor
● Pornography involving a minor
● Motor vehicle violations
● Bail forfeitures in traffic cases
● Misdemeanors or felonies where the victim is a minor
● Violence against a minor.
A record is eligible to be expunged if no jail time was served. First time offenders have a better chance of receiving an Ohio expungement. Minor misdemeanors such as minor traffic violations do not count as prior criminal convictions. Those that have completed one year since their final discharge from a misdemeanor and completed three years since their final discharge from a felony may be eligible for an expungement. Other requirements for an Ohio expungement include having no ongoing or upcoming criminal or traffic cases and no prior expungements.
Ohio Expungement Process
Simply meeting the requirements to have a record expunged does not guarantee it will be expunged. A person must convince the judge hearing the expungement case that they have been rehabilitated and can function as a productive member of society. The steps to follow to receive an Ohio expungement are:
● Acquiring a copy of the final order of conviction. This can be obtained after contacting the clerk of the court.
● Two forms need to be completed: "Application for Sealing of a Criminal Record Pursuant to ORC§2953.32" and "Judgment Entry for Sealing".
● There is a $50 fee to file forms to have your record expunged. Those who cannot afford to pay must file a "Poverty Affidavit".
● Make copies of all forms. They must be brought into court to be signed by the judge.
● The court will set a date for a hearing to expunge the record.
● Prepare statements that will be said to the judge.
● Explain why you think your record should be expunged. A prosecutor may fight against the expungement during the hearing.
● The judge will make a decision. This decision may be made right away in court or the decision will be mailed to the person requesting their record be sealed and expunged.