Ohio Law provides a statutory privilege which allows certain qualifying individuals an opportunity to apply to the Court to have certain convictions permanently removed and sealed from their record. This is a one-time opportunity to have the charges expunged from their criminal record, so that the conviction does not appear on their record and prohibit them from seeking certain employment or education opportunities.
The expungement process typically begins with the “eligible offender” filing a written application with the Court. After receipt, the Court forwards the application to the Prosecutor’s Office for review and response. The Prosecutor’s office will then respond with their position on whether or not they oppose the expungement.
Generally the Prosecutor’s office will review 1.) Whether there has been a final discharge on the case. This is typically the date of sentence or if an individual was placed on probation it is the date of termination of the probation; 2.) Whether the statutory waiting period has expired. Ohio Law provides the an individual seeking expungement must wait one (1) year from the final discharge for qualifying misdemeanor charges, and three (3) years after the final discharge on qualifying felony charges; 3.) The application must qualify as an “eligible offender” as described by Ohio Law. “Eligible offender” currently means anyone who has been convicted of an offense in this state or any other jurisdiction and who has not more than one felony conviction, not more than two misdemeanor convictions if the convictions are not of the same offense, or not more than one felony conviction and one misdemeanor conviction 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 that it is not in the public interest for the two or three convictions to be counted as one conviction. 4.) The conviction attempting to be expunged must not be precluded by statute. Under Ohio law certain offenses cannot be expunged under any circumstances.
Following a response from the Prosecutor’s office, a hearing will take place and the judge will determine whether or not to grant the expungement. If the expungement is granted, it is no longer available to view by the general public and the applicant is not required to disclose the conviction to any future employers.
The Attorneys at Ernst & Associates understand that sometimes good people make mistakes and have a significant amount of experience helping people expunge criminal convictions from their record. If you have been convicted of a criminal offense and are interested in obtaining an expungement, please contact us for a Free Initial Consultation.