You must wait a certain amount of time after the final discharge of the sentence for your conviction before you may apply for your record to be sealed. For misdemeanors you must wait one year after the final discharge of your conviction. For felonies you must wait three years after the final discharge of your conviction to apply.
Final discharge means the date you:
- finished serving any jail or prison sentence;
- finished serving any term of probation or parole; and / or
- paid any and all fines (including restitution).
NOTE: Court costs should not be used as a reason to block your attempt to seal your criminal record.
Want to discuss your case?
If you are unsure whether you qualify for an expungement or simply want to discuss your situation, please contact Dimitrios Makridis at (614) 349-4490 or Irene Makridis at (330) 394-1587.What does it mean to get your criminal record sealed?
Most people think sealing a criminal record will completely erase it, as if it never happened. However, in Ohio, convictions cannot be completely erased from your record. Instead, when a record is sealed, it is simply filed in a separate, secured location. So the record still exists, but it cannot be seen by most people.Why is it important to get your criminal record sealed?
In most cases, a sealed criminal record will not show up on a background check and can be treated as if it does not exist, which is important when:
How to find your criminal record?Can anyone see your record after it is sealed?
- Applying for a Job or License;
- Seeking Credit;
- Applying for Education Programs;
- Obtaining Housing; and
- Securing other opportunities.
Most employers will not be able (or allowed) to see your sealed record from a government source. However, certain employers, official, and agencies are still allowed by law to see sealed records using state Bureau of Identification and Investigation (BCI) checks:
Do you need help sealing your record?
- Prosecutors, judges, and police if there are future criminal investigations;
- Judges considering convictions for sentencing in future crimes;
- Employers in law enforcement;
- Jobs working with children or the elderly (i.e. schools, daycares, and health-care services);
- Some jobs in real-estate and financial institutions; and
- Most state professional-licensing boards, including State Medical Board, State Dental Board, State Accountancy Board, State Board of Nursing, and others, for the purposes of license denial, suspension, or revocation.
You can apply to seal your criminal record without an attorney, but the prosecutor (or judge) may object to (or reject) your application for reasons you do not fully understand. An attorney can also help you think through and prepare what you will say at the hearing in your case. For these reasons, it can be helpful to have counsel represent you when trying to seal a criminal record.Is there a filing fee associated with filing an application to seal your criminal record?
Yes, unless you are attempting to seal a record of acquittal, dismissal, or No Bill. The filing fee is typically $50 (but can vary from courthouse to courthouse).
Many of the views expressed in this article were taken from The Ohio Justice & Policy Center’s Criminal Records Manual: Understanding and Clearing up Ohio Criminal Records, and Overcoming the Barriers They Create. Version: 3/10/2014