STEP 1: Do you qualify as an eligible offender for expungement?
Effective October 29, 2018, and pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 2953.31, eligible offender is defined as:
- Anyone who has up to 5 felony convictions, as long as they are 4th or 5th degree felonies and not offenses of violence or felony sex offenses;
- Anyone convicted of any number of misdemeanor convictions, as long as they are not offenses of violence or sex offenses or traffic offenses.
If you do not fall under 1 or 2 above, then the old law applies and you cannot have more than:
- 1 felony conviction and 1 misdemeanor conviction; or
- 2 misdemeanor convictions.
There is no limit on the sealing of criminal (non-traffic) minor misdemeanors.
If you have two or more convictions arise from the same incident, the multiple convictions can be treated like one conviction.
90-day rule: the court may also treat multiple convictions that do not arise from the same incident, but that result from the same court proceeding for related criminal acts committed within 3 months of each other, as one conviction. In other words, two or three convictions within 90 days of each other can be counted as one conviction. However, the court can also decide not to treat the multiple convictions as one for purposes of expungement.
Unfortunately, if you exceed the eligible offender limits on the number of convictions, you cannot have any of your convictions expunged.
STEP 2: What is a conviction?
- Minor Misdemeanors are not convictions;
- Convictions under Ohio Revised Code sections 4507, 4510, 4511, 4513 and 4549 are not convictions, except for:
- 4511.19 (OVI / DUI)
- 4511.251 (Street Racing)
- 4549.02/21/03 (Hit Skip)
- 4549.042 (Odometer Tampering)
- 4549.62 (Hiding vehicle ID)
- 4549.41-46 (Odometer Rollback)
- 4510.11 (DUS)
- 4510.14 (DUS for OVI)
- Felony Violations under Title 45
Step 3: Ineligible offenses?
Ineligible offenses cannot be expunged. They include:
- Any 1st 2nd or 3rd degree felony;
- Any conviction subject to a mandatory prison term;
- Any offense of violence that is a first degree misdemeanor or felony, OTHER THAN:
- First degree misdemeanor Assault
- Inciting Violence
- Inducing Panic
- Any sex offense, such as:
- Sexual Battery
- Unlawful Sexual Conduct w/ a Minor
- Gross Sexual Imposition / Sexual Imposition
- Illegal Use of Minor in Nudity Oriented Material
- Any traffic offense, including offenses under Ohio Revised Code sections 4507, 4510, 4511, and 4549;
- Importuning if conviction is after October 10, 2007;
- Voyeurism, Public Indecency, Compelling / Promoting Prostitution, Disseminating / Displaying Matter Harmful to Juveniles, Pandering Obscenity (if conviction is after Oct. 10, 2007), and Victim is under the age of 18;
- Convictions of any first degree misdemeanor or felony when the victim is under 16;
- Traffic Bond Forfeitures.
STEP 4: Do I have any other pending criminal / traffic cases?
You will not be eligible to expunge a criminal record if you have any pending criminal / traffic charges against you at the time you file your expungement. So, wait until those charges are resolved until attempting to expunge a criminal record.
STEP 5: When can I apply?
- Misdemeanors = 1 year from the date the case is closed;
- 1 felony = 3 years from the date the case is closed;
- 2 felonies = 4 years from the date the case is close;
- 3, 4, or 5 felonies = 5 years from the date the case is closed.
- If "No Bill" returned = 2 year waiting period.
- Dismissals = no waiting period;
- State v. Dye, Slip Opinion No. 2017-Ohio-7823, (Sept. 27, 2017) - Pursuant to R.C. 2953.52(B)(4), a trial court may seal the records in a case dismissed without prejudice before the statute of limitations has expired.
"The date the case is closed" is the date you finish:
- serving any jail or prison sentence;
- serving any term of probation or parole; and / or
- paying any and all fines (including restitution).
Court costs should not be used as a reason to stop you from expunging your criminal record.
STEP 6: How can it be expunged?
- File an application for expungment in the court you were convicted, along with $50 filing fee;
- Case will be set for a hearing;
- The State may file an objection to your application for expungment;
STEP 7: At the hearing you must prove that:
- You are an eligible offender;
- That no criminal proceedings are pending against you;
- That you have been rehabilitated;
- And that your interests in having the record(s) sealed outweigh any legitimate governmental need to maintain the record.
WANT TO DISCUSS YOUR CASE?
If you are unsure whether you qualify for an expungement please contact Dimitri Makridis at (614) 349-4490.