STEP 1: Do you qualify as an eligible offender for expungement?
Effective April, 2021, Ohio Revised Code 2953.31 defines an eligible offender for expungement purposes as anyone who has:
- Track 1: unlimited 4th or 5th degree felonies and misdemeanors, so long as they are not offenses of violence or felony sex offenses;
- Note: NO offenses of violence, even those that are exceptions for purposes of sealing, such as M1 Assault or M4 Domestic Violence;
- If you have an offense of violence conviction, even if it's not the conviction sought to be sealed, you automatically go to Track 2;
- Track 2: not more than 1 felony and 4 misdemeanors OR 2 felonies and 2 misdemeanors;
- Same course of conduct = 1 conviction;
- Same indictment/plea/etc, related, and within 90 days = 1 conviction;
- 2 or 3 convictions within 90 days of each other can be counted as 1 conviction;
- 2 or more convictions arise from same incident = 1 conviction;
- Minor Misdemeanors still do not count as convictions;
Unfortunately, when 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?
Offenses that are not eligible for expungement include:
- 1st or 2nd degree felonies;
- Convictions subject to a mandatory prison term;
- Offenses of violence as defined by R.C. 2901.01
- Notable exceptions:
- M1 Assault
- M4 Domestic Violence
- M1 Riot
- M1 Inducing Panic
- M1 Inciting Violence
- Telephone harassment
- NOTE: conviction to an attempted offense of violence is still an offense of violence conviction
- Notable exceptions:
- Sex offenses, such as:
- Sexual Battery
- Unlawful Sexual Conduct w/ a Minor
- Gross Sexual Imposition / Sexual Imposition
- Illegal Use of Minor in Nudity Oriented Material
- Traffic offenses, 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;
- Notable exception: non-support;
- Traffic Bond Forfeitures.
STEP 4: Do I have any other pending criminal / traffic cases?
You will not be eligible for expungement of 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 you file your application for expungement.
STEP 5: When can I apply for expungement?
- 3rd degree Felonies = 3 years from the date the case is closed;
- 4th or 5th degree felonies, and 1st degree Misdemeanors = 1 year from the date the case is closed;
- "No Bill" returned = 2 year waiting period.
- Not Guilty or Dismissal = 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).
Remember, court costs should not be used as a reason to stop you from expungement of a criminal record.
STEP 6: What is the process for expungement?
- File an application for expungement 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 expungement;
STEP 7: At the hearing you must prove that:
- You are an eligible offender;
- No criminal proceedings are pending against you;
- That you have been rehabilitated; and
- Your interests in having the record(s) sealed outweigh any legitimate governmental need to maintain the record.
WANT TO DISCUSS YOUR CASE?
Unsure whether you qualify for expungement? Call Dimitri Makridis at (330) 394-1587.