Expungement in Ohio is a legal process provided under Section 2953 of the Ohio Revised Code. This allows a person to have all references to a prior criminal conviction cleared and their court file sealed. This means that, in the eyes of the law, the case never happened.
Qualifying for Expungement
To qualify for expungement, you need to meet all of the conditions described in Section 2953 of the Ohio Revised Code, including:
- The conviction you are trying to expunge is not one of the crimes precluded by law.
- You were not subject to a mandatory prison term for the conviction. (If a person were sentenced to prison time, but were eligible for community control/probation, they would still qualify.)
- You have any of the following convictions or combination of convictions: one misdemeanor; or one felony; two misdemeanor convictions; or one misdemeanor conviction and one felony conviction. (A series of two or three convictions out of the same case shall be considered one conviction under the expungement statute.) (Minor misdemeanors including most traffic offenses do not count as a conviction.)
- The statutory waiting period has passed for the conviction you seek to expunge.
- You have no current criminal charges pending against you.
If you were charged with a crime, but the case was dismissed or a court or jury found you not guilty, you can have those records of your charges expunged and sealed as well.
Having a record expunged, or sealed, could benefit a person looking for a job, getting a professional license, citizenship, or even housing. People reviewing your application may want to know if you have ever been convicted of a criminal charge.
If the court approves an expungement, the court must order all official records pertaining to the case sealed, and all index references to the case deleted. Upon issuance of the order, the proceedings in the case shall be considered not to have occurred, and the conviction of the person subject to the proceedings shall be sealed.
We should note that while the current record of the offense is sealed, there may ways for people to see the previous case through companies that compile data. The Court has no control over that.