Expunging and Sealing Criminal Records in Ohio
A criminal conviction can be a stressful, costly and embarrassing experience. Apart from the initial challenges of having to carry out the sentence, many people are plagued by concerns that the record of their offense will haunt them when it comes to future job and loan applications. Fortunately, there is a remedy for certain offenders in the form of expungement and record sealing.
Both of these remedies serve the same function, which is to block people from reviewing official arrests and other court records. The difference is that record sealing merely locks the records away from the public, while expunging destroys the records completely. If an arrest and conviction is expunged, for instance, it should not come up if a person goes through a routine background check.
In Ohio, only juvenile offenders have access to the option of expunging their records. The reasoning behind this is that many of these offenses are youthful indiscretions for which grown adults should not continue to pay long after they have outgrown these years of immaturity. However, record sealing is permitted in other situations, even for adult offenders.
Many first-time offenders convicted of nonviolent misdemeanors and certain minor felonies may have their records sealed. There is a waiting period following the final resolution of the offense before the records of the offense may be sealed. For misdemeanors, this time period is one year, and it’s three years for felonies.
There are many crimes that cannot be sealed under Ohio law, including motor vehicle violations, any offense in which a person served prison time, a sexual offense or any crime in which a minor was the victim.
If you have been convicted of a crime, but wish to have the record expunged or sealed, consult a knowledgeable Cleveland criminal defense lawyer with the Law Office of Gregory S. Robey.