How to Expunge Your Ohio Criminal Record

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Having your record expunged in Ohio requires you to be a first-time offender, including in other states as well. Most people who meet that criteria are eligible to have their criminal records expunged (see warning below for exceptions). You are eligible to apply a year after a misdemeanor case is finished or three years after a felony is done--your timetable does not start until the conclusion of any jail sentence. Your record must also be clean (no convictions or even pending charges) during this waiting period. The expungement process is governed by Ohio Revised Code §2953.32.

Getting Your Record Expunged

Fill out an application for expungement and submit it to the clerk’s office of the court in which you were convicted. You will need to include a $110 fee (as of 2010) as well as a copy of your order of conviction. Make three copies of your completed application, and be sure to also have the probation office fill out its part of the application before submission.

The court will review your application for expungement. Submitting your application will prompt the court to set a hearing date (usually about six weeks later) as well as forwarding your request to the prosecutor from your original case. The court will check your criminal record to confirm that you are a first-time offender and have no pending charges. It will also weigh any objections filed by the prosecutor.

Meet with a probation officer. You must complete this requirement before your expungement hearing.

Attend the expungement hearing. You will be expected to talk about how you've changed. The judge must be convinced that you have learned from your mistake. The prosecutor will have a final opportunity to object to your record being expunged.

If successful, the court will order all official records deleted. This is usually completed with five weeks from the judge’s order.

Warnings

  • There are convictions that make you ineligible to have your criminal record expunged in Ohio, including ones that come with a mandatory jail sentence and all first- and second-degree felonies. Even though your record is expunged, it can still be accessed in certain conditions. Law enforcement officials can still get to your record, and if you commit a future crime, an expunged conviction can be used against you in sentencing.

References

About the Author

Mike Bell has been writing professionally since 2006. He wrote for and edited the "Independent Florida Alligator," and has also contributed to the "St. Petersburg Times," "Orlando Sentinel" and "Miami Herald." With a Bachelor of Science in journalism, Bell is now a student at the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

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