Benefits of Sealing a Criminal Record
Sealing a criminal record is valuable when applying for a job or license, seeking a line of credit, applying for educational programs, obtaining housing and securing other opportunities. Most employers and landlords are not eligible to view a sealed criminal record.
Eligibility for Sealing Records
There are eligibility requirements when seeking to seal criminal records. In most cases, a person can have no more than two misdemeanor convictions or one misdemeanor and one felony conviction to be eligible to have a criminal record sealed.
When two or more convictions are from the same criminal act, they shall be considered one conviction under the eligibility standard. When two or three convictions result from the same charges and result from related criminal acts that were committed within a three-month period, the court has discretion to make all the acts count as one conviction under the eligibility standard. A person who has pending criminal charges is not eligible. Certain types of convictions, such as OVI’s (drunk driving), can never be sealed.
A conviction of a minor misdemeanor is not considered a conviction under the eligibility standards. Therefore, a minor misdemeanor does not count as a misdemeanor towards the eligibility requirement of sealing the records.
Time for Filing a Request to Seal Records
After a certain time frame, eligible offenders may start the process to seal their record(s). For misdemeanor convictions: one year after a final discharge. For felony convictions: three years after a final discharge.
Any person who is found not guilty or has had charges dismissed against them may apply to the court for an order to seal the records anytime after the finding of not guilty or the dismissal of the charge.
Sealing the record for criminal convictions in Ohio requires a relatively small investment for a potentially significant benefit. If you wish to know more about expungements, please contact attorney Scot Ciszewski at Artz, Dewhirst & Wheeler, LLP.
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