FAQ - Expungement & Record Sealing in Columbus and Central Ohio

Q: What is Expungement or Record Sealing?

A: In Ohio, the terms “expungement” and “sealing of the record” are both used to mean a conviction or dismissal is removed from public records.

Q: Who is Eligible for an Expungement in Ohio?

A: If a defendant is found Not Guilty, if a defendant’s case is dismissed, or if a grand jury declined to indict a defendant (a “no bill"), the defendant is eligible to apply for sealing of the public records for the case. If a defendant is convicted of an offense, the defendant must be an “eligible offender” to apply for an expungement. An “eligible offender” is a defendant who has one or more convictions on his or her record and five or fewer convictions for felony offenses. The convictions to be sealed must be misdemeanors or felonies of the fourth or fifth degree.

Q: Are All Convictions Eligible for Expungement?

A: Not all offenses are eligible for record sealing / expungement. Offenses which are not eligible for expungement include: offenses which require a mandatory prison term, most sex offenses, offenses categorized as first degree felonies or second degree felonies, offenses involving a victim under 18, and traffic offenses.

Q: What is the Process for Expungement?

A: There is a waiting period to apply for an expungement of a conviction. For misdemeanor convictions, there is a one-year waiting period. For a single felony conviction, there is a three-year waiting period. For two felony convictions, there is a four-year waiting period. For three felony convictions, there is a five-year waiting period. There is no waiting period for a dismissal or Not Guilty verdict.

When the waiting period ends, the defendant can file an application and worksheet requesting sealing/expungement of the records. Then, a probation officer will submit a background check and written report to the court, and a court hearing will be scheduled. During that hearing, the judge will hear arguments, make a finding about expungement eligibility, decide whether the defendant has been rehabilitated satisfactorily, and rule on the application for expungement.

Q: What is the Benefit of Having Your Records Expunged?

A: If the expungement is granted, the official records for the case are sealed, and the case is treated as if it never occurred (except for limited exceptions). The expungement does not affect any private records; only public records. A person who is applying for employment may not be questioned about cases which have been sealed.

Attorneys for Record Sealing / Expungement in Columbus and Central Ohio

The Dominy Law firm in Columbus, Ohio represents clients seeking to have criminal records sealed in Franklin County, Delaware County, and some other central Ohio counties. You can learn more about the Dominy Law Firm on this site's ‘About Us’ page. You can also see what clients say about our firm’s representation on the ‘Client Reviews’ page. If you would like to discuss how the Dominy Law Firm can help with sealing the records for your case, please call (614) 717-1177 or submit a CONTACT FORM to schedule a free phone consultation.

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