Franklin County Ohio Expungement & Record Sealing Lawyer

Record Sealing and Expungement in Franklin County, Ohio

If you were charged with a crime and would like to have your record sealed and/or expunged in Franklin County, Ohio, you probably have questions. Why should I have my records sealed/expunged? Can the records for my case be sealed and expunged? What is the process for record sealing or expungement? Should I hire a lawyer? This page provides the answers to those questions. If you choose to have assistance with the process, the Dominy Law Firm can help. We represent clients seeking expungement and record sealing in Franklin County, Ohio.

What is Record Sealing and Expungement?

In Ohio, record sealing and expungement are different. When official case records are sealed, the records are not available to the public and are only available to the government for very limited purposes. When official records are expunged, the records are destroyed/deleted/erased, so the records can never be retrieved by anyone.

Why Have Records Sealed/Expunged?

If a background check is completed, the result will likely show the offense(s) with which you were charged and the outcome of the case. Having a criminal record can affect many aspects of life, including employment, professional licensing, military service, security clearances, loans, housing, immigration, and volunteering opportunities. Even if none of those issues are concerning, some people choose to have their records sealed/expunged simply to end the embarrassment of having a criminal record.

A criminal record should not haunt you forever. By having the official records for your case your record sealed/expunged, there will no longer be public records for your case. For most background checks, it will appear as though the case never happened.

Franklin County Municipal Court

If your case was held in the Franklin County Municipal Court, the application for record sealing and/or expungement must be filed in that court. The Franklin County Municipal Court has jurisdiction over misdemeanor offenses and limited jurisdiction for felony offenses. Not all cases in the Franklin County Municipal Court are eligible for record sealing and/or expungement. For example, the records for traffic offense convictions cannot be sealed or expunged. Convictions which are not eligible for record sealing/expungement are found in Ohio Revised Code section 2953.32 and are listed on this page.

Franklin County Common Pleas Court

For cases heard in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, the record sealing and/or expungement application is filed in that court. The Franklin County Common Pleas Court has jurisdiction over felony offenses and sometimes hears misdemeanor cases as well. Some cases in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court are not eligible for record sealing and/or expungement. Ohio Revised Code section 2953.32 lists the offenses for which convictions cannot be sealed/expunged, and the list can also be found on this page.

Franklin County Mayor’s Courts

Mayor’s courts have jurisdiction for most misdemeanor offenses. Although mayor’s courts are not ‘courts of record’, a criminal record in an Ohio mayor’s court will show-up on a background check. If you had a criminal case in a Franklin County mayor’s court, you may want to have the case records sealed/expunged.

The application for sealing/expungement is filed in the mayor’s court where the case was held. Franklin County has mayor’s courts in the following cities: Bexley, Canal Winchester, Dublin, Gahanna, Grandview Heights, Grove City, Hilliard, Minerva Park, New Albany, Obetz, Reynoldsburg, Upper Arlington, Westerville, Whitehall, and Worthington.

Record Sealing / Expungement is not Automatic

In Ohio, record sealing/expungement is “an act of grace created by the state and so is a privilege, not a right”. Just because an applicant is statutorily eligible for sealing/expungement does not mean the judge will automatically grant the applicant’s request.

After determining the applicant is eligible, the judge may hear from the prosecution and any victim(s) of the offense. The judge will then examine the applicant’s rehabilitation and weigh the competing interests of the applicant and the government. Judges are given discretion to decide whether to grant sealing/expungement, and a judge’s decision will not be reversed on appeal unless the judge abused that discretion.

Lawyers for Expungement and Record Sealing in Franklin County, Ohio

As record sealing / expungement is not granted automatically, some people choose to be represented by a lawyer for the sealing/expungement process. A lawyer will obtain information from the client and the court records, conduct research, file the application, address any prosecution objection, and advocate on behalf of the client at the hearing.

The lawyers at the Dominy Law Firm practice only criminal defense and have experience representing clients for record sealing and expungement. Our firm practices throughout central Ohio and can help with record sealing and expungement in Franklin County. To schedule a free phone consultation regarding representation, please submit a CONTACT FORM or call 614-717-1177.

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