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Criminal Record Sealing

In many situations, an ex-offender will want to try and seal or expunge their criminal record if their criminal history has prevented them from pursuing employment or educational opportunities. Other times, some offenders may have committed a criminal offense in the past, and they don’t want others to discover the criminal record.

Although criminal record expungement is no longer available in Ohio, sealing your record will provide you with an opportunity to start over, and prevent your record from being seen by the public. The process of sealing a criminal record can be difficult and lengthy. Certain offenses are eligible to be sealed, but others may not be.

Additionally, the required forms may be difficult to fill out, and it can be hard to go through the court system alone. It is highly beneficial to hire an attorney help you with the criminal record sealing process.

Columbus Record Sealing Lawyer

Brian Joslyn of the Joslyn Law Firm can help you find out if you’re eligible to seal your criminal record in Columbus, Ohio, and will advise you through the process. Brian Joslyn is experienced with the judicial system in Columbus, and is knowledgeable about Ohio’s laws pertaining to sealing criminal records. Call the Joslyn Law Firm at (614) 444-1900 for a consultation today.

Information on Ohio's Criminal Record Sealing and Expungement Process

Procedure to Seal a Criminal Record in Ohio

When someone is eligible to seal their criminal record, they have to follow certain requirements as set forth in § 2953.32 of the Ohio Revised Code. Someone who believes they are eligible to have their record sealed is required to file an application with the court, and submit a filing fee of $50.

Once an application has been filed, the court will set a date for a hearing on whether the conviction should be sealed. The prosecutor will be notified of the hearing, and may file an objection to the granting of the application prior to the hearing date. If the prosecutor has made an objection, they must specify their reasons why the application should be denied.

At the hearing, or upon an objection from the prosecution, the court will determine whether the applicant is a first offender, determine whether criminal proceedings are currently pending against the applicant, whether the applicant has been sufficiently rehabilitated to the court’s satisfaction, consider the prosecution’s objections, and weigh the applicant’s interests to have the record sealed against the legitimate needs of the government to keep the records.

Once the court has considered the application, and decided the offender’s record should be sealed, the court will order all official records pertaining to the case sealed, and the proceedings will be considered to not have occurred.

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Who is Eligible Seal a Criminal Record?

According to Ohio Rev. Code § 2953.32, you may be eligible to seal your criminal record if you meet the following requirements:

  • You are a first offender – this is anyone who has been convicted of an offense in Ohio who has not been convicted of the same or different offense in Ohio or another state.
  • As a felony offender, your record may be sealed three years after you have completed all requirements of your sentencing.
  • As a misdemeanor offender, your record may be sealed one year after you have completed all requirements of your sentencing.
  • If you were charged, but not convicted or found guilty of an offense, you may file an application any time after the case is dismissed or you were acquitted of the charges against you to have all records associated with the case sealed.
  • If you were arrested for a misdemeanor offense and effected a bail forfeiture, your record may be sealed one year from the date the bail forfeiture was entered.
  • No other criminal proceedings are currently pending against you.

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Disqualifying Offenses

Under Ohio Rev. Code § 2953.36, a person is NOT eligible to have their record sealed if they were convicted of any of the following offenses, including, but not limited to:

  • Convictions requiring a mandatory prison term
  • Rape
  • Sexual Battery
  • Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor
  • Sexual Imposition
  • Gross Sexual Imposition
  • Pandering Obscenity Involving a Minor
  • Pandering Sexually Oriented Matter Involving a Minor
  • Illegal Use of a Minor in Nudity-Oriented Material
  • Violent Offenses that were misdemeanors of the first degree or felonies
  • Riot
  • Assault
  • Inciting to Violence
  • Inducing Panic
  • Importuning
  • Voyeurism when Victim Under 18
  • Public Indecency when Victim Under 18
  • Promoting Prostitution when Victim Under 18
  • Procuring when Victim Under 18
  • Disseminating Harmful Material to Juveniles
  • Displaying Matter Harmful to Juveniles
  • Pandering Obscenity when Victim Under 18
  • Convictions for a misdemeanor of the first degree or felony when victim was under 18
  • First or Second Degree Felony Convictions

It is important to seek the advice of an attorney who is experienced in sealing criminal records in order to find out if your particular situation meets the eligibility requirements.

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Benefits of Sealing Your Criminal Record

Sealing a criminal record can provide a fresh start from a mistake that was made many years ago. A few of the many benefits of sealing a criminal record are:

  • Once a criminal record is sealed, it will no longer be available to the public.
  • A sealed record will restore the rights and privileges that were not terminated upon completion of the sentence or by release on parole.
  • There is no requirement to disclose a criminal record when applying for employment.
  • Once a criminal record is sealed, there is no requirement to disclose the conviction when applying for housing.
  • There is no requirement to disclose a sealed record when submitting educational applications.

According to Ohio Rev. Code § 2953.32, the disclosure of a criminal record that has been sealed is allowed in the following situations:

  • By law enforcement agencies and the bureau of criminal identification and investigation for specific limited purposes;
  • When seeking employment with law enforcement agencies in the state;
  • In any subsequent criminal proceeding when a defendant; and
  • By anyone involved in the adjudication of the criminal proceedings.

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Additional Information When Sealing Your Record in Ohio

According to Chapter 2953 of the Ohio Revised Code, procedural requirements and elements of sealing criminal records are defined in the following sections:

Ohio Rev. Code § 2953.31 provides the general definitions used for sealing criminal records, such as first offender and bail forfeiture. Bail forfeiture is the forfeiture of bail by a defendant who is arrested for a misdemeanor as a result of an agreement with the prosecution.

Ohio Rev. Code § 2953.34 states an order to seal a criminal record restores the rights and privileges of the person that were not already restored upon the completion of their sentence or by final release on parole. Additionally, any person who is applying for employment, a license, other rights and privileges, or any other inquiry, whose record has been sealed, can only be questions with regard to convictions that have not been sealed, unless the sealed record has a direct relationship on the position the person is applying for.

Ohio Rev. Code § 2953.34 states once a first offender has had their record sealed, they are not precluded from pursuing an appeal of the criminal conviction or other relief from the conviction.

According to Ohio Rev. Code § 2953.35, if any officer or employee of the state reveals confidential information that has been sealed for any purpose, they are subject to criminal sanctions.

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Resources in Columbus for Sealing A Criminal Record

Franklin County Clerk of Courts – The Franklin County Clerk of Courts provides information to seal or expunge your criminal record in Franklin County, court locations and information, forms and fees for cases filed in Franklin County, and links to legal resources in the county. The court is located at:

Franklin County Clerk of Courts
373 S. High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone: (614) 525-3600

Sealing a Criminal Record – This link is to Ohio’s laws regarding criminal record sealing and other post-conviction remedies, and outlines the requirements and elements for criminal record sealing. The laws can be found in Title 29 of the Ohio Revised Code, and this particular chapter is codified as Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2953.xx, depending on the section.

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Joslyn Law Firm | Finding a Criminal Record Sealing Lawyer in Columbus, OH

Contact the Joslyn Law Firm today for a consultation about the procedure to seal your criminal record in Columbus, Ohio. It is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help guide you through the process and help you obtain all the necessary information. Call (614) 444-1900 for a consultation about sealing your criminal record in Franklin County and surrounding counties, including Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County and Fairfield County in Ohio.

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