Definition of Expungement
What is Criminal Record Expungement
Some states have separate legal proceedings for “expungement of records” and “sealing of records.” However, in Ohio, the legal process for expungement of records and sealing of criminal records occur at the same time. In other words, the term “expungement” and “sealing” are one and the same. It is a legal process provided under the Ohio Expungement Statue, which allows one to have any and all references to prior criminal records cleared and their court file sealed. The statutes authorizing expungement are Ohio Revised Code, sections 2953.32 and 2953.52. An expungement and sealing of criminal records can remove: charges filed; dismissed charges; not guilty findings; acquittals; no bills by grand jury; bail forfeitures; as well as criminal convictions, in minor misdemeanor cases, misdemeanor cases, and felony cases.
If the court grants an order expunging and sealing criminal records, the criminal charges or conviction shall be sealed forever. (Depending on the charge, there may be an exception to this rule for people who have care, custody and control of children; or healthcare professionals.) An expungement order prohibits government officials from discussing, disclosing, or reporting the arrest, indictment, trial, conviction, or sentence of the person who is granted an expungement by a court.
The result of the expungement process is as if you were never charged or convicted of a crime. An expungement order puts a person back in the same position they were in before they were ever charged.
The only method for removing criminal records from public view and public access in Ohio is through a legal proceeding entitled Application for Expungement and Sealing of Record. After an application for expungement has been properly filed with the court, the court schedules an expungement hearing. The Ohio Expungement Statute, O.R.C. 2953.32, requires a court hearing for each application for expungement. At the hearing for expungement, the court has discretion to determine whether it will grant, or deny, the application for expungement based upon the evidence and arguments presented to it at the hearing. There are several factors which the court shall consider during the expungement hearing. The prosecutor has the opportunity to object and the court may require testimony. Expungement is an act of grace created by the state, and so it is a privilege, not a right. Expungement should be granted only when all requirements for eligibility are met. State v. Hamilton (1996), 75 Ohio St. 3d 636, 639, 665 N.E.2d 669, 672.
Our law firm has been in business since 1988 and our expungement attorneys are licensed to practice law throughout the State of Ohio. As expungement lawyers, we will guide you through the process for expungement. We will be there to handle any objections from the prosecutor or issues raised by the court. We will go with you, or on your behalf, to all hearings and present skillful arguments. We’ll draft the final Entry Sealing Criminal Records and assure its service upon reporting agencies in order to remove your criminal record from public view. You will have confidence knowing that you will have an experienced attorney by your side who knows Ohio expungement law.
Contact our office today to hear how we can help you prepare for an expungement and sealing of a criminal record. We provide a free initial consultation to determine if you are eligible for an expungement.