Ohio’s Waiting Period for Sealing a Dismissed Charge and Other Non-Convictions
(Record Sealing of Dismissed Charges, Not Guilty Findings, Acquittal, or Nolle Prosequi)
Ohio expungement law requires eligible offenders to wait a specified period of time before they can file an application to expunge and seal their criminal records.
The waiting periods for criminal convictions is well established under Ohio Revised Code 2953.32.
- For Misdemeanor convictions, a person must wait at least one year.
- For Felony convictions, the waiting period is three years.
These expungement waiting periods do not start until a person completes all court orders, including completion of their probation and payment of restitution and fines.
There have been two different positions in Ohio Courts for what is the waiting period for Dismissed Charges under 2953.52.
1. Some Judges have ruled that a person can only apply to have their dismissed charge record sealed if the case was “dismissed with prejudice” or if the “statute of limitations” for the offense had expired. “Dismissed with Prejudice” means that the prosecutor or a Judge dismissed the case in a manner that will bar it from ever being filed in the future. “Dismiss Without Prejudice” means the prosecutor can refile the case in the future. Statute of limitation” is the time limit for prosecutors to file criminal charges against a person. The time limits vary based upon the type of offense.
2. Other Judges in different courts have ruled that a person can apply for expungement / sealing of a dismissed charge any time after their case has been dismissed.
There is a big difference between these two different applications of the expungement statute. If someone was wrongly charged for a crime, they should not have to wait to have the record of the dismissed charge sealed. The Statutes Of Limitations for misdemeanors are two years. The Statutes Of Limitations for felonies are generally six years, but there are also felonies that have 20 years statute of limitations and some with no statute of limitation. As a result, under situation #1 above, a person with a dismissed charge may have to wait a very long time or possibly never be eligible to seal a dismissed record based upon the type of offense they were charged with. It has always been our argument for our clients that they are eligible to file an application to seal their record of a dismissed charge any time after it was dismissed.
Ohio Supreme Court Rules – No Waiting Period for Expungement / Sealing of Dismissed Charges
The Ohio Supreme Court finally resolved this conflict of law between different courts in the case of State v. Dye in September 2017. In this case, the Defendant filed an application to seal the records of a dismissed case soon after his case was dismissed “without prejudice.” Ultimately, the Ohio Supreme court ruled that a trial court may seal the records in a case dismissed without prejudice before the statute of limitations has expired. A person still must satisfy the rest of the criteria of the sealing statute but no longer will a person be wrongly denied the opportunity to apply to expunge a dismissed record.
This is great news for anyone who has been denied an expungement or sealing because their charge was dismissed without prejudice and before the statute of limitations had expired for their offense. Anyone in this situation would now be eligible to re-apply for the sealing of their record based upon recent decision by the Supreme Court.
Ohio Expungement and Record Sealing Attorney
Don’t let a record for a Dismissed Criminal Charge ruin your life or your career. Our law firm has been in business since 1988, and we know the laws related to Ohio expungement and criminal record sealing. Contact our law firm today for a confidential and free expungement consultation to determine if you are eligible.