Expungement of Firearm Convictions | Updated Statute Expands Eligibility

Expungement of Firearm Convictions

Certain Ohio Firearm Convictions are Eligible for Expungement

The offense of Improperly Handling a Firearm in a Motor Vehicle (ORC 2923.16) is a well established criminal offense in Ohio. However, in 2011, this section of Ohio firearm law was amended to remove a series of prohibitions related to the charge of Improper Handling of a Firearm in a Motor Vehicle for people who hold a valid Ohio concealed carry license. This revision expanded the eligibility of expungement for firearm convictions.

The law prior to 2011 required a loaded handgun in a vehicle to be secured in particular manner, regardless whether a person had a concealed carry license, including:

  1. The loaded handgun had to be in a holster on the person;
  2. The loaded handgun had to be in a closed case, bag, box, or other container that was in plain sight and that had a lid, a cover, or a closing mechanism with a zipper, snap, or buckle that had to be opened for a person to gain access to the handgun; or
  3. The loaded handgun had to be securely encased by being stored in a closed glove compartment or vehicle console or in a case that was locked. Violation of this law was a felony of the fifth degree.

Further, the old law before 2011 prohibited a person from having physical contact with a loaded handgun while operating a vehicle, including:

  1. Removing or attempting to remove the loaded handgun from the holster, case, bag, box, container, or glove compartment while the motor vehicle was being operated on a road;
  2. Grasping or holding the loaded handgun while the motor vehicle was being operated; or
  3. Having contact with a loaded handgun by touching it with the persons hands or fingers while the motor vehicle was being operated. Violation of these requirements was also felony of the fifth degree.

When the law was changed in 2011, it created certain exceptions to the above prohibitions for people with an Ohio concealed carry license. In other words, certain conduct that was considered criminal under the old statute was “decriminalized” under the new statute of 2923.16. However, a person convicted of a weapons violation under the old law was still stuck with the all the consequences of a conviction, such as lost employment opportunities, rejection for housing, declined financing, embarrassment when their record surfaced in public and private background searches.

New Expungement Law for Firearms Convictions in Motor Vehicles

Because of the changes in firearms laws, Ohio legislature created the new expungement statute (ORC 2923.37) to allow for the expungement of the records of a prior conviction of improperly handling firearm convictions in a motor vehicle that no longer would be a crime under new Improper Handling Firearms in a Motor Vehicle statute after 2011. This law has had further amendments, but a person can find relief from an old criminal record through an expungement.

Requirements for Expungement of Criminal Records for Improper Handling Firearms in Motor Vehicle under ORC 2953.37

  • It applies only to convictions for improper handling firearms under ORC 2923.16 (B)(C) or (E) that occurred before September 30th, 2011.
  • The Application must be filed in the sentencing court where the conviction occurred.
    There is no waiting period.
  • The applicant must pay the court filing fee.
  • A hearing on the expungement application shall be held and evidence on fulfillment of the elements of 2953.37 must be presented.
  • The prosecutor may present objection against granting the expungement.

The Effect of Expungement of Firearm Violation under 2953.37

Expungement under 2953.37 means to destroy, delete, and erase a record as appropriate for the record’s physical or electronic form or characteristic so that the record is permanently irretrievable. The proceedings in the case that are expunged by 2953.37 shall legally be considered not to have occurred. The record will not be used for any purpose, including, but not limited to, a criminal records check under section 109.572 or a determination under section 2923.125 or 2923.1212 of eligibility for a concealed handgun license. The applicant may, and the court shall, reply that no record exists with respect to the applicant upon any inquiry into the matter.

Ohio Expungement and Record Sealing Attorney

Expungement and Sealing of a firearm conviction is an excellent way for you to put the past behind you. We can help you get a second chance. Our law firm has been in business since 1988, and we know the laws related to Ohio expungement and sealing. For a confidential and free expungement consultation, contact us today www.ohioexpungementlaw.com.