What to Expect During the Expungement Hearing
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 hearing and each application for expungement is required be set for hearing before the court.
Before the hearing, the court shall notify the prosecutor in order that they may have an opportunity to file objections to the application for expungement. The prosecutor’s objections may be in writing and set forth the specific reasons why they claim the expungement should be denied. However, it is not mandatory that the prosecutors file written objections prior to the hearing. Prosecutors are permitted to raise objections by oral arguments on the day of the expungement hearing. As a result, an applicant for expungement may not receive any advance notice of particular issues for which the prosecutors object. Further, the applicant for expungement may receive no advance notice whatsoever that the prosecutor shall be objecting, and arguing against the expungement until the date of the hearing. For this reason alone, it is advisable to be represented by legal counsel.
The Court shall further notify the probation department in order that an investigation is conducted regarding the request for expungement. The probation department will conduct a background search of the person applying for expungement, including any and all past charges, whether convicted or dismissed. The probation department will provide a history of the case to the court, determine whether there are any outstanding orders not fulfilled, and determine if there any pending charges against the applicant for expungement.
At the hearing for expungement, the court has discretion to determine whether it will grant, or deny, the application for record 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.
- First, it must be determined whether the applicant is a Eligible Offender as defined in Ohio Expungement law.
- Secondly, the applicant shall have no criminal proceedings pending against them in order to be eligible.
- Third, the court shall determine whether the applicant has demonstrated that they have been rehabilitated to the Court’s satisfaction.
- Fourth, the court shall consider any arguments raised by the prosecutor that the application for expungement be denied.
- Lastly, the court must impose a balancing test by weighing the applicant’s interest in having an expungement and sealing of their conviction, against any legitimate government need to maintain those records unsealed.
In many cases, our clients are not available to personally appear for an expungement hearing. They may living in another state or even another country. In those cases, we have successfully filed motions with the court to waive their appearance for the hearing. The court may then agree to schedule a non-oral hearing and decide the case based upon our briefs and motions, or the court may require us as the attorney to personally at the hearing on behalf of our clients. We have found this to be helpful to our expungement clients so that they don’t have to incur the expense of travel, time off work, or the time related to having to attend the expungement hearing.
Contact us today to discuss your expungement case. We provide a Free Expungement Consultation to determine if you are eligible for expungement under Ohio law.