Learn How to Expunge Your Record
We often receive phone calls from people who have conducted their own research and are confused as to what convictions can, or can not be, expunged. Pursuant to the Ohio Revised Code, and decisions from Ohio courts applying the expungement statute, several exclusions exist which may disqualify an individual from an expungement and sealing of their record.
For instance, if one was subject to mandatory jail time regardless of what type of crime they committed, they are not eligible for an expungement. The first question one may ask when reviewing this language is what is a mandatory jail sentence? A mandatory sentence is a sentence established by law that provides the judge no discretion to change the punishment. It is not unusual for a person to confuse a mandatory sentence with that of a suspended sentence or deferred sentence. A suspended or deferred sentence are sentences postponed by the court so that the Defendant is not required to serve time, provided that the defendant does not violates an order of the court, or requires the Defendant to meet certain requirements to avoid the sentence.
Under the Ohio Expungement Statute, felonies in the first or second degree are precluded from expungement. Also precluded from being expunged are “convictions of an offense in circumstances in which the victim of the offense was under eighteen years of age when the offense is a misdemeanor of the first degree or a felony” (O.R.C. Section 2953.36). Crimes of violence, when the offense is a misdemeanor of the first degree or a felony are not able to be expunged, with the exception of first degree misdemeanor convictions for violations of O.R.C. 2917.03 (riot), O.R.C. 2903.13 (assault), O.R.C. 2917.01 (inciting to violence), or 2917.31 (inducing panic).
There are a number of specific crimes that cannot be expunged. Individuals convicted under any of the following statutes, O.R.C. 2907.02 (rape); O.R.C. 2907.03 (sexual battery), O.R.C. 2907.04 (corrupting a minor), O.R.C. 2907.05 (gross sexual imposition), O.R.C. 2907.06 (sexual imposition), O.R.C. 2907.321 (obscenity involving a minor), O.R.C. 2907.322 (pornography involving a minor), or O.R.C. 2907.323 (illegal use of a minor in pornography), or convictions under former O.R.C. 2907.12 (felonious sexual penetration) cannot be expunged. Additionally, convictions on or after October 10, 2007 under O.R.C. 2907.07 (importuning) or a conviction on or after October 10, 2007 for a violation of a municipal ordinance that is substantially similar to that section, cannot be expunged. Convictions which occurred on or after October 10, 2007 under O.R.C. 2907.08 (voyeurism), O.R.C. 2907.09 (public indecency), O.R.C. 2907.21 (compelling prostitution), O.R.C. 2907.22 (promoting prostitution), O.R.C. 2907.23 (procuring), O.R.C. 2907.31 (disseminating matter harmful to juveniles), O.R.C. 2907.311 (displaying matter harmful to juveniles), O.R.C. 2907.32 (pandering obscenity), or O.R.C. 2907.33 (deception to obtain matter harmful to juveniles) when the victim of the offense was under eighteen years of age are precluded from expungement as well.
As set forth under the Ohio Expungement Law, ORC 2953.36, no convictions under O.R.C. Chapter 4507 (Driver’s License Law), O.R.C. 4510 (Driver’s License Suspension, Cancellation, Revocation), O.R.C. Chapter 4511 (Traffic Laws – Operation of a Motor Vehicle), or O.R.C. Chapter 4549 (Motor Vehicle Crimes), or for a violation of a municipal ordinance that is substantially similar to any section contained in any of those chapters, qualifies for an expungement. Similarly, bail forfeitures in traffic cases can not be expunged.
As with an application for expungement for felony or misdemeanor conviction, an application for expungement of a minor misdemeanor charge must be set for a hearing before the court. The Ohio Expungement Statute, O.R.C. 2953.32, requires a hearing, and each application for expungement is required to be set for hearing before the court. In many cases, we are able to appear for our clients so that they do not have to appear. An expungement of a criminal case has many benefits, but perhaps the most valuable, is to be able in most cases to state that you have no conviction when asked by your employer or a potential employer.
For a more complete list of specific offenses that can not be expunged under Ohio law, see our article entitle Disqualifying Convictions not Eligible for Expungement.
The purpose of the Expungement Statute in the Ohio Revised Code is to provide an opportunity to a person with a criminal record, and who has been rehabilitated into society, a second chance. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation to determine if an expungement can give you a fresh start.