Can a M4 Domestic Violence Conviction Be Expunged?
Although Domestic Violence is crime of violence in Ohio, DV M4 is an exception and can be expunged
**Law Update: As of 4/3/23, this charge will no longer be eligible under OH SB288. If you have a current conviction and have completed restitution and the waiting period, you are eligible until 4/2/23. Contact our office today to get the paperwork filed before the deadline. **
Under Ohio Law, Domestic Violence is a “Crime of Violence.” As a result, the public, and many prosecutors and judges, commonly believe that no charge of Domestic Violence is ever eligible for expungement and sealing. But this is a wrong interpretation of the Ohio Expungement Statute.
While Misdemeanor 1st degree and Felony Domestic Violence* convictions are never eligible for expungement, a Misdemeanor 4th degree Domestic Violence (“DV M4”) is eligible. The DV M4 statute (ORC 2915.25(C)) states no person shall threaten force to a family or household member that causes them to believe they will be harmed. A conviction for this offense can be sealed.
We’ve argued these cases in court
We ran into this situation in one of Ohio’s larger courts. We filed an application for expungement on behalf a clients to seal several criminal records, including one conviction for DV M4. When the Judge called the case for hearing, the prosecutor objected, and the Judge said in open court that a DV charge is never sealable and indicated that the application would be denied. The Judge’s interpretation of the statute also jeopardized all the client’s other pending charges we had filed for expungement.
We’ve won Domestic Violence M4 cases
We aggressively argued for our client and were able to take the Judge to the relevant sections of the statue and demonstrate why the statue does not preclude DV M4 from expungement. Rather, we showed the Judge they had discretion to find our client eligible if met all other requirements of the statue. The Judge eventually agreed with our position which allowed us to demonstrate the many good things our client had done for their family, their community, and themselves since the time of the charges. Eventually, the Judge granted expungement of our client’s 8 criminal records, including the DV M4 conviction. Had we not been there to argue the law and advocate for our client, their application would have been denied.
Exceptions to Crimes of Violence that are eligible for expungement are difficult cases. We typically encounter stiff objections from the prosecutor and often questions or misinterpretations by courts. It is always best to have an experienced expungement attorney to prepare the case and argue for you at these hearings.
Expungement and Record Sealing Lawyers – Contact us for a Free Consultation
Our law firm has been in business and located in central Ohio since 1988 and handle cases in all courts in Ohio. Our law firm emphasizes expungement and sealing of criminal records in Ohio. As licensed attorneys and former prosecutor, we have the knowledge and experience to help you get your record sealed.
Find out if you are eligible under the current legal statutes in Ohio with our Free Online Eligibility Test.
*If a Domestic Violence M1 is reduced in a plea agreement to a lower degree offense, or amended to a different offense, the reduced or amended charge may be eligible for expungement.