If I file for Expungement Myself, What Happens If the Court Denies My Case?
People have been given the false impression they can simply file for an expungement themselves. Some agencies promote self-help expungement clinics or furnish free do-it-yourself forms. Regardless of good intentions, none of these agencies will be able to represent you in court hearings, handle prosecutor objections, or file briefs on your behalf. Unfortunately, many people don’t understand this until after their expungement has been denied.
If an expungement/sealing is important to you and your future, an attorney is necessary to ensure success in these matters.
The Court Over-Ruled Your Application for Expungement – You Have a Couple of Options:
1.) Appeal the Court’s Decision
First, you can file an appeal of the Judge’s decision denying your expungement / sealing to the Court of Appeals, arguing that the judge abused their discretion and/or failed to apply the law correctly in your case. This must be filed within 30 days after the Judge’s Entry denying your application for expungement. If you fail to file an appeal by this time, you may be barred from appealing the decision and the decision will be final. There are complex legal procedures that must be followed, briefs must be submitted, and oral arguments may be necessary. Given the complexity of appeals, it is prudent to have legal counsel represent you. And an appeal is an expensive legal process.
2.) Refile the Expungement in the Future
Secondly, if your expungement was denied, you can re-file an application for expungement in the future. However, if a case has been denied before, there is a higher legal burden when the case is refiled later. It would be advisable to wait at least a year before refiling. Even with the passage of time, you cannot merely return to the court and refile the same application and make the same arguments. Courts have ruled that successive motions for expungement are prohibited. However, Ohio case law has held to be successful when re-filing for expungement, a person must prove “change of circumstance” that justifies the refiling of the expungement.
There is little case law on what constitutes “Change of Circumstance”, but it appears courts have found this to include a change in the law, impact of the record, or significant change in a person’s circumstance. When re-filing an expungement, it is wise to have an attorney help you craft a motion that can satisfy this standard.
Don’t Gamble with Your Future
Why risk losing your expungement case? It makes sense to do it right the first time around, so you don’t have to deal with an expensive appeal or higher burden when refiling in the future. Our law firm emphasizes expungement and sealing of criminal records and we have been in business since 1988. We handle cases in all 88 counties of Ohio. As trial attorneys and former prosecutors, let us put our knowledge and experience to work for you.
Contact our Ohio law firm for a confidential and free consultation.