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How Many Misdemeanors Can Be Expunged in Ohio?

Depending on a person’s past convictions, they may be eligible for EITHER an unlimited number of misdemeanor convictions expunged; OR only two misdemeanor convictions expunged.  To be eligible for expungement of unlimited misdemeanors, a person can not have any convictions for any of the following – an offense of violence, felony sex offense, or a felony 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree.  If a person does not meet these conditions, they can still be eligible for expungement of two misdemeanor convictions under a different section of Ohio’s Expungement Law.

Expansion of Ohio Expungement Law

Effective October 29th, 2018, Ohio expungement law expanded the number of misdemeanor convictions and felony convictions that are eligible for expungement and sealing. For purposes of this article, we will focus on Misdemeanor convictions.  The previous law allowed for only two misdemeanor convictions to be expunged.  The new law makes it possible for a person to have an unlimited number of misdemeanor convictions sealed.  As a result, people who were not eligible under the old law, or have been previously denied an expungement by a court, may now be eligible for expungement.

Eligible Offender  

To be eligible for expungement and sealing, you must meet the definition of an “eligible offender.”  Under the new expungement law, there are two options to be an eligible offender.

Option #1 – Expungement of Unlimited Misdemeanor Convictions

To be an eligible offender for unlimited misdemeanor convictions, a person can not have any of the following convictions in Ohio or any other state:

  •             An offense of violence
  •             A felony sex offense
  •             Any felony of the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree

In other words, there is no limit on the number of misdemeanors a person can have expunged if they meet these conditions and any prior felony convictions are 5th degree or 4th-degree level offenses.  If a person is not eligible under OPTION #1 for unlimited misdemeanor expungements, they may still be eligible under OPTION #2.

OPTION #2 – Expungement of Two Misdemeanor Convictions

If a person is not eligible under OPTION #1 for unlimited misdemeanors, they can still be eligible to have two misdemeanor convictions expunged and sealed under OPTION #2.  While a person can only have two misdemeanors sealed under this OPTION #2, there are some exceptions under this section of the law that allow for multiple misdemeanor convictions to be counted as one conviction.  For instance, multiple misdemeanor convictions from the same incident may be counted as one conviction; or multiple misdemeanor convictions from related criminal acts that occurred within three months of each other and handled in the same court proceedings may count as one conviction.

(For example, three convictions of theft arising from the same incident would be counted as one conviction; and, 2 related convictions that occurred 2 months apart but resolved in the same court hearings would be counted as one conviction.  As a result, this person could be eligible to have all 5 convictions mentioned in this example sealed under the exceptions to the statue.)

Waiting Period

Both OPTION #1 and OPTION #2 require a person to the waiting period of 1 year after termination of the misdemeanor case before they will be eligible to file for expungement.  Termination of the case means the completion of all orders of the court, including probation, and payment of restitution, fines, and costs.

Examples of Recent Cases

Since the new law went into effect, we have successfully helped many clients with multiple misdemeanor convictions in different courts have their records sealed and expunged.  Some of these clients were even denied an expungement in the past.  Be aware, these cases can be complex and often require hearings and testimony to overcome objections of prosecutors and to persuade the judge our client satisfies all the requirements of the expungement statute.

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.   As trial attorneys and former prosecutors, we have the knowledge and experience to have your criminal record sealed.  We handle cases in all 88 counties of Ohio. Contact our Ohio law firm for a confidential and free consultation.