Minor Misdemeanor Expungement
Expunging a Minor Misdemeanor in Ohio
Generally, most people believe that minor misdemeanor charges are not serious offenses. A conviction from a minor misdemeanor offense in Ohio does not result in jail time, but rather, these charges are punishable by fine only, and in a few cases, a license suspension.
For example, many people have incurred minor misdemeanor charges for drug abuse, or drug possession while in college. Or others may have been charged with a minor misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct or similar charge for loud behavior when attending a party. All too often, these same people appear at a court and without the advice of an attorney, plea guilty to the charge, pay a fine, and go on with their lives.
However, we regularly receive phone calls from people who have been convicted of a minor misdemeanor in their past but now that old conviction is creating serious problems for their career. Routine background checks of current employees and potential employees have become more common. As mentioned in our example, an old minor misdemeanor charge of drug abuse is more likely to be discovered by employers and may lead to a person being terminated from their job or prevent a person from being considered for a new job. People are shocked to learn that an old drug abuse charge can cause them to be denied for student loans, government loans, or turned down for an apartment.
Good news! Pursuant to the Ohio Revised Code, and case law of Ohio courts, minor misdemeanors are considered an offense under Ohio expungement law, and as a result, a record of minor misdemeanor conviction can be expunged and sealed.
Under Ohio Revised Code 2953.31, the conviction of a minor misdemeanor is an “offense” for purposes of an expungement. Further, under Ohio case law, a conviction of a minor misdemeanor or dismissal of a minor misdemeanor charge constitutes an offense for expungement purposes. State v. Von Korff (1984), 19 Ohio App.3d 214, 19 OBR 359, 484 N.E.2d 207 (1st Dist.); State v. Olding (Nov. 14, 1984), 1st Dist. No. C-840150, 1984 WL 7065; City of Medina v. Hannan (2003), 124 Ohio Misc.2d 37, 792 N.E.2d 1141, 2003-Ohio-3923. In State v. Olding, the court held “…[T]he arrest record or conviction of a minor misdemeanor does not make the minor misdemeanor a non-offense any more than it makes the records of convictions disappear from the official files on a court’s computer.” Id. Thus, a minor misdemeanor conviction or a dismissal of a minor misdemeanor charge can be expunged under Ohio law.
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 to deny a conviction when asked by your employer or a potential employer.
If you have been convicted of a minor misdemeanor or charged with a minor misdemeanor that was dismissed, contact our law firm for a free consultation to determine if you are eligible for an expungement. Everyone makes mistakes, we will help you get a second chance.