Multiple Conviction Expungement
Can you expunge more than one criminal conviction?
“Expungement” of a record means “the removal of a conviction from a person’s criminal record.” “Sealing” of records means “the act or practice of officially preventing access to particular criminal records, in the absence of a court order.” (Black’s Law Dictionary) Under Ohio law, expungement and sealing criminal records are consolidated into one legal proceeding. Therefore, in Ohio, expungement of a criminal record will also result in the sealing of the criminal record.
Many people mistakenly believe that they can expunge their entire criminal history. However, a person is eligible for expungement who has not more than one felony conviction; not more than two misdemeanor convictions; or not more than one felony conviction and one misdemeanor conviction.
Ohio Expungement Statute. ORC 2953.31 provides that if a person was convicted of two or more crimes based upon the same action, then all of those convictions shall be considered “one conviction.” In other words, a series of 2 or 3 convictions out of the same case only count as one conviction under the expungement statute. (For example, if a person has 3 misdemeanor convictions out of one case they are counted as “one conviction”, that person would be eligible to have another conviction from a separate misdemeanor or felony case expunged.)
This provision of the Ohio Revised Code does not extend to individuals who were charged or convicted of crimes that were committed months or years apart. If one is attempting to expunge and seal more than one conviction, Ohio courts have held that the convictions must be related to the same conduct or series of events.
Most minor misdemeanors do not count as criminal convictions. Bail forfeiture, dismissed charges, minor misdemeanor charges, and most traffic violations will not serve as a conviction and these charges should not prevent a person from having their record expunged and sealed.
Often, I am presented with the question of whether or not an individual can receive an expungement for a crime committed at the same time traffic law violation occurred. While most traffic violations will have no effect on one’s expungement of their criminal record, if you receive a serious traffic law violation, such as Drunk Driving (DUI or OVI), Hit-Skip, or Drag Racing conviction at the same time, or at a different time, when you received a criminal charge, you would still be eligible for a criminal expungement. However, due to the complexities of these matters, an expungement attorney should be consulted to determine if all or part of your record can be expunged, if you have traffic charges that occurred at the same time as criminal charges.
If you feel you may be eligible for an expungement, even if you have multiple convictions, do not hesitate to contact me for a free consultation today! We understand that everyone makes mistakes. We can help you get a second chance.