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Ohio HB431

“Here Comes the Law…”

In April 2021, three new laws change Ohio Expungement and Sealing Law.  These new laws include Ohio Senate Bill 10 – effective April 7, 2021; Ohio House Bill 431 (HB-431) effective April 12, 2021; and Ohio House Bill 1 effective April 12, 2021.   This article discusses Senate Bill 10 and House Bill 431.    (House Bill 1 has greater impact on expungement and we will address this in a separate article.)

Ohio Senate Bill 10 – Theft in Office & Soliciting Improper Compensation

(This is a strange one…because it is effective for only 5 days and then replaced by amendments in House Bill 431.)  This Bill excluded a person with a conviction for Theft in Office from sealing and expunging the conviction.   Further, the bill increased the waiting period to 7 years for a person convicted of Soliciting Improper Compensation.  So, if you were convicted of one of these offenses, don’t worry, you were ineligible for only 5 days! Then you will be eligible again.  The legislature reversed themselves and did away with these conditions in HB-431, effective April 12, 2021. In fact, we have successfully sealed Theft in Office convictions in the past.

Ohio House Bill 431 (OH HB-431) – Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor

Sex related crimes are generally not eligible for expungement sealing.  However, HB-431 makes an exception for certain people who were convicted of Unlawful Sexual Conduct With A Minor who were under the age of 21 at the time of committing the offense.  There are many conditions that shall apply under R.C. 2950.151 to be eligible for expungement and sealing under this new law, including:

(1) the court issues and order that terminates the person’s Sex Offender Registration & Notification (SORN Law) duties;

(2) the person was under the age 21 at the time of the charge,

(3) the court found the person to be at low risk of reoffending based on a pre-sentence investigation report  

(4) the sentencing court imposed one or more community control sanctions instead of a prison term and the person completed all conditions imposed,

(5) the person has not been convicted of another offense of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, or other sex offense, or offense with a child as a victim   

(6) the minor with whom the person engaged in sexual conduct was 14 years old or older at the time of the charge and consented to the sexual conduct, and there was no coercion, force, or threat involved, and

(7) the person was not in a position of authority over the minor.

Further, to be eligible for sealing a conviction for Unlawful Sexual Conduct With A Minor, the person must satisfy all the existing conditions of Ohio’s Record Sealing Law, plus HB-431 adds a provision to R.C. 2953.32 that requires the court to determine whether the offender has been rehabilitated to a satisfactory degree. In making its determination, the court may consider the offender’s age, the facts and circumstances of the offense, the cessation or continuation of criminal behavior, the offender’s education and employment history, and any other circumstances that may relate to the offender’s rehabilitation.

After following the statutory procedures, and the Court makes stated conclusions and grants an order to seal and expunge the official government records of the conviction, all public offices or agencies that possess any records or documents of the conviction, must remove them from public records, subject to some exceptions, and must deny access to those sealed records.

Experienced Ohio Expungement and Record Sealing Attorney

Our firm has over 30 years of success stories in obtaining expungements for our clients. Like these recent changes to the Ohio expungement statute, our firm stays current on all legislation that affects the eligibility of our clients. You can trust the expertise and the hours of research that we’ve done on these bills, as well as our ability to craft a defense argument that best helps our clients win their case.

Put the past behind you and close a chapter on an old mistake by Expunging and sealing your old criminal record.  Our Ohio law firm has been in business since 1988 and we handle expungement cases in all Ohio Counties.  For a confidential free expungement consultation, contact us today.