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The Court Denied My Expungement and Sealing of Criminal Record.  – Can I reapply for an expungement?

If you have had an Application to Seal a Criminal Record (also known as Expungement in Ohio) denied by a court, don’t give up, you may be able to reapply and have the criminal record sealed.  Our law firm has helped many people successfully obtain an expungement when they were initially turned down.  To be successful when refiling for an expungement, a basic understanding of Ohio law is helpful.

Ohio courts can deny Expungement Applications for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to: the application may have been filed improperly; the offense was not eligible for expungement; a person may have had too many convictions; the applicant failed to prove he was rehabilitated; or the Judge may have simply not be convinced the person deserved an expungement.

If a person has had an expungement denied by a court, and they want to refile or reapply for the expungement at a later date, they must demonstrate that the legal doctrine of Res Judicata does not apply to their subsequent expungement filing.  Res Judicata is a legal principal that bars successive actions when a valid, final judgment has been rendered upon the merits of the case.  In other words, where a court finds that an expungement has been fully litigated and denied in a prior action, the court will find that successive motions for expungement are prohibited (State v. Haney 1999 WL 1054840 – Appeal from Franklin County Court of Common Pleas).

However, Ohio’s Supreme Court has held that Res Judicata does not apply to motions to expunge / seal a record where a person can demonstrate there has been a “change in circumstances” since when the first motion to expunge was filed.  But change in circumstances requires more than the mere passage of time.  For this reason, it is important to use an experienced record sealing attorney or expungement lawyer to craft an argument to demonstrate how and why circumstances have changed since a person’s application was last denied.  Changes can be happenings of a person’s life, completion of court ordered sanctions, or changes in Ohio law.

Ohio Record Sealing or Expungement Law has had major revisions and changes in the last few years.  Some of the changes in the Ohio Expungement Law are perfect opportunities for a person to demonstrate that there has been “change in circumstances” so that the doctrine of Res Judicata does not apply and, as a result, they would be eligible to reapply for expungement under the new law.  Some of the recent changes expand the number of offenses that can be expunged, and the type of offenses that can be expunged. Ohio courts have held that the Ohio expungement statute in effect at the time the application is filed is the statute that controls the proceedings of an expungement. Further, since Ohio’s Expungement / Sealing of Record statute expanded the class of persons eligible for expungement from the previous version of the statute, courts have determined this to constitute a “change of circumstances’ between the prior request for expungement and the application filed under the new expungement law, and as a result, Res Judicata does not bar is review (State v. Grillo, 27 N.E.3d 951 – Appeal from Richland County Court of Common Pleas.)

Expungement and Record Sealing Lawyers – Contact us for a Free Consultation

If you have been denied an expungement, or question if you are eligible under the new Ohio Expungement law, or are considering an expungement for the first time, we can help.  Our law firm has been in business and located in central Ohio since 1988.  Our law firm emphasizes expungement and sealing of criminal records in Ohio.  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.