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Self Representation may be a missed opportunity

Self-Representation Mistakes

Posted on: April 5, 2021 | by: admin

A self representation case study

As a firm that specializes in expungement cases in Ohio, we have seen examples of people who have attempted self representation during the expungement process. And almost all of them turned into a denial from the court where they appeared to make their case.

Expungement is a process by which Ohio legal statutes provide relief for people who have been justly convicted of a crime, paid their debt to society (restitution), and have completed the waiting period for their type of crime. While the statutes and eligibility have been expanded over the last several years, the process of filing, appearing and winning an expungement hearing has not.

Recently, we appeared in court on behalf of one of our clients and made arguments that countered the prosecutor’s objections for our client receiving a record expungement. The hearing was long and required the client to take the stand to answer questions from both the prosecutor and our legal team. In the end, the judge reviewed our request and the evidence we provided, and the client was granted an expungement. This was a hard-fought win for our client.

In the very next case, a young woman brought her expungement case before the same judge. She was representing herself and clearly did not have a grasp of the requirements needed to make a winning argument. She failed to do the homework necessary in the following areas:

  • Proving that she was eligible for expungement
  • Understanding the weight of the probation investigation report
  • Showing the section in the expungement statute that applied to her case
  • Demonstrating that she had been sufficiently rehabilitated
  • Arguing and counter arguing prosecution objections

Unfortunately, for this woman, she did not understand the statutory requirements, the legal procedure and the fact that when a person is denied an expungement in Ohio, the process of reapplying becomes more difficult.  Once a person is denied an expungement, the burden of proof changes and becomes a higher standard which can be very difficult to meet.  As a result, not only did this woman most likely lose her expungement, but she probably ruined her chances of every getting and expungement in the future.

Ohio expungement representation since 1988

Our team has been working with Ohio residents and non-Ohio residents for nearly 30 years to apply, argue and secure expungement of Ohio convictions. While the temptation of self representation may seem easier and less expensive, using an experienced law firm like ours will likely get you farther than if you go alone. We have a money-back guarantee if we take your case and are not successful, so you don’t have anything to lose. Read our client testimonials and start with our free eligibility test today to get started.