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Record Sealing of an Assault Conviction

Expungement and Sealing of Record of Assault Conviction under O.R.C. 2953.31

There is much confusion among the public about whether an Assault conviction may be expunged and sealed in Ohio. Many attorneys and even courts mistakenly concluded that since Assault is defined as a crime of violence under O.R.C 2901.01, an Assault conviction cannot be expunged.  As a result, people may have been denied an expungement and sealing of their assault conviction because of this misapplication of the law.

There are basically three different types of assault charges under Ohio law.  There is “Simple Assault” under 2903.13 (a misdemeanor charge); “Aggravated Assault” under 2903.12 (a felony charge), and Felonious Assault under 2903.11 (a felony charge).  In most cases, Simple Assault (also known as Misdemeanor Assault) is eligible for expungement under the Ohio Expungement and Sealing Statute (O.R.C. 2953.31 and related sections).  Misdemeanor assault is a special exception to the preclusion of sealing of crimes of violence under 2953.36.  Although R.C. 2953.36 provides generally that convictions for felony and misdemeanor crimes of violence may not be sealed, it provides four exceptions to that rule, one of which is for misdemeanor assault convictions.

Simple Assault or Misdemeanor Assault under O.R.C. 2903.13 is summarized as knowingly causing or attempting to cause physical harm to another or to another’s an unborn child.  Simple assault can also include recklessly causing serious physical harm to another or another person’s unborn child.  The penalty for Simple Assault is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by a maximum of six months in jail and $1,000 fine.  (It should be noted, however, that the degree of offense and penalties will be enhanced when certain types of victims of an assault are involved, such as a police officer, firefighter, school teacher, health care worker, and other victims listed under 2903.13. In these cases it is vital to have an experienced attorney to help resolve the case in such a way so that if there is a conviction, you will not be barred from expungement.)

While some courts have mistakenly applied Ohio’s expungement statute to deny the expungement and sealing of misdemeanor assault convictions, attorneys have been successful in having these decisions overturned upon appeal.  For instance, where one trial court denied a motion to seal the record of an assault, a misdemeanor of the first degree, the court of appeals rejected their reasoning.  The trial court denied the motion based on its view that O.R.C. 2953.36 precludes expungement of offenses of violence that are misdemeanors of the first degree. After reviewing the language of O.R.C. 2953.36, the appeals court concluded that it does not preclude expungement of misdemeanor assault convictions. Accordingly, the court of appeals reversed the judgment of the trial court and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with its opinion.  Euclid v. El-Zant, 2001, 143 Ohio App.3d 545, 758 N.E.2d 700.

Convincing a court that an assault charge is an expungable and sealable offense is one step in the process, you still must prove to the court that you meet all the other requirements under the record sealing statute to be an eligible offender.  An experienced Ohio expungement attorney will be able to provide the necessary argument and evidence necessary to persuade the court that you meet all of the elements of the Ohio expungement statute.  This will require preparation and planning with your attorney.

Ohio Expungement and Record Sealing Lawyers

If you want to be successful in sealing your criminal record of assault, it is important that you speak with an experienced Ohio Expungement and Record Sealing lawyer.  Our Ohio law firm has been in business 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. Sealing a record of a criminal conviction is an excellent way to put the past behind, provides a fresh start, and an opportunity to pursue career options that may not have been available with a criminal record.