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New Waiting Periods 

OH HB1 Changed Waiting Periods for Felonies

In April of 2021, Ohio House Bill 1 greatly reduced the required waiting period for expungements.  Under amendments to Ohio Revised Code, section 2953.32, the time a person is required to wait before they are eligible to file for expungement of Minor Misdemeanor or Misdemeanor convictions is one year after final discharge of the case. The waiting period for Felony Convictions varies based upon the degree of the charge and nature of the offense. Felony fourth 4th degree and Felony fifth 5th-degree convictions now have a 1 year waiting period after final discharge of the case. Felony third 3rd-degree convictions have a 3-year waiting period after final discharge of the case. One exception is Convictions for Soliciting or Accepting Improper Compensation (offering bribes to public officials or acceptance of bribes by public officials), which requires a 7-year waiting period after final discharge from the case.

The Effect of the New Waiting Periods for Expungement Under House Bill 1

Under the previous version of the expungement statute

People with felony convictions had to wait three to five years after discharge of their case before they were eligible to file for expungement. As a result, by the time a person completed their probation/community control, it was not unusual for a person with one or more felony convictions to be required to wait up to 8 years or longer after their conviction before they were eligible to file for expungement.

Under the new changes in 2021 to Ohio Expungement Law

If the person has one, or multiple, felony 5th degree or felony 4th degree convictions, they can file for expungement 1 year after final discharge of their case(s).  Depending on their case, this cuts years off the amount of time a person must wait before filing for expungement.  In other words, people burdened with criminal records can have a fresh start in life offered by an expungement much sooner.

Real-Life Examples of Real Benefits of Ohio’s New Expungement Waiting Periods

In a recent case, we had a person contact our law firm. They had received legal advice they had to wait 2 more years before they could apply to have their felony record sealed. They were discouraged because they were unable to locate a good job with their criminal record showing up in background checks.  We investigated the court records from their case, and we gave them some good news. Under the new changes to the expungement law, they did not have to wait another 2 years, but they were eligible to file for expungement immediately.  And that is exactly what we did. This person hired us, and we filed their case with the court within days, instead of years.

In another case, a person contacted us to expunge criminal records in multiple courts. They would be graduating from college and would be entering the job market.  They knew their record was going to be red flag in employment interviews. In some of their cases, the waiting period had expired. We were able to successfully expunge and seal those records following the expungement hearing for their case. However, for one of their cases, they were placed upon a 5-year period of probation, and they still had a few years left on that probation. As a result, they had to wait for their probation to expire and receive a final discharge of their case, and after this, they had to go through the required waiting period before they were even eligible to file for expungement. This would have been in at least 3 years. This person had demonstrated a real turnaround in their life was now a contributing member of the community.  Therefore, we filed a Motion to Terminate Probation Early with supporting evidence with the Court. The Court agreed with our arguments and terminated this client’s probation early, and granted her a final discharge of her case. As a result, instead of waiting 3 more years before they could file for expungement, they only had to wait 1 year. Now when our client begins looking for jobs after graduating from college, we will be able to have their record expunged which will open up opportunities for their future, which they would not have had with a criminal record.

Are You Eligible to Have Your Criminal Record Expunged?

We are Experienced Ohio Expungement Attorneys, who have been in business since 1988 and handle cases in all Ohio counties. As trial attorneys and former prosecutors, we can use our experience to help you put an old record behind you and give you a second chance. Give us a call or take or Free Expungement Eligibility Test.