What is an expungement or sealing of records?
Sealing of records is a way to have your criminal record cleared and your court file sealed.
Why get an expungement?
When you apply for some jobs, apartments, and licenses they will look at your criminal record. If you have a conviction on your record, it is unlikely that you will be chosen for the job, given the apartment to rent, or allowed to get a license. When you appear as a witness in court, they will ask you about your past criminal record. If you have a conviction, they are unlikely to believe that your testimony is true. Once your record is expunged nothing will show up when your record is checked. After expungement is finished, when asked about your past criminal record, you can honestly say that you have none. You can act as if the arrest and conviction never took place.
However, even if your record is sealed:
Law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and other agencies can look at your sealed record only as specified by the Ohio Revised Code.
Who can have their conviction sealed?
During the fourth quarter of 2012 the 129th General Assembly amended the Ohio Revised Codes concerning the sealing of convictions, etc. We have attached Section 2953.32 “Sealing of conviction record or bail forfeiture record” for your review. This section of the Ohio Revised Code should help you find the answers you are looking for. Please remember that there are other sections of law pertaining to this subject. For additional information please consult legal counsel.
2953.32 Sealing of conviction record or bail forfeiture record.
(A) (1) Except as provided in section 2953.61 of the Revised Code, an eligible offender may apply to the sentencing court if convicted in this state, or to a court of common pleas if convicted in another state or in a federal court, for the sealing of the conviction record. Application may be made at the expiration of three years after the offender’s final discharge if convicted of a felony, or at the expiration of one year after the offender’s final discharge if convicted of a misdemeanor.
(2) Any person who has been arrested for any misdemeanor offense and who has effected a bail forfeiture may apply to the court in which the misdemeanor criminal case was pending when bail was forfeited for the sealing of the record of the case. Except as provided in section 2953.61 of the Revised Code, the application may be filed at any time after the expiration of one year from the date on which the bail forfeiture was entered upon the minutes of the court or the journal, whichever entry occurs first.
(B) Upon the filing of an application under this section, the court shall set a date for a hearing and shall notify the prosecutor for the case of the hearing on the application. The prosecutor may object to the granting of the application by filing an objection with the court prior to the date set for the hearing. The prosecutor shall specify in the objection the reasons for believing a denial of the application is justified. The court shall direct its regular probation officer, a state probation officer, or the department of probation of the county in which the applicant resides to make inquiries and written reports as the court requires concerning the applicant. If the applicant was convicted of or pleaded guilty to a violation of division (A)(2) or (B) of section 2919.21 of the Revised Code (Non-Support of Dependents), the probation officer or county department of probation that the court directed to make inquiries concerning the applicant shall contact the child support enforcement agency enforcing the applicant’s obligations under the child support order to inquire about the offender’s compliance with the child support order.
(C) (1) The court shall do each of the following: (a) Determine whether the applicant is an eligible offender or whether the forfeiture of bail was agreed to by the applicant and the prosecutor in the case. If the applicant applies as an eligible offender pursuant to division (A)(1) of this section and has two or three convictions that result from the same indictment, information, or complaint, from the same plea of guilty, or from the same official proceeding, and result from related criminal acts that were committed within a three-month period but do not result from the same act or from offenses committed at the same time, in making its determination under this division, the court initially shall determine whether it is not in the public interest for the two or three convictions to be counted as one conviction. If the court determines that it is not in the public interest for the two or three convictions to be counted as one conviction, the court shall determine that the applicant is not an eligible offender; if the court does not make that determination, the court shall determine that the offender is an eligible offender.
(b) Determine whether criminal proceedings are pending against the applicant;
(c) If the applicant is an eligible offender who applies pursuant to division (A)(1) of this section, determine whether the applicant has been rehabilitated to the satisfaction of the court;
(d) If the prosecutor has filed an objection in accordance with division (B) of this section, consider the reasons against granting the application specified by the prosecutor in the objection;
(e) Weigh the interests of the applicant in having the records pertaining to the applicant’s conviction sealed against the legitimate needs, if any, of the government to maintain those records.
(2) If the court determines, after complying with division (C)(1) of this section, that the applicant is an eligible offender or the subject of a bail forfeiture, that no criminal proceeding is pending against the applicant, and that the interests of the applicant in having the records pertaining to the applicant’s conviction or bail forfeiture sealed are not outweighed by any legitimate governmental needs to maintain those records, and that the rehabilitation of an applicant who is an eligible offender applying pursuant to division (A)(1) of this section has been attained to the satisfaction of the court, the court, except as provided in divisions (G) and (H) of this section, shall order all official records pertaining to the case sealed and, except as provided in division (F) of this section, all index references to the case deleted and, in the case of bail forfeitures, shall dismiss the charges in the case. The proceedings in the case shall be considered not to have occurred and the conviction or bail forfeiture of the person who is the subject of the proceedings shall be sealed, except that upon conviction of a subsequent offense, the sealed record of prior conviction or bail forfeiture may be considered by the court in determining the sentence or other appropriate disposition, including the relief provided for in sections 2953.31 to 2953.33 of the Revised Code.
(D) Inspection of the sealed records included in the order may be made only by the following persons or for the following purposes:
(1) By a law enforcement officer or prosecutor, or the assistants of either, to determine whether the nature and character of the offense with which a person is to be charged would be affected by virtue of the person’s previously having been convicted of a crime;
(2) By the parole or probation officer of the person who is the subject of the records, for the exclusive use of the officer in supervising the person while on parole or under a community control sanction or a post-release control sanction, and in making inquiries and written reports as requested by the court or adult parole authority;
(3) Upon application by the person who is the subject of the records, by the persons named in the application;
(4) By a law enforcement officer who was involved in the case, for use in the officer’s defense of a civil action arising out of the officer’s involvement in that case;
(5) By a prosecuting attorney or the prosecuting attorney’s assistants, to determine a defendant’s eligibility to enter a pre-trial diversion program established pursuant to section 2935.36 of the Revised Code;
(6) By any law enforcement agency or any authorized employee of a law enforcement agency or by the department of rehabilitation and correction as part of a background investigation of a person who applies for employment with the agency as a law enforcement officer or with the department as a corrections officer;
(7) By any law enforcement agency or any authorized employee of a law enforcement agency, for the purposes set forth in, and in the manner provided in, section 2953.321 of the Revised Code;
(8) By the bureau of criminal identification and investigation or any authorized employee of the bureau for the purpose of providing information to a board or person pursuant to division (F) or (G) of section 109.57 of the Revised Code;
(9) By the bureau of criminal identification and investigation or any authorized employee of the bureau for the purpose of performing a criminal history records check on a person to whom a certificate as prescribed in section 109.77 of the Revised Code is to be awarded;
(10) By the bureau of criminal identification and investigation or any authorized employee of the bureau for the purpose of conducting a criminal records check of an individual pursuant to division (B) of section 109.572 of the Revised Code that was requested pursuant to any of the sections identified in division (B)(1) of that section;
(11) By the bureau of criminal identification and investigation, an authorized employee of the bureau, a sheriff, or an authorized employee of a sheriff in connection with a criminal records check described in section 311.41 of the Revised Code;
(12) By the attorney general or an authorized employee of the attorney general or a court for purposes of determining a person’s classification pursuant to Chapter 2950. of the Revised Code.
When the nature and character of the offense with which a person is to be charged would be affected by the information, it may be used for the purpose of charging the person with an offense.
(E) In any criminal proceeding, proof of any otherwise admissible prior conviction may be introduced and proved, notwithstanding the fact that for any such prior conviction an order of sealing previously was issued pursuant to sections 2953.31 to 2953.36 of the Revised Code.
(F) The person or governmental agency, office, or department that maintains sealed records pertaining to convictions or bail forfeitures that have been sealed pursuant to this section may maintain a manual or computerized index to the sealed records. The index shall contain only the name of, and alphanumeric identifiers that relate to, the persons who are the subject of the sealed records, the word “sealed,” and the name of the person, agency, office, or department that has custody of the sealed records, and shall not contain the name of the crime committed. The index shall be made available by the person who has custody of the sealed records only for the purposes set forth in divisions (C), (D), and (E) of this section.
(G) Notwithstanding any provision of this section or section 2953.33 of the Revised Code that requires otherwise, a board of education of a city, local, exempted village, or joint vocational school district that maintains records of an individual who has been permanently excluded under sections 3301.121 and 3313.662 of the Revised Code is permitted to maintain records regarding a conviction that was used as the basis for the individual’s permanent exclusion, regardless of a court order to seal the record. An order issued under this section to seal the record of a conviction does not revoke the adjudication order of the superintendent of public instruction to permanently exclude the individual who is the subject of the sealing order. An order issued under this section to seal the record of a conviction of an individual may be presented to a district superintendent as evidence to support the contention that the superintendent should recommend that the permanent exclusion of the individual who is the subject of the sealing order be revoked. Except as otherwise authorized by this division and sections 3301.121 and 3313.662 of the Revised Code, any school employee in possession of or having access to the sealed conviction records of an individual that were the basis of a permanent exclusion of the individual is subject to section 2953.35 of the Revised Code.
(H) For purposes of sections 2953.31 to 2953.36 of the Revised Code, DNA records collected in the DNA database and fingerprints filed for record by the superintendent of the bureau of criminal identification and investigation shall not be sealed unless the superintendent receives a certified copy of a final court order establishing that the offender’s conviction has been overturned. For purposes of this section, a court order is not “final” if time remains for an appeal or application for discretionary review with respect to the order.
Amended by 129th General Assembly File No. 131, SB 337, § 1, eff. 9/28/2012.
Amended by 128th General Assembly File No. 30, SB 77, § 1, eff. 7/6/2010.
Effective Date: 04-08-2004; 2007 SB10 07-01-2007; 2007 HB104 03-24-2008; 2008 HB195 09-30-2008
See 129th General Assembly File No. 127, HB 487, § 610.10.
What does it cost to file?
Please contact the Clinton County Clerk of Courts office with questions about filing fees.