How do I get my record sealed?
Some criminal records may be sealed or expunged so that they are not available to the public. The statutes relating to sealing of records are found in Chapter 2953 of the Ohio Revised Code. While it is believed the following information is accurate, if you have questions about the law you should consult an Ohio attorney to help you with the sealing process.
Who is eligible to have record(s) sealed?
An “Eligible Offender” means anyone who has been convicted of an offense in this state or any other jurisdiction and who has not more than (1) one felony conviction, (2) two misdemeanor convictions if the convictions are not of the same offense, or (3) one felony conviction and one misdemeanor conviction in this state or any other jurisdiction. When two or more convictions result from or are connected with the same act or result from offenses committed at the same time, they may be counted as one conviction. When two or three convictions result from the same indictment 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, they may be counted as one conviction. A court may decide that it is not in the public interest for two or three convictions to be counted as one conviction.
What records can be sealed?
A conviction, dismissal, not guilty verdict, nolle, no bill by a grand jury, or arrest record may be sealed.
When can I have my case(s) sealed?
Application may be filed at any time after being found not guilty or after a dismissal with a few exceptions. If an applicant has completed diversion or a case is dismissed, he/she must wait one year from diversion completion. If an applicant has completed underage alcohol diversion, he/she must also be 21 years of age.
Application may be made at the expiration of three years after an offender’s final discharge if convicted of a felony, or at the expiration of one year after an offender’s final discharge if convicted of a misdemeanor. Final disposition includes any time on probation or a community control sanction or parole or driver’s license suspension (one year from when the suspension is over). All court fines, costs, and restitution must be paid at least one year before you can file for sealing of your record for a misdemeanor offense (three years for a felony). In addition, you cannot have any pending cases.
Are all convictions eligible to be sealed?
Not all charges/offenses are eligible to be sealed. Convictions ineligible for sealing include:
- Convictions with a mandatory prison term;
- Sex offense convictions;
- Convictions of violent offenses that are felonies or first-degree misdemeanors, with the exception of simple assault;
- Convictions of felonies or first degree misdemeanors where the victim is under 18 years old;
- Convictions of first or second-degree felonies;
- OVI convictions; and
- Driving under OVI suspension convictions
There are other reasons your record(s) may not qualify. Please seek legal advice.
Do I have to pay to apply for sealing of my record(s)?
The Court filing fee for sealing of your record in the Stow Municipal Court is $50.00. There is an additional community control document processing fee.
What determines whether my application will be granted?
The granting of the sealing of your record(s) is within the sole discretion of the sentencing Court. To grant the request, the Court must find that you are an eligible offender and have been satisfactorily rehabilitated. There are many factors that a court may consider in determining whether a record will be sealed.