On October 29, 2018, a significant change to Ohio law regarding record sealing (i.e., expungement) went into effect. Prior to that date, a person was limited to being able to expunge one felony, one felony and one misdemeanor, or two misdemeanors. However, the recent revision to the expungement law expands the number of lifetime offenses that can be expunged.
Changes to Expungement Law in Ohio
The new expungement law (R.C. 2953.32) in Ohio now permits an unlimited number of expungements for misdemeanors and up to five (5) felonies, with some exceptions. In order to be eligible for record sealing in Ohio, one must be an “eligible offender” pursuant to R.C. 2953.31. Under the prior law, a person was an eligible offender if that person did not have more than one felony, not more than two misdemeanors, or not more than one felony and one misdemeanor conviction.
The new law includes the language above AND anyone who has been convicted of one or more offenses but not more than five felonies, if all of the offenses are felonies of the 4th or 5th degree or misdemeanors, and none of those offenses are an offense of violence or a felony sex offense.
When am I Eligible for Expungement?
There has also been a change to when a person is eligible for expungement. Under the previous law, a person was eligible one year after final discharge if convicted of a misdemeanor, and three years after final discharge for a felony. The new law provides that a person is eligible four years after final discharge if convicted of two felonies, or after five years after final discharge if convicted of three, four or five felonies.
Can Traffic Offenses be Expunged Under the New Law?
Unfortunately, no. Pursuant to R.C. 2953.36, convictions under Chapter 4507 (Driver’s License Laws), 4510 (Driver’s License Suspension Laws), 4511 (Traffic Laws) and 4549 (Motor Vehicle Crimes) cannot be expunged. Thus, if you have a conviction for DUI / OVI, driving under suspension, or speeding, you cannot have those offenses expunged.
What the New Law Means for You
The new law essentially allows many people a fresh start. For example, if you have several theft and drug possession offenses from when you were younger or having difficulties, but have since turned yourself around, you can not have all of your offenses expunged. Instead of having youthful indiscretions be an albatross around your neck for the rest of your life, you can start anew.
Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Expungement and Record Sealing Attorney
If you have previous criminal offenses that you wish to have expunged and sealed in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, call Johnson Legal, LLC at (614) 987-0192 and speak with Attorney David Johnson. As an experienced Columbus and Delaware, Ohio criminal defense attorney, Attorney Johnson will discuss with you your previous criminal convictions, whether you meet the requirements of an “eligible offender,” and assist you with the process of expungement and record sealing.