The Ohio expungement statute contains a bizarre twist. If a person is convicted of a non-expungeable offense but an expungeable offense is dismissed, the person cannot ever expunge or seal the record of the dismissed – expungeable offense. This fact pattern pops up a lot in traffic stops where marijuana is present.

When we have a client convicted of a traffic offense (non-expungeable) we will ask the prosecutor to dismiss the marijuana possession charge (expungeable). It certainly seems logical, reasonable and fair that a citizen ought to be able to expunge an expungeable charge that was dismissed. However, the State of Ohio thinks otherwise an is appealing this exact issue to the Ohio Supreme Court (In re: Pariag). I expect a decision sometime mid-year 2013.

Until then, all expungement cases in the Franklin County Court of Appeals is on hold that have this fact pattern until the Supremes rule.