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Sealing of Drug-Related Offenses Reversed on Appeal

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A June 17 decision in the 10th District Court of Appeals reversed and remanded two criminal drug expungements. The state of Ohio appealed a judgment entered into by the Franklin County Municipal Court sealing the records of two criminal cases, both involving drug charges. The state appealed both judgments, which the 10th District consolidated into one case.

This case involved four drug-related offenses:

  1. Aggravated possession of drugs – heroin, which is a violation of R.C. 2925.11(C)(1) and a fifth degree felony offense.
  2. Possession of drug paraphernalia – a smoking bowl, in violation of R.C. 2925.14(A)(9) and a misdemeanor.
  3. Possession of drug abuse instrument – a syringe, in violation of R.C. 2925.12(A) and a misdemeanor.
  4. Possession of marijuana in violation of 2925.11(C)(3) and a misdemeanor.

All four charges were dismissed. The first, and most serious, was dismissed upon completion of a drug treatment program. The aggravated possession of drugs charge was prosecuted by the Franklin County Municipal Court and the three misdemeanor drug offenses were prosecuted in Municipal Court.

The same defendant was also charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVI) and speeding on July 23, 2012. The defendant entered a plea of guilty and received a fine, jail time, and license suspension.

Per the Ohio Revised Code 2953.52, the defendant petitioned for a record sealing for the four drug-related charges and received it. The state appealed on the grounds that, since the OVI charge was connected to the drug charges, and since the defendant was convicted of the OVI charge, she is not eligible for record sealing (R.C. 2953.61). The appellate court agreed, and reversed the defendant's record sealing.