Expungements in Columbus, Ohio
Sealing Your Criminal Record
According to the Ohio Ex-Offender Reentry Coalition, expungement involves sealing your criminal record so that any record of your previous criminal activity or convictions is court file sealed. Legally speaking, your record will be the same as it was before you were convicted - as if you were never found guilty of a crime.
How to File for an Expungement in Ohio
At the Koffel Law Firm, we understand that legal procedures can be tedious and intimidating. If you've been convicted of a crime and want to have your record expunged, talk to an attorney from our firm today.We can help you file the necessary paper work. In order for a judge to seal your record, you must complete the following steps:
- Get a copy of your Judgment Order of Your Conviction(s)
- Fill out all of the expungement forms and make sure that they are completely filled out
- Make copies of your completed paperwork
- Get your "Poverty Affidavit" notarized (without it, you will pay a $50 fee)
- Give your forms to the Clerk's office and make sure that the Clerk returns one of your copies
- Go to your court hearing
After a conviction, certain crimes may not be able to be sealed. For instance, if you have been convicted of rape, sexual battery, corrupting a minor, gross sexual imposition, sexual imposition, obscenity involving a minor, pornography involving a minor illegal use of a minor in pornography or a motor vehicle violation, your record cannot be expunged. Additionally, your record cannot be sealed if you have been found guilty of the following crimes:
- Bail forfeiture in a traffic case
- Any first-degree misdemeanor committed against a minor
- A first degree felony
- A second degree felony
- A drivers' license violation
Change in Ohio Expungement Law
Previously, if you were convicted of two crimes based on the same action, your record may still qualify for expungement. Both convictions must be counted as your first offense. For example, taking a small item from a store may be considered shoplifting, but the same action may warrant a charge for resisting arrest as well. Also prior to the recent expungement amendments, if you had been convicted of more than one offense, your record may not have qualified for sealing.
The law regarding expungements changed as of September 2012. The law changed not only what convictions can be sealed but changed who might be able to qualify for these expungements. There are now more qualifying individuals than ever before. Many qualifying individuals will likely be seeking the help of attorneys throughout the state to clear their criminal records. This legislation is also known as the Ohio SB 337 Legislation (Senate Bill 337). The Koffel Law Firm wants Columbus residents and residents throughout the state to know that we can help clients file for expungements in all 88 Ohio counties.
Possibly the most important change to the expungement law in Ohio is that only first offenders could be eligible for sealing of their criminal records. Now, the verbiage of the expungement law has changed from "first offenders" only qualifying to all "eligible offenders" qualifying. Who is considered "eligible" may be interpreted differently from case to case, which is why it can be extremely helpful to have an advocate on your side, fighting for your expungement to be approved.
Additionally, if you have multiple charges for minor misdemeanors, you may be able to have your record expunged. Most traffic offenses are considered minor misdemeanors. A minor traffic offense probably won't count as a criminal record on your conviction. A minor charge like this shouldn't keep you from having your record sealed.
Even if you meet the qualifications for expungement, the judge may refuse to seal your record. If you justly qualify for an expungement, don't let anything get in your way! The Columbus expungement lawyers at our firm can fight to see that you get the record-sealing you deserve.