Expungement Lawyer in Columbus, Ohio
Sealing Your Criminal Record
According to the Ohio Ex-Offender Reentry Coalition, expungement involves sealing your criminal record so any record of prior criminal activity or conviction is court-file sealed. Legally speaking, your record will be the same as it was before you were convicted - as if you were never charged or found guilty of a crime.
At Koffel Brininger Nesbitt, our award-winning attorneys assist clients across Columbus and the state of Ohio in a range of matters concerning post-conviction relief – including expungements / record sealing, restoration of civil and firearm rights, and pardons. Contact us to learn how we can help.
How to File for an Expungement in Ohio
KBN knows legal procedures can be tedious and intimidating. If you've been convicted of a crime and want to have your record expunged, working with an experienced advocate can make all the difference.
We can help you through the entire process, which includes: determining if you are eligible to have your records sealed; completing the application and all necessary paperwork; filing the application with the court; and attending the hearing if one is granted by the judge.
Benefits of Sealing Your Criminal Record
Sealing a criminal conviction effectively prevents people from accessing records of your conviction, with very few exceptions. If you qualify for expungement, and have successfully completed your sentence, including probation and paying all financial sanctions, you may be eligible to have your records sealed and expunged.
This has many benefits, including:
- Employment: Competition for employment can be fierce, and criminal records have the potential to create a number of limitations when it comes to finding work. In addition to application screenings and employers who prioritize candidates without a criminal history, some convictions can prevent individuals from working certain jobs or holding certain licenses. If you successfully expunge a conviction, you are not required by law to disclose the expunged conviction when applying for most employment.
- Citizenship: If you are not yet a United States citizen but plan to start the naturalization process, a criminal record can create challenges. For limited purposes, law enforcement and federal agencies can access your criminal records even after expungement, but it is still advantageous when applying for citizenship.
- Licensing: Driver's licenses and other professional licenses may be difficult to obtain for those with a criminal history. For example, the Ohio BMV may require you to list criminal convictions when applying for or renewing your driver's license. However, if you qualify for and obtain expungement, you may indicate you were convicted but the particular offense was expunged.
- Housing: If you are looking to buy a house, rent an apartment, or qualify for government housing, you may have to indicate whether you have criminal convictions on your record. In some strict communities or private communities, you may be denied housing for having one or more convictions. Expungement can release you from the obligation to disclose these convictions when applying for housing.
Expungement Eligibility in Ohio
After a conviction, certain crimes cannot be expunged. For instance, traffic offenses are not eligible to be expunged under Ohio law. However, the requirements for being an eligible offender were recently expanded by the Ohio legislature in October of 2018. Some of the changes include:
- You can now expunge multiple convictions;
- You can now have up to five felonies expunged if they are felonies of the 4th or 5th degree;
- You can expunge unlimited misdemeanors.
Have questions about record sealing in Ohio? Call (614) 675-4845 or contact KBN online to determine if you’re eligible for expungement, and discuss how we can help.