What is an Expungement?
If you’ve been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, you likely have a blemish on your criminal record. That blemish can cause problems with job applications and many other essential aspects of your life. However, if you currently have a felony or misdemeanor charge making it difficult for you to move forward in your life, all is not lost. Having your criminal records expunged may be an option for you.
In Ohio, having your criminal records expunged is the same thing as having them sealed. Under certain circumstances, you can have all references to your criminal conviction sealed, along with the court file, effectively rendering it as though you were never convicted of a crime.
Who is Eligible for an Expungement?
In Ohio, a variety of charges and convictions can be expunged. An experienced criminal lawyer will understand the expungement law and process and know how to help you move forward with a clean slate.
Under Section 2953 of the Ohio Revised Code, you can qualify for an expungement if:
- The conviction you are trying to expunge is not one of the crimes precluded by law.
- You were not subject to a mandatory prison term for the conviction. (If you were sentenced to prison time, but you were eligible for community control/probation, you would still qualify.)
- You have any of the following convictions or combination of convictions: one misdemeanor or one felony; two misdemeanor convictions; or one misdemeanor conviction and one felony conviction. (A series of 2 or 3 convictions out of the same case shall be considered one conviction under the expungement statute.) (Minor misdemeanors, including most traffic offenses, do not count as a conviction.)
- If all of your felonies are fourth or fifth-degree felonies and none of them are violent offenses or sex offenses, you can have up to five felony convictions sealed.
- The statutory waiting period has passed for the conviction you seek to expunge.
- You have no current or criminal charges pending against you.
If you think that you are eligible to have your criminal conviction or charges expunged, contact The Bangerter Law Group for help. Matthew C. Bangerter, ESQ., is an experienced criminal lawyer who can help you through the process and answer any questions that you may have.
Why Get an Expungement?
Having your criminal record expunged is a great way to move on from a past mistake. Everyone makes mistakes, but that does not mean that you should be haunted by them forever. If your records are expunged, you will have a clean slate and be able to pursue career and life opportunities that might not have been available to you otherwise. Life can be much easier when you do not have to disclose your criminal record.
Suppose the court determines that an expungement of your criminal record is appropriate. In that case, all the official documents about the case will be sealed, and all index references to the case will be deleted. Any conviction in your case will be sealed. You will officially have a clean slate and be set free from the burden of your criminal record. An experienced criminal lawyer can help make this freedom your reality.
Do the Records Just Disappear?
If you’ve successfully had your criminal record expunged, it will not show up when anyone checks your record. Ohio treats the offense as if it never happened. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Suppose you are applying for a job with a law enforcement agency, a medical care provider, or an employer who provides medical care for minors. In that case, your criminal record may be made available to the prospective employer. However, only under certain circumstances will they be allowed to know that you have a criminal record that has been expunged.
What if I was charged and the case was dismissed, or I was found not guilty?
If you were charged with a crime but the case was dismissed or resulted in an acquittal or a not guilty verdict, you can have the record of the charges expunged. After having the charges dropped or being acquitted, you may think that your life will return to normal. But the unfortunate truth is that criminal charges that don’t result in a conviction can still haunt you and be an impediment to your life. Even if the charges are dropped, you may still have a blemish on your record.
If past criminal charges are causing problems in your life, contact The Bangerter Law Group today for help. We can help you get your records expunged. The freedom of a clean slate is within your reach.
Can’t I just represent myself and save money?
It would be a bad idea to represent yourself to have your criminal record expunged. An expungement requires the drafting and filing of a formal legal document called a “motion.” An experienced criminal lawyer will be familiar with this process and have a far greater chance of success if allowed to file the motion on your behalf.
At the expungement hearing, the court will have to be convinced that you are deserving of expungement. In many cases, this requires not only legal knowledge and skill but persuasion as well. A criminal lawyer will understand how to present your case in the most persuasive way possible to give you the best chance at success.
Don’t attempt to go through this complicated process on your own; let an experienced criminal attorney handle your case. At The Bangerter Law Office, we can ensure that you are given the very best legal representation. Matthew C. Bangerter, Esq, is an experienced criminal lawyer who understands the expungement process and has successfully sealed records for many clients. Contact him here or call (440) 409-7898 to schedule a consultation.
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Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.