Can I get my criminal record sealed?

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Many Ohioans struggle to find a job or housing after being convicted of a crime.   Ohio’s law makers saw the difficulties faced by people with criminal records and passed a law (SB 337) in 2012 that allows more people to have their criminal records sealed.

When you seal an adult criminal record in Ohio, the record is not erased. Instead, the criminal record is hidden from the public and most employers. Some employers, such as those that hire nurses, nursing assistants, or child care providers, will still be able to see the record after it is sealed. It will always be available to judges and police officers.

The following information describes generally who in Ohio is eligible to apply to have a criminal record sealed.   To find out if you are eligible to seal your criminal record based on your individual circumstances, click here for the self help sealing record page.  From this page, you can link to more detailed information about sealing a criminal record.  Note, this information does NOT apply to juvenile criminal records.  Click here for information about sealing juvenile records.

As of 2012 in Ohio, a person is eligible to apply to seal a criminal record if:

  1. You have no more than 2 unrelated criminal cases (2 misdemeanors, 1 misdemeanor and 1 felony, or 1 felony).  Note:   minor misdemeanors are sealable and do not count toward your total number of convictions.
  2. You have waited the required period of time before filing;
    • For misdemeanors, at least 1 year has passed from completion of your sentence;
    • For felonies, at least 3 years have passed from completion of your sentence;
    • “Completion of your sentence” means all terms of your sentence are satisfied, including time served, probation completed, and fines and restitution paid.
  3. You do not have current, pending criminal charges;
  4. The criminal record you want sealed is NOT for the following:
    • a first or second degree felony,
    • any ‘ offense of violence’, including domestic violence (except you can seal misdemeanor assault of an adult),
    •  a crime where a child was a victim (except nonsupport of dependents, i.e. failure to pay child support),
    • sex offenses,
    • driving under the influence (Note: traffic violations are not sealable, but they also do note generally are not counted as a criminal conviction unless it is one of the traffic or automobile offenses listed in the statute such as DUI and leaving the scen of an accident
    • any other specifically excluded offense that cannot be sealed under Ohio law.

The link above to the self help sealing record page, where you can enter your personal information, will help you determine whether or not your offense is or is not eligible to be sealed.

Sealing a criminal record in Ohio is a “privilege,” not a “right.”  This means a judge must review each person’s application to seal a record and decide first if the person is eligible, and then whether or not to grant the sealing.

You can read more about options for people with a criminal record at http://lasclev.org/category/faqs/work-faqs/

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