A criminal record can follow you for the rest of your life, but there are ways that you can have it expunged or sealed in order to protect your reputation and rights. If you’ve been charged with a crime in Ohio, you may be wondering what your options are. This blog post will outline how to seal or expunge your criminal record in Ohio and who can see sealed records. 

Sealing vs. Expungement

In Ohio, criminal records can be either “sealed” or “expunged.” The differences between the two are outlined below: 

  • Sealing a record means that the record is removed from public view, but is still accessible by certain government agencies (such as law enforcement). It also means that employers cannot access this information during background checks. 
  • Expunging a record means that it is completely destroyed. If your record has been expunged, it is not available to anyone, including law enforcement agencies.

Eligibility for Sealing or Expungement

In order to be eligible for sealing or expunging a criminal record in Ohio, certain criteria must be met:

  • You must have no active warrants; 
  • You must not have any pending charges; 
  • You must not have been found guilty of another crime since being charged with the original crime you are trying to seal or expunge; and  
  • The charge must meet certain requirements set out by state law.  

Application and Hearing to Seal or Expunge a Criminal Record

If an individual meets the above requirements, and has successfully completed all the paperwork for the criminal record sealing or expunging application, the next step is most likely to attend a hearing. During the hearing, an individual will respond to questions from a judge, who will ultimately decide whether criminal records should be sealed or expunged. It is vital to remain composed and respectful throughout the process.  Keep in mind that providing sincere answers can impact the outcome of the application. Understanding all relevant information can allow one to answer confidently and bolster their chances of obtaining criminal record relief.

Help Sealing Your Record

If you think you might qualify for sealing or expunging your criminal record in Ohio, it is important to seek legal advice right away. An experienced attorney can help review your case and provide guidance on the best course of action to take. A lawyer can also help ensure that all paperwork is filed correctly and on time so that the process goes smoothly and efficiently. 

Having a criminal charge on your record can be extremely damaging in many areas of life, from job applications to housing opportunities, but there are ways to seal or expunge it. To get started on this process, contact an experienced attorney at the Comunale Law Office to schedule a consultation.