Columbus Record Expungement Attorneys
Committed to Helping Clients Get a Fresh Start
If you have been convicted of a crime, you may be eligible to have your criminal record cleared and sealed from inspection with the help of our Columbus expungement lawyers. Ohio law allows individuals convicted of certain crimes to submit an expungement petition to the court. If granted, the person’s criminal record is erased and all references to it will be deleted, with a few exceptions. In today’s difficult job climate, the presence of a conviction on a person’s criminal record can mean the difference between employment and unemployment. A criminal conviction can also impact a person’s ability to rent an apartment, obtain credit, or even obtain a specialized license.
Steps Necessary to Have Criminal Record Sealed
1. Determine if applicant is a “first-time offender.” In order to be eligible to request an expungement, the applicant must be a “first offender,” which is defined as a person who has not been previously or subsequently convicted of another criminal offense and who does not have any criminal proceedings pending against him/her (excluding minor misdemeanor convictions). If the applicant has been convicted of two or more offenses that arise out of the same incident, all of the offenses will count as one conviction for the purposes of expungement.
2. Determine if the conviction is an offense eligible for expungement. Not all criminal offenses are subject to being sealed. If an applicant’s criminal offense includes any of the following offenses, the applicant is not eligible to have his/her record sealed:
- A felony of the 1st or 2nd degree
- A felony subject to a mandatory prison sentence
- The crime was an offense of violence that is a felony or misdemeanor of the 1st degree (excluding misdemeanor assault, inducing panic, rioting, and inciting to violence)
- The crime was a traffic offense or a bail forfeiture in a traffic case
The victim of the crime was a minor and the offense was a felony or a misdemeanor
of the 1st degree or one of the following offenses:
- Promoting Prostitution
- Compelling Prostitution
- Public Indecency
- Displaying Matter Harmful to Juveniles
- Disseminating Matter Harmful to Juveniles
- Pandering Obscenity
- Deception to Obtain Matter Harmful to Juveniles
The crime was one of the following offenses:
- Unlawful Sexual Conduct With a Minor
- Sexual Battery
- Gross Sexual Imposition
- Pandering Obscenity Involving a Minor
- Sexual Imposition
- Pandering Sexually Oriented Material Involving a Minor
- Illegal Use of Minor in Nudity-Oriented Material
3. Determine if a sufficient period of time has elapsed. In order to request an expungement of a criminal conviction, a certain amount of time must have elapsed since the completion of your sentence. This waiting period does not apply to acquittals. For felony offenses, at least three (3) years must have elapsed since the completion of your sentence (this includes the payment of all court costs and fines and the completion of any probationary term and any other sanctions imposed by the court, including community service). For misdemeanor offenses, at least one (1) year must have elapsed since the completion of your sentence. If you are seeking to expunge a “no bill” returned by a grand jury, a period of at least two (2) years must have elapsed.
Skill & Experience at Your Disposal
If you meet the above eligibility criteria, contact one of our experienced Columbus expungement lawyers now. With more than 70 years of combined experience, our attorneys have represented applicants in expungement actions and will represent you from the initial filing of an expungement petition to the final hearing. To initiate the expungement process, we will be required to file of an application for expungement on your behalf, provide the prosecuting attorney with an opportunity to object to your request, and provide the probation department with information necessary to allow it to provide a written report to the court.
Thereafter, we will be required to appear before the court at a hearing to argue in favor of the expungement. If the court finds that the applicant has been satisfactorily rehabilitated and that the interests of the applicant outweigh the interests of the state, the court will issue an order directing that all official records of the criminal offense be sealed and all index references deleted, or if the case involves a bond forfeiture, dismiss the charges in the case. The proceedings will then be considered “not to have occurred and the conviction or bail forfeiture…shall be sealed.” However, if the applicant is subsequently convicted of another offense, the record may be re-opened by the court to be considered in the imposition of a sentence for the newly convicted offense.
Contact a member of our team today by calling us at (614) 418-6460. We are eager to assist you!