Can I get this off my record?
In Ohio a person convicted of a crime could ask the court to seal it under Ohio Revised Code 2953. If a person is eligible they can file a motion with the court to seal their criminal convictions. The law is particular about who is eligible to do so. The good news is that most convictions in Ohio can be sealed. The general rule is violent crimes, sex crimes, and traffic violations cannot be sealed, but there are exceptions. As of April 12, 2021 the law was changed to allow eligibility to unlimited 4th and 5th degree felonies so long as they are not sex crimes or violent offenses.
When your record is sealed it doesn’t mean it goes away, it means that the general public, including most employers, can no longer see it. However, there are some exceptions to this rule too. The benefit of having your record sealed is that you can honestly answer “no” when asked if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime. Additionally, if there were any challenges you were facing, like being prohibited from owning a firearm, a sealed record would remove that prohibition. In other words, once your record is sealed you can live your life as if you were never convicted.
What if they dropped the charges, or I was found not guilty?
The simple answer is yes, you can still seal those records. It’s the same process as sealing a conviction, and in some respects, even easier.
How soon can I seal my record?
You must wait at least one year from completing whatever punishment you received. This means that if you were found guilty of an offense and given probation for six months, you must wait at least one year from when your probation ends.
How do I know if I’m eligible to have my record sealed?
The answer is simple: contact an attorney. There are many exceptions and nuances to consider, and the law is constantly changing. If you don't have any first or second degree felonies, or offenses of sex or violence you may be eligible. But even if you do you should talk to a knowledgeable attorney who understands record sealing law. There's always exceptions and methods to seal a record that would appear to be unsealable. Don't lose hope!
What if I’m not eligible to seal my record?
Don’t worry, there’s still hope. You have to ask yourself: “Why do I want my record sealed?” If you find that a conviction is preventing you from being hired you can apply for a Certified Qualification for Employment (“CQE”). A CQE can go a long way in obtaining that job or license.
Can I seal my eviction?
Sometimes yes, but sometimes no. There is currently no state-wide law to seal eviction records, like criminal evictions. But some cities do allow you to do this. Talk to an attorney about the possibility of sealing your eviction.