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Sealing and Expungement in Ohio and How Even Dismissed Charges Can Haunt You

Did you know that Ohio law allows people convicted of certain offenses to be expunged or sealed?

Unlike some other states, Ohio allows people convicted of certain felonies and misdemeanors to expunge their criminal conviction. The statute is laid out here.

The statute also allows people who were charged -- but not convicted -- the ability to seal those arrests and charges. While you may think that the charges automatically go away when the charges are dismissed, in many cases, they do not.

Records of those charges can remain online for years -- or until they are sealed -- and can be found by family members, nosy neighbors and even potential employers. It can also be viewed by loan officers and others looking to do business with you.

While employers use of criminal charges and criminal convictions may be limited under federal law, the fact is that employers do consider all sorts of information when making employment decisions.

While there may be some access to sealed records in certain cases -- such as military, national security or law enforcement jobs -- the records would be unavailable for most situations.

Additionally, as previously discussed, sealed and/or expunged records are increasingly being used by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement as a basis for deporting individuals from the country.

In order to evaluate if your criminal history is eligible for sealing/expungement, an attorney would need to know the following:

(1) When you were charged or convicted, including the specific court (i.e. Common Pleas vs. Municipal);

(2) What were the charges -- both the initial charges and any charges that you pled guilty or were found guilty of;

(3) When were you terminated from probation or parole, or when were the fines/costs paid off in your case;

(4) Your complete criminal history, including traffic offenses;

(5) General background about the incident.

With this information, an attorney can evaluate if you are eligible to seal your entire criminal record -- or perhaps just portions of it.

As each individual case is different and as each court has its own procedures for handling sealings and expungements, it is important to discuss the facts/circumstances of your case with an experienced attorney.

If you would like to discuss the specific facts of your case, please contact VanHo Law at 330-653-8511.

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