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Ohio Expungement – Could Get Easier Under Proposed Law

If passed, proposed Ohio Senate Bill 160 would make expungements available for crimes that are currently not elligible for expungment.  The proposed bill could give more people an opportunity to put their criminal past behind them, and move forward with a fresh start.

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This article explores the proposals now under consideration in the Ohio Legislature.  For a more detailed understanding of the current Expungement law that went into effect in October of 2018, read our article, “New Expungement Law in Ohio:  What You Should Know,” (published on September 30, 2019).

What is expungement?

  • Expungement is the mechanism by which a conviction or convictions are removed from a previous offender’s public record.
  • Some minor offenses and juvenile records are relatively easy to get expunged, but others can be more difficult, depending on the severity. But a new Ohio law may soon make it both easier and harder to get expungement, depending on what conviction is up for expungement.

    Why consider expungement for your criminal record?

  • An expungement will seal your record, making it inaccessible to the public.
  • After expungement, it is as if your conviction had never occurred. This is may be a valuable tool for those whose convictions interfere with their ability to take get certain jobs, take out loans, or gain admission to some schools. It is common that juvenile and nonviolent misdemeanors get expungement with little difficulty. Many convictions, however, include a waiting period before you can apply for expungement; these can range from a few years to decades.

    What kinds of crimes are not expungeable?

  • Felonies and violent crimes are generally not expungeable
  • Certain kinds of crimes, including many violent ones, as well as first and second degree felonies, are at this time not expungeable at all.

    What would be different in the new expungement law if it passes?

  • The new bill would make most first-time offenses expungeable
  • Senate Bill 160, introduced by both a republican and a democrat in the state senate, would make all convictions theoretically possible for first time offenders, with the exceptions of “murder, voluntary manslaughter, child abuse, patient abuse, kidnapping, human trafficking,terrorism, domestic violence and any sexually-based offense.”

    Also gone would be a waiting period for cases in which a defendant was never indicted.

    Will felonies be expungeable with the new law, if it passes?

  • First and second degree felonies could be expungeable after significant waiting periods

    Senate Bill 160 proposes that first and second degree felonies be expungeable, but only after significant waiting periods.

    First and second degree felonies are currently not expungeable. The proposed law requires a 20-year wait after your conviction on a first degree felony to apply for expungement; you will have to wait 15 years for second degree felony. Lower level felonies would carry 10 year waiting periods. The waiting period for those convictions is currently only 3 years.


    At Dearie, Fischer & Mathews, LLC, we know how important expungement is to many people as they move on with their lives after a conviction. Contact us if you have a prior conviction and would like to look into the possibility of expungement. Our attorneys have decades of experience in Ohio courts, and will work with you to build your strongest case for expungement.

    In Lebanon, Warren County and Butler County, Ohio call our office.

    In Beavercreek, Montgomery County and Greene County, Ohio email us.

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