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Can a Domestic Violence Record Be Expunged in Ohio?

Having a domestic violence charge or conviction  on your record can be a major inconvenience even many years after the incident has passed. In addition to the jail or prison time that can be levied, domestic violence convictions can also carry long term blocks on your gun rights, as well as social consequences, such as difficulty getting some jobs or gaining admission to certain schools. For these reasons, clients sometimes ask us if a domestic violence conviction be expunged.

Expungement/Sealing of a Criminal Record in Ohio

Expungement or Sealing of an Ohio criminal record is the process by which a crime may be permanently sealed (legally hidden) from your record.  Expunged records will not show up in many future background checks or be accessible to the public. In some cases, government or court officials may have access to it, but generally, it will be as if the crime never happened.

Recent changes to the expungement law in Ohio have made it easier for many people to put a past criminal record behind them.  For more information on the current law in Ohio, please read our article: New Expungement Law in Ohio:  What You Should Know.

Some crimes are easier to have expunged than others. Crimes of Domestic Violence do pose a particular challenge when it comes to sealing your record. Currently in Ohio, first and second degree felonies can not be expunged at all, although that may change soon.   There is also a waiting period before expungement can take place, during which time it is imperative that you do not incur additional convictions.

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Expunging Domestic Violence Records

The short answer to the question “can a Domestic Violence conviction be expunged?” is yes–domestic violence records can be expunged.   If you record includes a charge of Domestic Violence that was later dismissed, then there is a good chance you can have this record sealed.

There are some domestic vilence conivctions that can be sealed.

However, violent crimes of first degree misdemeanors or felonies are not currently expungeable under Ohio law.  Domestic Violence is generally charged as a first degree misdemeanor.  However, as part of a plea arrangement, you may have a conviction of Domestic Violence that is second, third, or fourth degree misdemeanor. These lower level misdemeanor domestic violence convictions may be expungeable. You will likely run into a road block trying to seal first degree misdemeanor or a felony domestic violence conviction .

Violent crimes may be difficult to expunge, and doing so requires a high level of knowledge about the process.  There are many exceptions in the law for what can and cannot be expunged.  If you are interested in having your record expunged, or if you have applied for expungement and been denied, give us a call.  The attorneys at Dearie, Fischer & Martinson have decades of experience in local courts, and will work with you so that convictions that can possibly be expunged are permanently sealed from your record.

Call us to determine if applying for expungement is right for you. For our Lebanon office call our office. For our Beavercreek office, email us.