For the past several years Expungement has been one of the most sought-after topics on our website. Not only can sealing or expunging a criminal record be beneficial to many individuals, but the laws governing expungement in Ohio have been shifting and changing, which adds to Ohio citizens’ curiosity surrounding the topic. Today (April 6, 2023) a piece of legislation goes into effect that makes changes to many aspects of Ohio law, including expungement and sealing of criminal records.
Perhaps the most significant change to note is the new legislation’s use of the term “expunge” as well as “seal” when it comes to adult criminal records. In the past a true expungement of adult criminal records was virtually unheard of. The term expungement was used interchangeably with “sealing of criminal record” because they have very similar impacts on a person’s record, but they are not identical. Sealing a criminal record means that the public no longer has access to the criminal record, nor does anyone except a few select agencies who could view the document in a need-to know situation. But the need to know could arise, and in that case the record could be viewed.
Expungement on the other hand means that the record is deleted or destroyed. True expungement in Ohio has historically been something that happens almost exclusively in juvenile court. Adult criminal records were hardly ever expunged. However, with the new law going into effect, the Ohio Revised Code lists the waiting period for sealing certain types of criminal records and separately details the waiting period for expunging certain offenses.
How One Must I Wait to Have my Criminal Record Sealed/Expunged?
While there may be some exceptions, we have summarized the waiting periods for eligible offenders set forth by the new ORC 2923.32. We have links below that show the time tables in PDF format.
We know it can be hard to keep track of all the changes that have been made to Ohio expungement laws in the recent years, especially when each change can be a little confusing. Even in this most recent bill, there were some changes that are not detailed in this article. On top of the changing and complex rules themselves, there are still exceptions to the rules, and it can be hard to mention every single one in these summaries. If you have questions about sealing or expunging your criminal record, feel free to contact the expert attorneys at Dearie, Fischer & Martinson.