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bankruptcy in ohio

What Debts Are Left after Bankruptcy in Ohio?

By | Bankruptcy, Ohio, Toledo | No Comments

Bankruptcy is an effective means of wiping out debt. But not all debts are eligible for “discharge” in the bankruptcy process. It is possible that you will remain several thousands of dollars in debt even going through bankruptcy. For this reason, it is important that you meet with a Toledo bankruptcy attorney to review your debts and determine which you can eliminate.

Secured Debts

Every secured debt has two parts—a debt you personally owe and a security agreement where you pledge collateral in the event you default. Technically, you can eliminate the personal debt in bankruptcy. However, you cannot get rid of the security agreement. Consequently, your creditor can still seize the collateral if you don’t pay—so it doesn’t make sense to say you can “eliminate” secured debts.

The most common secured debts are car loans and home mortgages. Many people hope to eliminate their mortgage in bankruptcy but keep their home, but that is not possible. Instead, you will need to reaffirm your loan, which means it survives bankruptcy. Otherwise, you can give up the collateral.

Child Support & Alimony Debts

If you fell behind on these domestic support obligations, you cannot eliminate them in bankruptcy. Any past-due payments are called “arrearages,” and you will still owe them even after the bankruptcy process. Congress identified these debts as “non-dischargeable” in 11 U.S.C. § 523(5).

Of course, you can still use bankruptcy to help with these debts. If you file Chapter 13, for example, you can spread out your arrearages over the course of your payment plan and avoid wage garnishment. But you can’t eliminate them.

Most Taxes

The government wants taxpayers to pay up, so the bankruptcy code makes most taxes non-dischargeable. You can’t get rid of them.

An exception exists for certain income taxes only. They must meet a long list of conditions, such as:

  • The taxes are more than 3 years old
  • You timely filed your returns or filed for the relevant tax year at least 2 years ago
  • You did not commit tax fraud or evasion
  • The IRS assessed the debt more than 240 days before you filed for bankruptcy

Payroll taxes and tax penalties are not eligible for discharge. Debtors must also realize they cannot eliminate a tax lien that is already in place. Instead, they will need to pay off the lien to get it removed.

Some Court Judgments

A court judgment against you is a debt you must repay. You can eliminate some court judgments in bankruptcy—but not all. For example, the code states that any penalty or judgment based on drunk driving is non-dischargeable.

With other court judgments, it depends on the actions your creditor takes. He or she would have to file an adversary proceeding with the court to object to the discharge. This might happen if your judgment is for an injury caused by fraud or malicious acts.

Student Loans

For now, student loans are difficult to eliminate in bankruptcy. Basically, you will need to show that paying them back is an “undue hardship” by showing the following:

  • You can’t maintain a minimal standard of living and pay your debts at the same time
  • This financial situation will exist for most of the repayment period
  • You have made a good faith effort to pay back the loans

For example, you might be disabled and unable to find full-time employment. If your loans eat up most of your disability check, then they are a hardship.

Let Us Review Your Debt

At Groth & Associates, we perform a full review of all debt to determine whether bankruptcy is right for you. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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Where to File for Divorce in Toledo

By | Divorce, Ohio, Toledo | No Comments

No matter how eager you are to divorce, you cannot officially split from your spouse until a judge approves and issues a divorce decree. And to obtain a decree, you need to file paperwork in the correct court.

If you live in Toledo, you will file for divorce in Lucas County. You will need to go to the Domestic Relations Division of the county court, which has a physical address at 429 N. Michigan Street, Toledo, Ohio 43604.

However, before you rush off to the office to file for divorce, you need to check whether you are even eligible for divorce in Ohio at all. Our state does not allow for “quickie divorces,” so you must satisfy certain residential requirements first.

Are You Filing for Divorce or Dissolution of Marriage?

People refer to both as “divorce,” but they are legally distinct in Ohio.

Couples can seek a dissolution of marriage when they both agree to divorce. Neither party alleges fault, and the couple agrees on all critical issues.

A couple divorces when they allege fault and/or they disagree about a critical issue such as child custody, child support, spousal support, or the division of marital property and debts. The divorce becomes contested, and the judge must decide one or more of these issues.

Has Either Spouse Lived in Ohio for at Least Six Months Before Filing for Dissolution?

This is the first requirement, found in Ohio Revised Code §3105.62. Either you or your spouse must have lived in Ohio for the six months right before you file for dissolution of your marriage. If you just laid down roots, you’ll need to wait before filing.

Critical: If you are filing for divorce (and not dissolution), see below.

Have You Lived in Ohio for at Least Six Months Before You File for Divorce?

If you are filing for divorce, you must have personally lived in the state for six months before you file your complaint in court. This requirement is found in ORC §3105.03. Unlike with dissolution, it’s not enough that your spouse meets the requirement. If you are filing the paperwork, you must meet this requirement yourself.

Has Either Spouse Lived in Lucas County for at Least 90 Days?

This is another requirement you must meet. Under Ohio Revised Code §3105.03, at least one spouse must have lived in the county where you file for at least 90 days. Again, you will have to wait if neither spouse meets this requirement.

Of course, only one spouse must have lived in the county. You could have moved to a different part of Ohio. So long as your spouse is still living in Lucas County, you can file for divorce here.

Our Toledo Divorce Attorneys Will Untangle the Legal Issues

Deciding when and where to file can be a headache for many people. Let us help. Fortunately, all men and women filing for divorce can hire an attorney to represent them. We will draft all legal pleadings, file them for you, and serve copies on your spouse.

Contact Groth & Associates today to speak with an attorney. Our consultations are confidential.

How Do I Know I Have Been Charged with a Crime?

By | Criminal Defense, Ohio, Toledo | No Comments

As experienced criminal defense attorneys, we know that time matters. The sooner you can begin building a defense, the stronger your chances of success. But how will you know you have been charged with a crime?

In Ohio, most criminal charges are by complaint or indictment. You will know what charges you face at your arraignment, which is typically held after being arrested or receiving a summons that commands that you show up in court. For help with your case, contact a criminal defense attorney at Groth & Associates today.

Arrest

Getting handcuffed is one way you will know you have been charged with a crime. Of course, the police can arrest someone before any criminal charges are filed. But as they put the handcuffs on, they should tell you whether you have been charged with a crime.

There is no sense in resisting arrest—or even asking too many questions. You will learn more about the criminal charges against you at your arraignment. Remember, anything you say could be introduced later in court.

Summons

Not every criminal defendant is arrested. You might receive a summons, which tells you to show up to court. According to the Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 4(B)(2), the summons should state the time and place where the defendant should appear. The summons will also tell the defendant they will be arrested if they do not show up at the appointed time voluntarily.

Prosecutors have the option of choosing a summons over an arrest warrant when they believe that a summons is adequate to get a defendant to show up in court. This often happens. Also, under Rule 4(A)(2), an officer with a warrant for arrest can, in misdemeanor cases, issue a summons instead of making an arrest.

A summons usually has a copy of the criminal complaint attached. This complaint should include the factual basis for the criminal charge, so you gain a better sense of what the prosecutor is accusing you of. Review the summons and the complaint carefully with an attorney.

Arraignment

An arraignment is typically a defendant’s first appearance before a judge. It is not a trial, and no witnesses will testify. A defendant is not convicted at the arraignment. Instead, the judge will read out the charges and the defendant enters a plea. A defendant can request a public defender at that time or have their own attorney present. A judge also informs a defendant of other important rights, such as the right to bail and the right to remain silent.

Under Ohio law, your arraignment must happen within days of your arrest—within 48 hours is standard. If the prosecutor needs more time, then they need to point to extraordinary circumstances that support holding you for longer.

If you do not have an attorney, we strongly encourage you to enter a “Not Guilty” plea and request a lawyer immediately. In some cases, the prosecutor will need to convince a judge that they have probable cause for charging you.

Speak with Groth & Associates Today

Our criminal defense attorneys can swing into action and represent you if you have been arrested or received a summons. Contact us to schedule your confidential consultation.

How to Drive Safely in Snowy or Icy Conditions in Ohio

By | Car Accident, Ohio, Toledo | No Comments

As a driver in Ohio, you need to be ready for anything. While winter days can be sunny and bright, snow and ice are also in the forecast this season, too. Whether you’ll be traveling for the holidays, commuting to work, or just running errands, knowing how to safely navigate roads can go a long way in keeping you safe and well. Here are some tips for driving safely in snowy or icy conditions in Ohio. 

Always Take it Slow

The number one tip for driving in snowy and icy conditions is just to slow down. The faster your vehicle is traveling, the greater the risk that it loses traction with the road and you’ll lose control. By slowing down, you reduce your risk of an accident. While you may not arrive at your destination as quickly, knowing that you’ve avoided serious injuries and property damage costs is well worth it.

Prep Your Vehicle Before Heading Out

Another tip for driving in winter weather is to prep your vehicle before heading out. Be sure to top off your fluids, and make sure you have a full tank of gas (in the event that you do slide off the road, having the ability to run your engine to stay warm while you wait for help is important). Of course, make sure that your vehicle has an ice scraper in it, and, depending on your car type and where you’re going, consider upgrading to snow/all-weather tires or at least putting chains on your car. As an extra precaution, pack a first aid kit, some non-perishable food items, water, and a blanket, too.

Don’t Stop; Be Consistent in Acceleration and Braking

Some mistakes that drivers make when trying to navigate snowy and icy roads are stopping too frequently, slamming on the brakes if they start to slip, and being unsure about how much to accelerate, especially when traveling up hills. Here are some tips:

  • Be consistent in the amount of force you apply to your brakes and your gas pedal. Accelerate and decelerate slowly
  • When roads are really bad, try not to stop if you can help it. When you are approaching a light, try to slow down well in advance and wait out the light so that you can keep rolling through, rather than having to stop and start again.
  • Don’t power up hills, but don’t fail to apply enough power, either. If you try to accelerate too quickly, your wheels will spin. The best way to approach a hill is to travel a little bit more quickly as you approach the hill, and then allow inertia to carry you up over the top as you consistently apply power to the gas. 

Increase Your Following Distance

Anytime that road conditions are iffy–whether that means snow and ice or just a lot of traffic–you should increase your following distance. Giving yourself extra space between the vehicle in front of you means that you have time to react if the other car spins out, gets stuck, stops suddenly, etc. 

Call Our Ohio Car Accident Lawyers Today

If you’re in a car accident this winter, our Ohio car accident lawyers at the office of Groth & Associates can help you to file your claim and recover a settlement. Call us today for a free consultation.

bankruptcy in ohio

Common Myths About Bankruptcy

By | Bankruptcy, Ohio, Toledo | No Comments

If you are considering personal bankruptcy, you have probably started the process of researching Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy online, and you might have spoken with friends or family members about the process. While some preliminary research into the consumer bankruptcy process can be helpful for debtors who are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, it is important to remember that there is also a lot of misinformation available. Indeed, according to articles in NerdWallet and U.S. News & World Report, consumers encounter many different bankruptcy myths. We want to dispel some of those myths for you and help you to understand more clearly what you should expect when it comes to the consumer bankruptcy process in Ohio.

Common Myth #1: Your Credit Will Never Recover

Many people hear drastic warnings about the effects of personal bankruptcy, and they commonly hear that their credit will never recover and that they will never again be eligible to finance a motor vehicle or to obtain a credit card. To be clear, this is a myth. While your credit will not immediately bounce back after you receive a bankruptcy discharge, you can begin taking steps quickly to rebuild your credit and to remain on track with your finances. Often, applying for a retail credit card or a secured card is a good option because it is a bit easier to obtain these credit cards than others. Once you have a credit card again, you can begin rebuilding your credit by making charges and paying them off each month. After several months pass of timely payments, you can often be approved for a traditional credit card.

Common Myth #2: You Will Never Be Able to Get a Mortgage

Similar to the myth we just discussed your credit being ruined forever, it is a mistake to think that bankruptcy means you will not be able to apply for and be approved for a mortgage. Indeed, this is another common bankruptcy myth. While you will need to rebuild your credit after bankruptcy in order to be eligible for a mortgage again, there are certainly mortgage options available to those who have filed for consumer bankruptcy. In fact, many people file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in order to stop a foreclosure and to get caught up with mortgage payments.

Common Myth #3: Student Loans Will Not Be Discharged in Bankruptcy

Many people hear that they cannot discharge student loans in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. We want to be clear in saying that this is a myth. Although it is more difficult to discharge student loans in bankruptcy than certain other types of debt like credit card or medical debt, you should know that student loans are indeed dischargeable in many bankruptcy cases.

Contact an Ohio Bankruptcy Attorney for Assistance

Are you considering personal bankruptcy in Ohio? We can dispel many common myths about consumer bankruptcy for you today, and we can answer any questions you have about the bankruptcy process. When you are ready to file, one of our experienced Toledo bankruptcy attorneys can represent you every step of the way. Contact Groth & Associates for more information about how we can assist you.

Filing for Bankruptcy in Ohio During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By | Bankruptcy, Ohio, Toledo | No Comments

Filing for consumer bankruptcy under any circumstances is a complicated task. To be sure, the U.S. Bankruptcy Code is extremely complicated, and both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases require significant documentation and specific filing requirements. Accordingly, even in the best circumstances, it is critical to have an experienced Ohio consumer bankruptcy lawyer on your side. Yet during the COVID-19 pandemic, bankruptcy cases have involved more complications than usual. Given that so many Americans have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus emergency and have not been able to return to work, increased bankruptcy filings are likely.

If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy during the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to make sure you understand some of the ways in which public health restrictions could affect your bankruptcy case.

You Can Still Seek Assistance from a Bankruptcy Lawyer

You might be concerned that you will not be able to work with a bankruptcy attorney since many lawyers and law firms are working from home to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It is extremely important to know that lawyers are still taking new bankruptcy cases and representing consumers in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases. While it may be necessary to meet virtually and to handle the details of a bankruptcy case within a physical in-person meeting, all of the important and necessary aspects of a lawyer-client relationship have remained the same. Our Toledo bankruptcy lawyers remain here to assist debtors with consumer bankruptcy cases.

Credit Counseling and Debtor Education Courses Will Remain Online

When you file for consumer bankruptcy, you are required to attend pre-bankruptcy credit counseling and a post-bankruptcy debtor education course. Even prior to the pandemic, debtors who were seeking bankruptcy protection could complete these requirements online. Given that the pandemic has resulted in many in-person requirements shifting to a virtual model, you likely will not be surprised to learn that credit counseling and debtor education courses will remain online. To be clear, when it comes to completing these requirements, the COVID-19 pandemic has not changed anything.

341 Meeting of Creditors Will Be Conducted Virtually

In a typical bankruptcy case, the 341 Meeting of Creditors is always conducted in person and is a requirement for the bankruptcy case to move forward and for the debtor to receive a discharge. While the pandemic has indeed resulted in the 341 Meeting of Creditors moving to an online or virtual environment, you should know that this requirement will still be able to take place and your bankruptcy case can continue to move forward.

In short, although the pandemic has shifted some elements of a bankruptcy case, the COVID-19 emergency is not stopping debtors from filing for bankruptcy or receiving discharges.

Contact a Toledo Bankruptcy Attorney

For the most part, bankruptcy filings will not change in form due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, you should anticipate that you may need to have your case heard virtually, and you may need to attend required meetings or hearings virtually instead of going into a courtroom and standing before a judge. Yet when it comes to having an experienced Toledo bankruptcy attorney on your side, our firm will be here for you every step of the way—whether we do so virtually or in person. Contact Groth & Associates today for more information about how we can assist you.

lower back injury in Toledo

What to Do After Suffering a Lower Back Injury

By | Ohio, Personal Injury, Toledo | No Comments

Lower back injuries are fairly common, but they can leave a person sidelined and unable to sit or stand. Many of our clients cannot return to work for months following a lower back injury, and their medical expenses are considerable.

Below, our personal injury attorney highlights the steps to take if you are suffering from lower back pain. When an accident has caused your injury, please contact Groth & Associates for a free consultation.

Immediately Rest

Many lower back injuries are caused by accidents, such as car wrecks or slip and fall accidents. Others might be caused by the job, in which case you should immediately stop working. Tell your boss that you are injured. Continued exertion only increases the risk that you will aggravate the back injury further.

Visit the Doctor

There are many different causes of lower back pain, and we do not encourage people to self-diagnose their injury. Instead, go to the doctor or hospital promptly and discuss your symptoms. Your doctor will also ask you questions to help understand how the injury happened.

Some of the more common causes of lower back pain include:

  • Sprain or strain
  • Herniated disc
  • Vertebral fracture
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Infection
  • Narrowing of the spinal column (spinal stenosis)

The doctor might order an X-ray or MRI to take a look at what is going on in your lower back. A proper diagnosis is vital since you cannot receive adequate treatment without knowing the underlying condition.

Treat a Sprain or Strain with Ice

If you wrenched your back lifting something, you can treat it with ice packs at home to reduce swelling and pain. You might also use over-the-counter medications, like ibuprofen, to control inflammation and provide relief.

After a few days, your doctor might recommend introducing gentle stretching to regain flexibility in the area. If the pain does not subside after a week, you might have suffered a very serious injury and could require surgery.

Receive Conservative Treatment for a Lower Back Injury

Not every back injury requires surgery. Some respond to rehabilitation and other conservative treatment, such as steroid injections to reduce inflammation.

Physical therapy can help a person with a serious lower back injury reduce stress on the muscles and vertebrae. You might learn new ways of doing everyday tasks, such as lifting objects, so you do not aggravate your back condition. Often, a patient must learn to strengthen certain “core” muscles to compensate for any limitation in their back.

Undergo Surgery

Some lower back injuries are so serious that surgery is unavoidable. For example, a herniated disc might be so severe that a surgeon must remove the damaged tissue so it no longer puts pressure on nearby nerves. In some cases, vertebrae might need to be fused together to limit their range of movement.

Surgery has many complications, such as the risk of infection and long recovery times. Discuss your concerns with your doctor.

Our Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help

Whether you were injured on the job or in an accident, you might qualify for compensation. At Groth & Associates, we can discuss your case in a complimentary consultation if you call.

charged with a crime in Toledo

What Does it Mean to Be Charged with a Crime?

By | Criminal Defense, Ohio, Toledo | No Comments

When a person is charged with a crime in Ohio, they are no longer merely a suspect. A suspect is someone the government “thinks” might have committed a crime and could be the subject of an investigation. Crimes often have a long list of suspects, which the police try to winnow down using detective work.

But when the government “charges” someone with a crime, they are formally accusing them of being a criminal. Criminal charges are very serious, and the accused must obtain competent legal help, otherwise, they could very easily find themselves in jail. Many criminal cases are won or lost in the days following an arrest, so contact Groth & Associates today.

Being Arrested and Held

Although the government can arrest a suspect, they cannot hold them indefinitely. Instead, they typically need to present evidence to a judge in a preliminary hearing. The prosecutor can question witnesses and present physical evidence. The defendant can als0 cross-examine witnesses and present their own if they wish. The judge must find that there is enough evidence to justify holding the defendant.

After the hearing, the judge has many options:

  •         Hold the defendant to appear in court pending a grand jury indictment on the originally filed charges
  •         Find probable cause on a different charge supported by the evidence and hold the defendant to appear in court
  •         Find a probable cause to support a misdemeanor charge
  •         Order that the defendant be discharged from custody

Formal Indictment

Article 1 of the Ohio Constitution states that a person cannot stand trial for a felony unless they are indicted by a grand jury. This jury is composed of members of the community who receive evidence from the prosecutor. They deliberate and then decide whether to issue the indictment

Lower-level crimes might be charged by information or complaint and do not require an indictment. If you are charged with a misdemeanor offense, for example, the prosecutor does not necessarily need a grand jury to indict you.

Charging documents have many technical requirements, and some complaints or indictments are defective. A seasoned criminal defense attorney should always review a charging document to check whether the case can be dismissed due to a defect.

Defending Yourself

As soon as you are charged with a crime, you must begin building a defense. There is no confusion about the fact that the state believes you are guilty, and they will dedicate considerable resources to getting a conviction. Now is not the time to try and “talk your way” out of a charge, so there is no incentive to answer the police officer’s questions.

When the charges are serious, you might be held in jail awaiting trial or offered bail. It can be hard for a defendant to build a defense when their movement is restricted. This is just another reason to reach out to a criminal defense attorney.

At Groth & Associates, we have represented men and women charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses. You can contact us to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our lawyers.

injured at work in Toledo

In Ohio, What Constitutes a Work-Related Injury?

By | Ohio, Personal Injury, Toledo | No Comments

Workers’ compensation benefits provide critical support for those suffering from work-related injuries. Many of our clients can receive reasonable medical expenses, along with partial wage replacement benefits. But what qualifies as a “work-related injury” for purposes of the workers’ compensation law? Our Ohio workers’ compensation attorney provides an overview of the law.

Injuries at Work

This is perhaps the clearest example of a work-related injury. If you were injured while working at your place of employment, you should qualify for benefits.

Injuries might result from a sudden accident, such as a fall or an explosion. If the shelves in your office collapse and the contents fall on you, then you have suffered a work-related injury.

By contrast, other injuries take time to develop, such as repetitive stress injuries or occupational illnesses. For example, someone who develops cancer from inhaling toxic chemicals over the course of years has suffered an occupational illness and should qualify for benefits. The same is true of someone who developed carpal tunnel syndrome slowly over the years of punching numbers into a computer.

Injuries away from Work

Under ORC §4123(C), an injury qualifies for benefits if the worker suffers it “in the course of” and “arising out of” their employment. Under this standard, injuries sustained away from work might qualify. For example, many people travel for their jobs or attend business functions as a representative of their company. If you are working when you were injured, then your injuries are possibly work-related.

This is a fact-specific analysis. For example, we want to see whether you are reimbursed for travel expenses and whether your employer required you to travel. These facts help show that the time away from the office was work-related.

Traveling to and From Work

You typically cannot claim workers’ compensation benefits if you were injured driving to work or driving home when you have a fixed location for work. This is called the “coming and going” rule and it applies to those with “fixed-situs” jobs.

There are many factors to analyze with this type of claim. For example, do your work duties start only when you reach work? If so, then being injured while traveling to work does not qualify. Are you “on the clock” only when you reach a fixed location? If so, then the coming and going rule probably applies.

Pre-Existing Conditions

You might have been injured in an accident years ago, resulting in impairment. This pre-existing condition does not qualify as work-related. However, if your pre-existing condition was “substantially aggravated” on the job, then your injury is probably work-related.

For example, you might have herniated a disc while snowboarding three years ago. At work, you lift a heavy box and suddenly feel a pain in the same location, which makes it impossible for you to sit up or stand. Under these facts, your back injury is probably work-related.

Psychological Injuries

Generally, psychiatric conditions are excluded by the statute’s definition of an “injury.” However, there are exceptions, such as when the psychiatric condition develops out of an injury or occupational illness. Another exception covers psychiatric conditions that arise from forced sexual conduct, such as sexual assault at work.

Non-Covered Injuries

Some injuries are not covered by workers’ compensation. For example, any natural deterioration of an organ or body tissue does not qualify. Someone who naturally loses their eyesight has not been injured on the job.

An injury suffered when participating in fitness or recreational activity sponsored by an employer also does not qualify when the employee signs of a waiver.

Contact Us Today

Whether an injury qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits is not always easy. Groth & Associates can review your case and help you decide the right step to take. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation.

expungement in Toledo

How to File for Expungement in Ohio

By | Criminal Defense, Ohio, Toledo | No Comments

A criminal conviction can pop up at the most inconvenient time, such as when applying to the job of your dreams or when seeking an apartment. Many people are shocked that they need to disclose criminal records that are years, possibly decades, old.

Fortunately, many people can expunge their criminal histories in Ohio. This article explains how, but we encourage you to reach out to an Ohio expungement attorney for a consultation.

Check if You Can Expunge Your Conviction

Not all crimes are eligible. For example, you cannot expunge a conviction for sexual imposition, rape, sexual battery, public indecency, and other sex crimes. Felonies in the first-, second-, and third-degree cannot be expunged, either. Speak with an attorney if you have questions.

Satisfy the Waiting Period

Ohio law sets a waiting period before a person can apply for expungement. The amount of time will depend on whether you were convicted and the specific crime.

The clock does not begin to run until you have received a termination of the case or a final discharge. For example, you will need to complete all probation, pay all fines, and satisfy any restitution order.

Here are some sample waiting periods:

  • Unclassified misdemeanor: 1 year
  • Misdemeanor: 1 year from termination of the case
  • A single felony conviction: 3 years

A person can also expunge non-convictions, such as dismissals or acquittals, and there is no waiting period.

Obtain a Copy of Your Conviction

Visit the Clerk of Court where you were sentenced. Ask for a certified copy of “Judgment Order of Conviction.” You will have to pay a small fee. You cannot request expungement with a certified judgment.

Draft an Application

You need to draft an application asking the judge to expunge your record. Your attorney knows how to do this, but if you are representing yourself you should look for printed forms to complete. In Ohio, public libraries have fill-in-the-blank forms you can use. There are two forms you need:

  • Application for Sealing of a Criminal Record Pursuant to ORC §2953.32
  • Judgment Entry for Sealing

The “Application” will request information such as the charges and case numbers for the convictions you hope to expunge. You will also need the date of convictions and the date of termination.

The “Judgment Entry” is something the judge will sign at the hearing. However, you must provide the requested information in the appropriate lines.

Assemble the Packet

Attach the “Judgment Order of Conviction” to the “Application for Sealing of a Criminal Record.” You need 3 copies of this combined document. This is what you will file with the Clerk of Court.

Key: You are not filing the Judgment Entry for Sealing. Instead, you take that to the court hearing with you for the judge.

File at the Clerk of Court

Visit the Clerk of Court to file. The clerk should stamp all your copies and give one back to you. This is for your records.

You must pay a fee to file. Call ahead and ask the clerk for the amount and acceptable methods of payment. The amount of the fee can change over time. If you can’t afford the fee, you should complete a “Poverty Affidavit” at the clerk’s office.

Schedule a Hearing

The clerk should schedule a hearing date before the judge. Remember, you need the judge to sign off on your request only after he or she is convinced that you will not commit another crime. One advantage of working with an attorney is that we can discuss what facts to highlight that show you have been rehabilitated.

Need Assistance? Speak with an Ohio Expungement Attorney

Expungement is not a slam dunk, and many people are denied. Contact a lawyer at Groth & Associates today to discuss your case. Our consultations are free.

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