SKILLED IN EXPUNGEMENT CASES
Being arrested, charged, or/and convicted of a crime in Perrysburg can feel really unfair, especially when you consider that the impact of having an arrest–let alone a conviction–on your criminal record can affect you for years to come. Recognizing that lasting impact isn’t always fair or just, the expungement process exists. If you are thinking about expunging or sealing your criminal record, call our Perrysburg expungement lawyers at the law office of Groth & Associates for the assistance and support you can count on.
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WHAT IS EXPUNGEMENT?
It is very important to distinguish between two commonly interchanged terms: expungement and sealing. When a criminal record is sealed, this means that it is made unavailable to the public. As such, if an employer or landlord conducts a background check, the record will not show up. However, the record is not completely deleted and can be recalled if searched by certain law enforcement agencies, the courts, etc.
When a record is expunged, on the other hand, it is completely destroyed. Unfortunately, however, expungement of a record is usually not available for the majority of adult crimes, and is instead primarily reserved for juvenile cases. If your record is not eligible for expungement, sealing your record may be a good alternate option. Because expungement is so rare in Ohio, the term ‘expungement’ is often used to refer to the sealing of a record.
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WHY SEEK EXPUNGEMENT OF A CRIMINAL RECORD?
As stated before, having a crime on your record, even if you weren’t convicted and especially if you were, can impact your opportunities and experiences well into the future. If an employer conducts a background check and sees that you were arrested for a certain crime, they may not hire you based on your record. The same might be true of securing housing, volunteer opportunities, educational opportunities, and more. When you have your record expunged, you have the right to say “no” on an application that asks if you have been arrested in the past, which may potentially open doors for you.
Expungement of a criminal record is a technical process that requires an understanding of the requirements, but it’s not particularly complex, expensive, or time-consuming. The fact that you can complete the expungement–or record-sealing–process relatively quickly is another reason to pursue it.
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WHAT TYPES OF CRIMES CAN BE EXPUNGED?
In Ohio, adult convictions generally cannot be completely removed from one’s record; instead, expungements are primarily reserved for juvenile crimes. If you have a special case or are a juvenile, you can talk to a criminal defense attorney about what types of offenses can be expunged.
For most adults, “expungement” is used to refer to sealing a criminal record. Types of records that are eligible for sealing are defined in Ohio Revised Code Section 2953.31. Both (certain) convictions and non-conviction records can be sealed. That being said, certain convictions cannot be sealed, per state law. These include:
- First- and second-degree felonies;
- Violent offenses;
- Sexual offenses;
- Certain automobile offenses, including driving under the influence and hit-and-run accidents.
Note that in order to have a conviction sealed, you must also meet certain eligibility requirements. These include ensuring that you have completed any sentence associated with the crime (jail/prison), paid any required court costs and fees/fines, and completed any ordered parole or probation.
If you were arrested and no charges were filed, your case was “no-billed” by a Grand Jury, or your case was dismissed or you were found “not guilty,” the process of sealing your record is very simple. There is a two-year waiting period for “no-billed” cases.
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WHAT IS THE EXPUNGEMENT PROCESS?
The first thing that you should do if you are hoping to expunge/seal your record is to seek a copy of your criminal record, which you can do on request from your county’s public defender’s website or through the Perrysburg municipal court. Once you have a copy of your record, you will need to review your record to determine whether or not it is eligible to be sealed. (Again, note the full expungement of a record is very rare in adult cases and is likely not possible. Talk to an attorney if you have questions.)
You are not required to work with an attorney when sealing your records, but doing so can be helpful if you have any questions or want to make sure that you fill everything out correctly the first time.
Once you have your criminal record, request an Application for Sealing of Record from the Perrysburg municipal court. Be sure to request the correct application form depending on the type of record you want to seal. Fill out your application in full and return it to the court with your application fee. It may be possible to have the fee waived if you cannot afford it.
After your application has been received and reviewed, a hearing will be scheduled. If the judge in your case rules in favor of having the record sealed, a certified court order will be issued to all applicable agencies that may have your record on file, instructing them to seal the record. After the record is sealed, it will not be available to the public, but will remain available to law enforcement and certain other parties.
HOW CAN AN EXPUNGEMENT LAWYER IN PERRYSBURG HELP?
Again, there is no legal requirement to hire an attorney to assist you in the process of expunging your criminal record, but working with an attorney is advisable, especially if you have a complex record or case. At Groth & Associates, our Perrysburg expungement lawyer will assist you by requesting a copy of your record, reviewing your record and informing you of what parts of your record can be expunged or sealed, requesting the application from the court, filling out the application, representing you in a hearing, and more.
Having an arrest, charge, or conviction (or all three) on your criminal record may negatively impact your life. At Groth & Associates, our Perrysburg expungement lawyers understand why expunging or sealing a record is important to you. For the legal support you need, call our law firm directly today.