People make mistakes. If your mistake resulted in a criminal conviction, it could haunt you for the rest of your life. A criminal record can keep you from professional advancement and impact your ability to rent or lease property.
If you want to leave your past mistakes in the past, consider expungement. Keep reading to learn more about the process from an experienced Northeast Ohio criminal defense lawyer at The Bangerter Law Office.
How Do the Expungement Laws Work in Ohio?
Have you ever heard the phrase “sealing a record?” Expungement is a commonly-used term for the same thing. In the state of Ohio, these legal proceedings provide a way for you to apply for the court to seal your record, clearing any mention of your criminal charges. After a successful expungement, it will appear that you were never convicted.
The rules vary by court, but you may not even have to appear for an expungement hearing. A criminal law attorney will file a motion with the court and the prosecutor, then take the necessary steps to show that you are worthy of expungement.
Expungement clears the path to your future and allows you to put your mistakes in the past. The procedure may open doors to professional opportunities, like a new job or licensing. It can also help with approvals for new housing or citizenship.
If you are considering pursuing expungement, a criminal lawyer can discuss the matter with you in more detail.
Can a Record Be Expunged in Ohio?
Ohio provides for expungement of a variety of charges and criminal convictions. The state also allows for expungement and sealing your record for a dismissed charge, not guilty verdict, or acquittal.
These laws can be complex, and we understand you may be hesitant to revisit the matter, preferring to leave the past in the past. However, the expungement proceeding will prevent any law enforcement or government authorities from ever discussing issues surrounding your arrest, trial, or sentencing. Expungement can give you a clean slate.
How Long Does It Take to Expunge a Record in Ohio?
If you’re already searching for a “criminal attorney near me” to find a lawyer to handle your expungement, you probably want the process to move quickly. You want to land a new job or house so you can move on to the next part of your life.
The good news is, in manyt Ohio courts, expungement could take as little as six weeks. This timeline includes retaining your lawyer, paperwork preparation and filing, and going to the hearing, where the judge will decide on the motion.
If the judge grants your expungement, the court will remove the conviction from your record. Next, it will be sealed from the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI). Though the BCI portion takes a little longer, those records can only be accessed for law enforcement purposes, not employment background checks.
How Much Does It Cost to Expunge My Record in Ohio?
Throughout the state of Ohio, the cost to expunge your record ranges from $50 to $250. As a low-income client, you may apply to pay the filing fee at a later date with a poverty affidavit. If your expungement relates to a dismissed charge, you do not need to pay a court filing fee.
The pricey part of expungement comes from the lawyer’s fee. These costs vary from attorney to attorney. If you call or email a few criminal defense attorneys, you can get a better idea of what their time will cost you.
What Crimes Cannot Be Expunged in Ohio?
The state of Ohio does not allow expungement proceedings for all crimes. For example, aggravated murder, murder, and rape charges cannot be removed from a public criminal record. If you committed a first- or second-degree felony, they are off-limits. You could not ask the court to expunge your record if you were sentenced to mandatory prison time.
The list of crimes that cannot be expunged also includes many crimes against minors:
- Sexual imposition
- Public indecency
- Promoting or compelling prostitution
- Displaying or disseminating harmful materials
Finally, while you may request expungement for certain motor vehicle crimes like suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, if you forfeit bail in a traffic case, that cannot be expunged. An experienced defense attorney can answer any questions on whether your conviction may be eligible for expungement.
Can a Felon Get Their Gun Rights Back in Ohio?
When you have a felony conviction in the state of Ohio, you may lose your right to own a gun for sport or personal protection.
If you served your time, have been a law-abiding citizen since then, and are not prevented from owning a firearm for another reason, you can petition the court to restore your gun rights. You can also get your gun rights back following a successful expungement proceeding.
Contact an Experienced Northeast Ohio Expungement Attorney
Attorney Matthew C. Bangerter has the experience to handle your expungement proceedings. As a defense attorney and former prosecutor, he knows the law from both sides of the courtroom.
At The Bangerter Law Office in Willoughby, we leave no stone unturned for our clients in the Cleveland metro area and Northeast Ohio. We fight to get the best results in criminal and DUI/OVI matters. We accommodate cases on speeding tickets, murder, sex crimes, and sex offenders.
Criminal defense attorney Matthew C. Bangerter is committed to defending good people accused of bad things. Call The Bangerter Law Office today at 440-409-7898 to discuss expungement or other criminal defense needs.
Copyright© 2021. The Bangerter Law Office. All rights reserved.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
The Bangerter Law Office
4124 Erie St
Willoughby, OH 44094