Attorney Matthew C. Bangerter North Eastern Ohio

What Is The Process For Having A Criminal Charge Or Conviction Sealed?


The first thing I do is sit and talk to the person and find out what they have going on in their life, how they are doing, and what positive steps they have taken since the conviction. What is the process for having a criminal charge or conviction sealed? I take all that information and put it into an application to seal the record, which I will then file with the court. The court typically orders its own a background check. The Probation Department and the prosecutor have a chance to respond if they object to the request.

Once that is done, the court typically holds a hearing, although they can sometimes grant or deny the request without a hearing. The judge may ask the person questions about their life since conviction and any positive steps they have taken. The judge might ask why this client’s record should be sealed. I tell my clients to treat the hearing like a job interview.

Will The Person’s Criminal History Affect Chances of Sealing a Record If the Conviction Was Unrelated?

The person will not be eligible if they have a currently active case, because that still counts against the waiting period. The law says the person must not have any court involvement for one year for misdemeanors or three years for felonies. That means any court involvement at all. That wait time starts over if the person picks up a new case.

On top of that, the person may no longer be eligible if the new case ends up in a conviction. The client may now have more than the number of convictions allowable. As a practical matter, the judge who is looking at the application to sealing the record will see that the person is still picking up cases. That will typically be a strike against the applicant.

Where Should Someone Go To File The Motion For Sealing A Record?

The application needs to be filed at the court where the conviction happened.

How Long Does it Take to Seal a Record?

This varies from court to court and how busy their docket is. If the court does not have a really busy schedule, then it could all be done in a month or two, but typically closer to two. In very busy courts and in bigger cities with higher volume, it could take several months.

What Information Or Paperwork Would Be Needed?

I will prepare most of the paperwork, including the application and the motion to seal the record. In some cases, it can be helpful for the person to gather letters of recommendation, resumes, certificates, or other documents that support positive aspects of the person’s life. As for the record itself, the court will look that up. There is no need to gather any of those records.

Will The Person Have To Go To Court? How Often Can An Attorney Stand In For Their Client?

The person will only have one court appearance. It could occasionally be more than one, and sometimes the court will grant or deny without a court hearing, but one time is the norm. I have had a number of cases where the applicant now lives out of state, and the court allowed us to make that application and granted it without the person having to travel back for court. In most cases, though, the person will need to make a court appearance.

Do Multiple Offences Get Sealed With One Filing Or Does Each Crime Need Its Own Filing?

Convictions from different courts need to be filed separately in each court. Each court will charge its own filing fee. If there are multiple cases in the same court, then we can lump them together in one application, but we will still separate each case number the court will require a separate filing fee for each case.

Does Ohio Honor The Certificate Of Eligibility?

Ohio has something called the Certificate of Qualification for Employment. A lot of jobs require state issued licenses or have some legal restrictions on who is allowed to have that job. If a conviction makes a person ineligible for a particular job, then getting the Certificate of Qualification for Employment may make the person eligible for that job despite the conviction.

Can Most People Afford To Go Through The Process Of Getting Their Record Sealed?

It is affordable. The attorney will charge their fee, and there will also be a filing fee – depending on the court, typically be between $50 and $150. That cost needs to be weighed against the cost of lost job opportunities, lost education, and missed promotions. Compared to those things the cost of sealing a record is minimal. In the long term it is certainly worth the cost.

Visit our office for more information on Court Process for Sealing a Record, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (440) 409-7898 today.

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