When it comes to facing criminal charges, it’s easy for anybody to fear the outcome and what’s to expect in the future. After all, the thought of long prison sentences and a permanent criminal record is enough to make anyone uneasy.
Fortunately, laws in Ohio allow individuals to have a bit of peace of mind, even after they’ve been convicted of a crime. Ohio allows individuals to seek early judicial release and expungement—both actions that can help with their futures.
Understanding Judicial Release
In Ohio, inmates may be eligible to request a judicial release, which is essentially an early release from a prison sentence. There are various requirements that must be met in order to be granted judicial release, but if a sufficient argument is presented, the judge may approve the request of certain individuals.
Filing a Motion for Judicial Release
Because of various circumstances and prison lengths, judicial release is not a common occurrence, especially when individuals attempt to request the action without legal counsel. In order to seek judicial release, a motion must be filed with the court and a hearing requested with the judge that sentenced the offender.
Applications are often met with heavy scrutiny, so it’s important to know what to expect. First, for fourth and fifth degree felonies, you may file for judicial release between 30 and 90 days after the prison sentence begins.
For first to third degree felonies, the convicted individual must wait at least 180 days before they can request judicial release. And individuals with prison sentences of 5 years or more must serve four of those years before they are considered eligible.
Those who are sentenced to more than 10 years are not eligible for judicial release.
Judicial Release for Multiple Sentences
There are two things that must be remembered regarding judicial release. First, all mandatory minimum sentences must be served prior to the individual being eligible to file, so even if you are approved for judicial release, you must serve the minimum sentences and then release would be granted.
Secondly, judicial release is granted on a case-by-case and sentence-by-sentence basis. If an individual was convicted of multiple crimes and each carried a sentence, the individual must request a judicial release for each individual sentence. One request for judicial release will not apply to multiple sentences.
Seeking Expungement Upon Release
For many individuals, expungement—or the sealing of criminal records—goes hand-in-hand with judicial release. This is the act of essentially hiding your criminal record from certain searches, such as when trying to get housing, gain employment, or pursue further education.
Filing for an expungement alone is often quite difficult and you should speak with a legal professional before attempting the process. This is because any mistakes in the filing can result in a denial and your record will remain public to all organizations.
You should keep in mind that even if an expungement is granted, some agencies can still access your criminal record. This includes various law enforcement agencies, professional licensing boards, or jobs where the individual would be working with children or elderly individuals.
In the event the expungement is approved, but the individual commits another crime, the criminal record can still be accessed to use against the individual during sentencing for the newest charge.
Why Hire an Expungement Attorney In Columbus, OH?
When you are attempting to complete a serious action such as expungement or judicial release, it’s important to hire someone to protect your rights. Knowing what needs to be filed, the timelines regarding these important filings, and providing a strong argument on your behalf is best left to someone who has handled these matters before.
For more than 15 years, our team at The Meranda Law Firm LTD has worked hard to defend the rights of our clients when they need it most. We have helped numerous individuals through the processes of judicial release and expungement, and we know what judges and courts are looking for to help achieve a successful resolution.
If you feel you are eligible for either judicial release or expungement, we encourage you to reach out to our team and learn how we may be able to help you. Your future is important to us and we want to be the ones to help you move forward in a positive manner.
Call our firm today to discuss your options.