Ohio’s new expungement law became effective as of April 12, 2021. The legislation expands the Ohio Record Sealing Law so that not only are more people and more convictions eligible for expungement, but also offers a faster record sealing process for several types of offenses.
Under Section 2953.31 (A)(1)(a), anyone who is convicted of a fourth-degree felony, fifth-degree felony, or misdemeanor offense qualifies for an unlimited number of expungements, so long as all convictions on their criminal record are fourth-degree felonies, fifth-degree felonies, and misdemeanor offenses and none are violent crimes, felony sex crimes, DUI/OVI offenses, first-degree felonies, second-degree felonies, or third-degree felonies. If a person has been convicted in another state, the conviction from the other state must be an equivalent to a fourth-degree or fifth-degree felony in Ohio.
If a person does not qualify for unlimited fourth-degree felony, fifth-degree felony, or misdemeanor convictions, they may be eligible for up to four (4) convictions under Section 2953.31(A)(1)(b).
According to (A)(1)(b), a person can get their criminal record expunged for any of the following combinations of convictions:
- A maximum two (2) felony convictions.
- A maximum four (4) misdemeanor convictions
Additionally, if a person has only been convicted of two felonies, he/she cannot have any more convictions than those two (2) felonies and up to two (2) misdemeanor convictions in Ohio or any other state.
If you are not eligible under this provision, but you have one (1) non-violent and non-sexual third-degree felony conviction and a misdemeanor, you can still be eligible for expungement under the previous law to seal the one (1) third-degree felony conviction.
However, two or more convictions stemming from the same act, the same legal proceeding, or offenses committed at the same time are considered as one (1) conviction. Therefore, if a person can combine convictions under this exception, they could surpass the four-conviction limit under the (A)(1)(b) provision.
The following are the new waiting periods for expungement in Ohio based on the type of offense:
- Misdemeanor convictions – One (1) year
- Fourth-degree and fifth-degree felony convictions – One (1) year
- Third-degree felony convictions – Three (3) years
- Conviction of 2921.43 (soliciting or receiving improper compensation) – Seven (7) years
Under the previous law, one (1) felony conviction carries a three-year waiting period, two (2) felony convictions carry a four-year waiting period, and three (3) to five (5) felony convictions carry a five-year waiting period. Yet, misdemeanor convictions still led to a one-year waiting period.
At The Meranda Law Firm LTD, we understand how a criminal record can have a negative impact in many aspects of life, from employment and professional licenses to housing and college/university admissions. Alas, these new changes to Ohio’s expungement law are incredible because more people are now eligible to put the past behind them for good.
If you are interested in expunging or sealing your criminal record in Columbus or within the surrounding area, contact The Meranda Law Firm LTD today at (614) 707-4239 for a free initial consultation to see if you qualify. Let a legal team with more than 15 years of experience help you immediately.