Ohio Legislature Updates Definition of Who is Eligible for Expungement or Sealing of Criminal Records.

On October 28, 2018, the Ohio Legislature’s updated definition of an “eligible offender” went into effect, changing eligibility considerations. In order to be eligible for expungement or record sealing, there are three areas of eligibility that must be met:

  1. Eligibility based on criminal history –how many prior convictions and whether the convictions were felonies or misdemeanors,
  2. Eligibility based on type of offense sought to be expunged;
  3. Eligibility based on waiting periods that run after completion of sentence, after a Grand Jury no bill, or after a dismissal or acquittal.

You are only an eligible offender if you qualify under all three eligibility components. The new definition affects the first component, criminal history. Previously, an eligible offender could have a maximum of two (2) misdemeanor convictions; or one felony conviction and one misdemeanor conviction. Now, an eligible offender can have unlimited misdemeanor convictions sealed and up to five felony convictions sealed if the felony convictions are of the fifth or fourth degree. This change has opened the door for many Ohioan’s who didn’t qualify records sealing before, but will now. Call (740) 363-3900 to schedule a consultation with an Attorney to learn if you fit the new definition!

But that’s not all! The second component of eligibility, the type of offense, was clarified to provide for offenders with ineligible offenses – including felony sex offenses, offenses of violence pursuant to R.C. 2901.01(A)(9), or convictions of the first, second, or third degree – the opportunity to revert to the definition of offender in effect prior to October 28, 2018, for determination of expungement eligibility.

As for the third component, the completion of an applicable waiting period, the time periods largely remained the same, except as highlighted in bold below:

OffenseWaiting Period
First FelonyThree (3) Years after completion of sentence
Second FeloniesFour (4) Years after completion of sentence
Third, Fourth, or Fifth FeloniesFive (5) Years after completion of sentence
No Bill or No Indictment CasesTwo (2) Years after no bill/declination
Dismissal or Acquittal at TrialNo waiting period

Stay tuned for our next post explaining which offenses are never eligible for expungement or records sealing.

If you want to find out what our attorneys can do for you, call 740-513-4830 today to schedule an expungement/seal records consultation with one of our Attorneys to learn what options are available to you.