Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Record Sealing/Expungement

While sealing a criminal record is often referred to as expungement, there are key differences. Expunging a record results in the deletion of any record that an arrest or criminal charge ever occurred. However, in Ohio, adult convictions cannot be expunged or completely erased from your record. In fact, the word expungement is no longer used in Ohio law for the process we’re discussing here. Instead, it is called sealing a criminal record (Ohio Revised Code 2953.31 – 2953.62). When a record is sealed, the electronic and paper records of your criminal charges are filed in a separate, secured location. The record still exists but it cannot be seen by most people. (Source: Ohio Justice & Policy Center. Criminal Records Manual)


Record Sealing is available to an offender convicted in Ohio or any other state who has not more than five (5) felony convictions, in this state or any other jurisdiction, and none of those offenses are a offense of violence or a felony sex offense.

Waiting Period:
In order to apply for a sealing of a record, one must wait for the defined amount according to the offense:

  • Misdemeanor – One (1) year after the completion of the sentence.
  • Felony – Three (3) years after the completion of the sentence.
  • Ignored Case – Two (2) years after Grand Jury report ignoring case.
  • Dismissal or Acquittal – No waiting period.

Filing Fee:

Where to file:

Misdemeanor Hamilton County
Justice Center
Room 112
1000 Sycamore Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
8AM – 3PM
Monday – Friday
(513) 946-6021
Felony Hamilton County
Court House
Room 315
1000 Main Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
8AM – 4PM
Monday – Friday
(513) 946-5697

Common Pleas Sealing of Record Forms

Municipal Court Sealing of Record Forms

For answers to specific questions, it is best to consult with an attorney. The Ohio Justice and Policy Center and the Hamilton County Public Defender offer free legal advice and legal clinics for individuals seeking record sealing support. Learn more about their free legal clinics here.