Friday, May 24, 2024
  • Record Sealing/Expungement

    As of April 4, 2023, new laws have made many changes to sealing and expungement processes in Ohio.

    Under the new laws, a person may be eligible to have their criminal conviction sealed or expunged so long as the conviction is not for an offense that is prohibited from sealing and the applicant has waited the proper length of time. A non-conviction (dismissal, no bill, etc.) can continue to be sealed under these new laws.

    What is the difference between sealing a record and expunging a record?

    Sealing a criminal case record means that it is unavailable for public access. This record is not destroyed or erased because there are many circumstances in which the court documents from that case can be accessed, such as for some types of background checks.

    When a criminal case is expunged, the records are permanently destroyed so that the record is “permanently irretrievable” – no case documents can ever be accessed.

    Is my case eligible for sealing or expungement?

    Your case may be eligible for sealing or expungement if (1) it is not a prohibited offense and (2) you have waited the proper length of time.

    Some types of felonies that are not eligible for sealing or expungement:

        • Some sexually oriented offenses with registration requirements
        • Convictions of an offense where victim is under 13 (except for non-support)
        • Convictions of domestic violence or violating a protection order
        • Any 1st or 2nd degree felony or more than two 3rd degree felonies
        • Any felony offense of violence

    Some types of municipal court cases are not eligible for sealing or expungement:

        • Convictions under R.C. 4506 (CDLs)
        • Convictions under R.C. 4507 (Driver’s License Laws)
        • Convictions under R.C. 4510 (License Suspension/Cancellation/Revocation)
        • Convictions under R.C. 4511 (Traffic Laws, such as OVI)
        • Convictions under R.C. 4549 (Motor Vehicle Crimes such as Fictitious Plates)
        • Some sexually oriented offenses with registration requirements
        • Convictions of an offense where victim is under 13 (except for non-support)
        • Convictions of domestic violence or violating a protection order

    What is the waiting period to seal felony offenses?

        • Three years after the final discharge if convicted of one or more 3rd degree felonies
        • One year after the final discharge if convicted of one or more 4th or 5th degree felonies
        • If the offender is subject to sex offense registration requirements, 5 years after registration requirement ends
        • Dismissals/not guilty – can be sealed after the finding is entered by the court
        • For bail forfeiture – any time after the date on which the forfeiture was entered

    What is the waiting period for expunging felony offenses?

        • Ten years after the time period specified at which the person can apply to have a case sealed
        • For bail forfeiture, three years after the date on which the forfeiture was entered

    What is the waiting period for a misdemeanor offense?

    Misdemeanors have the same waiting period for expunging or sealing a case:

        • One year after the final discharge if convicted of one or more misdemeanor offenses
        • Six months after final discharge of a minor misdemeanor conviction
        • Bail forfeiture – any time after the date on which the forfeiture was entered
        • Dismissals/not guilty – can be sealed after the finding is entered by the court

    How much does it cost to seal or expunge a case?

    There is no fee for non-convictions.

    There is a $50 non-refundable fee for convictions. Under the Revised Code, an applicant may request to have the records of more than one case in a single application. However, the application has to include only cases from that court.

    Example: If you apply to seal three misdemeanors and two felonies in Hamilton County, you would need to file an application in the Hamilton County Municipal Court for the three misdemeanors with a $50 non-refundable fee and file an application in the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court for the two felonies with the $50 non-refundable fee.

    If you feel you cannot afford the fee, you can ask the Court to find you indigent by filing an Affidavit of Indigency.

    Where can I find more information about my cases?

    You can search for your records online on the Clerk’s Office website for case information.

    You can also visit the Sheriff’s Office at the Justice center where you can get a list of all of your charge(s) and case(s) in Hamilton County (cost is $5.00).

    Where do I 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

    Sealing and Expungement Forms

    Where can I get more information about sealing and expungement?

    Here are some places to start: