Expungement is the process by which records of convictions are sealed and no longer available in public records. The conviction is no longer a part of the defendant’s criminal record. According to records, it’s as if the charge and following conviction never occurred. Expungement can be very beneficial for those eligible. By working with a knowledgeable and determined Cleveland criminal defense attorney like Craig Weintraub, you can get the help you need to get convictions expunged.
Expungement can have many benefits. When a record is sealed, it cannot be seen by potential or current employers and landlords, which means the offender can have more opportunities and an easier time navigating things like finding a new job or housing. It can also remove obstacles to obtaining a professional license or citizenship, and in many other facets of life.
The first step in expunging a record is determining whether or not the individual or crime are eligible for expungement. These eligibility standards vary state by state. Then you must make an application to the court where you were convicted. Each court varies by their procedures for expunging records.Then the court will examine whether you have actually been rehabilitated and verify that there are currently no proceedings against you. In some cases, the prosecution may file objects and contest to seal the records. Then the court will set a date for the hearing.
It is most common for juvenile offenders to have their records expunged, although in some cases, adults are able to get records expunged as well.
It is important to note that while a record may be sealed, it is removed from public records but may still be available to law enforcement officials. The records are removed from the state court system and destroyed. However, this does not extend to records from press or media, Google, social media, and things like that.
In 2018, Ohio made changes to expand expungement eligibility to those convicted of felonies and misdemeanors. It is also possible to expunge multiple convictions. The first step is waiting for the necessary waiting period.
There is a waiting period before one is able to apply for expungement. If you have been convicted of two felonies, you can apply for expungement four years after the sentence and probationary periods are completed. If you have been convicted of three to five felonies, you can apply five years after the sentence and probationary periods are completed. There is no limit on misdemeanors that can be expunged, and can apply for expungement one year after the sentence and probationary periods are completed. In all of these cases, fines and restitution must also be paid before the waiting period can begin.
Usually a person is eligible for expungement if their convictions are all non-violent, non-sex-oriented, and do not involve a minor. Fourth or fifth degree felonies and misdemeanors are also usually eligible.
A person convicted of first, second, and third degree felonies, as well as some first degree misdemeanors, are not eligible for expungement of any offenses, even if the offenses they are trying to get expunged are lesser offenses.
An individual may also be eligible for expungement under different circumstances. For example, if you were charged with a crime, but never convicted, you can apply for expungement. Someone with many misdemeanor convictions can also be eligible for expungement and have unlimited misdemeanors expunged, with some exceptions. Misdemeanor convictions for domestic violence are not expungeable. You may also be eligible if you have a combination of felony and misdemeanor convictions.
Minor misdemeanors such as traffic offenses or OVI’s cannot be expunged.
If you are looking to improve your circumstances and interested in expunging misdemeanors or felonies, consider working with a strong defense like Cleveland criminal defense attorney Craig Weintraub. With over 30 years of experience in a variety of cases, you can understand your options and how the process of expungement can benefit you.