Process for Expunging or Sealing Criminal Adult Records in Ohio
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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021
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To apply for an Ohio expungement, you will first need to obtain a copy of the finalized conviction order for the conviction you want expunged. You may already have a copy of this, but if you don’t, ask the Clerk of the Court where you were convicted for a certified copy of the “Judgment Order of Conviction.” Be sure to request a copy of the certified order, not just a regular order, and if there is a fee (usually no more than a few dollars), pay it up front.
Next, with your stamped and certified Ohio Judgment Order of Conviction in hand, you’ll need to fill out two more forms: (1) the Application for Sealing of a Criminal Record Pursuant to ORC Section 2953.32, and (2) the Judgment Entry for Sealing. Click here for sample forms and other information on Ohio expungement. Fill out these forms, attach your Judgment Order of Conviction to the application, make at least three copies of the entire packet, and bring those three copies to the Clerk of the Court for the county where you were convicted. Also remember to bring the filing fee to pay the Clerk at the time you submit your application. Without this filing fee, or without what is known as a “poverty affidavit,” your application will not be processed. If you have any questions about fees, call the Clerk of the Court beforehand. Once your expungement application is officially submitted, the clerk will notify you of your hearing date.
The day of your hearing, you MUST be present to offer evidence as to why your expungement application should be approved by the court. This can include explaining to the judge that the proper time has passed since the conviction was placed on your record and that the charges are appropriate for sealing. The prosecutor may object to your application, and you will have a chance for rebuttal. The judge will make a decision weighing your interests against those of the government (as expressed by the prosecutor). This decision may be reached in court while you are there, or it may be made later, in which case the court will mail its decision to the address on file. If the court determines that your interest in having the records sealed outweigh the government’s legitimate needs to maintain those records in public view, and the court certifies that you are a fully rehabilitated first offender, then your Ohio expungement and sealing request will be granted.
For more information on Ohio expungements, see the following articles: