February 1, 2023 | News
Everyone makes mistakes, and it can be unfair for those mistakes to follow you around for the rest of your life. In Ohio, people who have been convicted of certain crimes may be able to get their records expunged once they’ve “paid” for those mistakes. This can be especially helpful if you are looking for employment or housing opportunities and don’t want your past mistakes to hinder your success.
However, beginning on 4/3/23, fourth-degree misdemeanor (M4) domestic violence charges will no longer be eligible for expungement in Ohio. This is due to the recently-passed Senate Bill (SB) 288. Promptly reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney if you believe you are eligible to have your charges expunged; otherwise, you will soon lose your chance to do so.
Note that there has been a change to this law since we initially published this blog post. On October 3, 2023, this law was amended to allow for sealings of M4 domestic violence charges. However, expungement is still not allowed, nor is it for M1 charges and above.
What Is Expungement?
Expungement is the legal process of clearing charge(s) from a criminal record. It involves requesting that the court remove the information about an arrest or conviction from its records. Once this happens, the arrest or conviction will no longer appear on background checks conducted by potential employers and other third parties.
Expungement and Domestic Violence Crimes in Ohio
In Ohio, domestic violence crimes are divided into two categories—causing or attempting to cause harm and threatening to cause harm. The first type of domestic violence crime—causing or attempting to cause harm—is not eligible for expungement under Ohio law.
However, those convicted of the second type—threatening to cause harm—may be able to have their records expunged if they are eligible.
It’s important to know that in Ohio, most adult records are sealed as opposed to being expunged. Most people use these terms interchangeably, as they have a very similar impact on the individual who was convicted.
Eligibility for Expungement in Ohio
In order to expunge your domestic violence conviction, you must first complete all terms of your sentence as set out by the court. These terms may include probation, fines, court-ordered assessments, domestic violence classes, or anything else that was included in your sentence.
Once these conditions are fulfilled, you may then proceed with filing a motion with the court requesting that your conviction be expunged from your record. The motion must be filed at least one year after all terms of the judge’s sentence have been completed.
If you were sentenced to probation, the clock begins when it has been completed; if not, then it starts from either the date of conviction or when any fines are paid off and/or court-ordered assessments/classes are finished.
If these terms are not completed in full, any attempts at filing for an expungement will likely be denied by the court. Additionally, you are not eligible for expungement if you have any open criminal cases.
Judges and Expunging Domestic Violence Charges
When it comes to domestic violence cases, many judges are reluctant to grant a motion for expungement due to fear of recidivism.
If you’ve been convicted of a domestic violence crime and want to pursue an expungement petition, your best bet is always to hire an experienced attorney who can help guide you through the process and provide legal advice as needed. Your lawyer will make sure all necessary documents are filed correctly and ensure you have the best chance of having your record cleared.
The Benefits of Expungement
If your application for expungement is approved, all records related to your conviction will be removed from public access.
This can make it easier for you to find employment and housing opportunities because your past missteps will no longer hinder those processes.
Additionally, having an expunged record may also help you obtain professional licenses or certifications that would otherwise be unavailable due to your prior conviction(s).
Finally, having an expunged record means that you (usually) won’t have to disclose it during job interviews or applications. This can make it easier for you to move forward with your future goals without worrying about being judged or discriminated against because of your past mistakes.
If you want to pursue an expungement of your record in Ohio, don’t wait. With our help, you may be able to put those past mistakes behind you and move forward with confidence. You have until 4/2/23 to have your M4 domestic violence charges expunged. Contact Suhre & Associates today to schedule a free consultation.
Contact the Cincinnati Criminal Defense Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Cincinnati
600 Vine Street, Suite 1004
Cincinnati, OH 45202