Mr. Eastman serves as the firm’s managing partner, and is licensed to practice law in California, Oregon, and Texas.
Sam has helped thousands of clients expunge, seal, and set-aside records across the country, and has a passion for criminal justice reform. Previously, Mr. Eastman represented a number of corporate clients, focusing on tax law, mergers and acquisitions, and a variety of corporate transactions.
Mr. Eastman earned his JD and LLM from the University of San Diego School of Law, and his undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon.
SEALING CONVICTION RECORDS IN OHIO
Don't Let Your Past Limit Your Future
When you’re arrested in Ohio, a criminal record is created with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. These records are then forwarded to the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division, making the information relating to your arrest publicly available in a background check, even without an official charge or conviction.
Fortunately, Ohio law permits the sealing of both misdemeanors and felonies, and the Ohio Legislature has recently passed laws making it easier to qualify for this post-conviction remedy. If the sealing of your record is granted, the court must order all official records pertaining to the case to be sealed and treated as if it never occurred. The records will be unavailable to the public, and they will only be accessible to limited state agencies and a handful of employers involving vulnerable groups of people.
Sealing a criminal record can open doors to new opportunities, particularly when trying to obtain a job. Being able to truthfully state that you have not been convicted of a crime is often the difference between getting hired and getting rejected. Additionally, sealing your record can help with getting housing, restoring your firearm rights, qualifying for government programs, college admissions, and all the things in life that require a background check.
Our law firm has helped thousands of clients seal or expunge their criminal records, and we hear success stories from them often. If a criminal record is currently holding you back, keep reading to see if we can help.
This Information Is For You
Since the majority of people reading this aren’t lawyers, we’ve tried to simplify the legal jargon on our website, so regular people may follow along and get the information needed to understand their rights. However, before we get started, we should be clear that some of this information can get complicated, and, in many cases, it’s best to seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
To help you understand your rights, our lawyers have developed a tool that can be helpful in figuring out your options. This tool can’t be perfectly accurate in every situation, but our lawyers have invested substantial time and resources working to make it as accurate as possible.
You can get started by using our Secure Eligibility Test, or you can give us a call at (844) 947-3732 to see if our legal staff is available for a free consultation. Be aware that our staff is often busy with current clients and a high volume of calls and appointments. If you’re serious about getting rid of your record, your best bet is to take our secure, confidential Eligibility Test and then schedule an appointment to discuss your results and options.
Can You Get Your Record Sealed?
After passing through the Ohio Legislature, Senate Bill 66 became effective October 29, 2018, making it far easier to qualify for sealing if you have multiple convictions.
General Requirements for Sealing Ohio Convictions
Sealing both felony and misdemeanor convictions became easier after the passage of Senate Bill 66, because, in most cases, it removed the limit on the number of misdemeanor convictions you can seal, and increased the number of felony convictions you can have on your record. The general requirements to seal a conviction under current Ohio law (ORC 2953.32 and 2953.36) are the following:
- You cannot have any pending criminal charges or criminal proceedings
- You cannot seal one of the prohibited offenses listed below
- Your criminal record must not contain too many convictions applying the rules outlined below and
- You must satisfy any required waiting periods for your offense discussed below.
1. Prohibited Offenses
There are a number of offenses that do not qualify for record sealing under current Ohio law, including:
- You may not seal your record if you have a 1st or 2nd Degree Felony conviction on your record
- You may not seal convictions for Driving Under the Influence
- You may not seal any of the Traffic Offenses listed below
- Your conviction cannot be for Domestic Violence (ORC 2919.25) if it’s a felony, or a misdemeanor in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree (a 4th degree misdemeanor can be sealed)
- Your conviction cannot be for an Offense of Violence as defined in ORC 2901.01(9), which have been listed below
- Your conviction cannot be for any Sex Crime involving a Minor listed below, if the victim was under 18 at the time of the offense, and the offense occurred after October 10,2017
- Your conviction cannot be for any of the Sexually Oriented Offenses listed below
- If you were convicted of a Felony or 1st Degree Misdemeanor, it may not involve a victim who was under 16 years old and
- Offenses where you’re subject to a mandatory prison terms cannot be sealed.
Offense of Violence
Ohio law does not currently permit the sealing of “Offenses of Violence,” as defined by ORC 2901.01(9), if the offense was for a Felony or First-Degree Misdemeanor. These offenses include:
- Domestic Violence (ORC 2919.25) – Misdemeanor 4th does not count
- Felonious Assault (ORC 2903.11), Aggravated Assault (ORC 2903.12), or Assault (ORC 2903.13) – Misdemeanor Assault does not count
- Aggravated Robbery (ORC 2911.01) or Robbery (ORC 2911.02)
- Aggravated Burglary (ORC 2911.11)
- Aggravated Murder (ORC 2903.01) or Murder (ORC 2903.02)
- Rape (2901.01) or Sexual Battery (ORC 2907.03) or Gross Sexual Imposition (ORC 2907.05)
- Voluntary Manslaughter (ORC 2903.03) or Involuntary Manslaughter (ORC 2903.04)
- Endangering Children (ORC 2901.22)
- Permitting Child Abuse (ORC 2903.15)
- Aggravated Menacing (ORC 2903.21) or Menacing by Stalking (2903.211) or Menacing (2903.22)
- Kidnapping (ORC 2903.01) or Abduction (ORC 2905.02) or Trafficking in Persons (ORC 2905.32)
- Extortion (2905.11)
- Aggravated Arson (ORC 2909.02) or Arson (ORC 2909.03)
- Terrorism (ORC 2909.24)
- Inciting Violence (ORC 2917.01)
- Aggravated Riot (ORC 2917.02) or Riot (ORC 2917.03)
- Inducing Panic (ORC 2917.31)
- Intimidation (ORC 2921.03 or ORC 2921.04)
- Escape (ORC 2921.34)
- Improper Discharge of Firearm into Habitation (ORC 2923.161)
Sexually Oriented Offenses
Additionally, Ohio law does not currently permit the sealing of any of the “Sexually Oriented Offenses” listed below:
- Rape (2901.01)
- Sexual Battery (ORC 2907.03)
- Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor (ORC297.04)
- Sexual Imposition (ORC 2907.06) or Gross Sexual Imposition (ORC 2907.05)
- Pandering Obscenity or Sexually Oriented Material Involving a Minor (ORC 2907.321 or 2907.322)
- Illegal Use of Minor in Nude Material or Performance (ORC 2907.12)
- Importuning (ORC 2907.07)
Sex Offenses Involving a Minor
Ohio law also does not permit the sealing of any of the “Sex Offenses Involving a Minor” listed below, when the victim was under 18 years old and the offense was committed prior to October 10, 2007:
- Voyeurism (ORC 2907.08)
- Public Indecency (ORC 2907.09)
- Compelling or Promoting Prostitution (ORC 2907.21 or 2907.22)
- Enticement or Solicitation to Patronize a Prostitute or Procurement of a Prostitute for Another (ORC 2907.23)
- Disseminating or Displaying Matter Harmful to Juveniles (ORC 2907.31 or 2907.311)
- Pandering Obscenity (ORC 2907.32)
- Deception to Obtain Matter Harmful to Juveniles (ORC 2907.33)
Ineligible Traffic Offenses
Finally, Ohio law does not currently permit the sealing of any of the Traffic Offenses listed below:
- Driving with a suspended license (ORC 4510)
- Driving without a license (ORC 4507)
- Moving/traffic violations (ORC 4511)
- Other Motor vehicle crimes (ORC 4549)
2. Maximum Number of Convictions on Your Record
One of the important reforms passed by Senate Bill 66 relates to those that have multiple convictions, as the bill increases the number of convictions allowed on a petitioner’s record. Ohio imposes requirements on the maximum number of convictions you may have on your record, which can be deceptively difficult to calculate.
What Counts as A Conviction?
As an initial matter, you need to understand what counts as a “conviction” when determining how many convictions are on your record, as Ohio law can be confusing in this aspect. Multiple convictions resulting from the same indictment, information, or complaint, from the same plea of guilty, or from the same official proceeding, which result from related criminal acts that were committed within a three-month period but do not result from the same act or from offenses committed at the same time, are typically counted as one conviction.
In addition, when counting how many convictions you have, the following rules apply:
- Federal convictions and convictions from other states must be counted and
- Convictions for minor traffic offenses do not count (note that a DUI is not a minor traffic offense).
How Many Convictions Can You Have?
Once you’ve figured out how many convictions are on your record, you need to count them by type, and apply the following rules. Due to the changes made by Senate Bill 66, you need to consider two sets of rules, but only if you have a 3rd Degree Felony conviction on your record.
Remember, if you have any 1st or 2nd Degree Felony convictions on your record, you will not be eligible to seal any of your convictions.
If you have a 3rd Degree Felony on your record, the rules are much more restrictive on how many convictions you can have on your record, which include:
- You may not have more than one felony conviction and
- You may not have more than one misdemeanor if you have a felony conviction.
If you do not have a 3rd Degree Felony on your record, the rules allow you to have far more convictions on your record and still qualify:
- You may have up to 5 felony convictions and
- There is no limit to the number of misdemeanor convictions you may have.
3. How Long Do You Need To Wait?
The waiting periods were also changed with the recent passage of Senate Bill 66, and, once again, it depends on whether or not you have a 3rd Degree Felony conviction on your record.
If you have a 3rd Degree Felony on your record, you must wait three (3) years from the date you completed the terms of your most recent sentence.
If you do not have a 3rd Degree Felony on your record, it depends on how many offenses you have on your record.
- If you only have misdemeanors, on your record, you must wait one (1) year from the date you completed the terms of your most recent sentence.
- If you only have one felony conviction on your record, you must wait three (3) years from the date you completed the terms of your most recent sentence.
- If you have two felony convictions on your record, you must wait four (4) years from the date you completed the terms of your most recent sentence.
- If you have three, four, or five felony convictions, on your record, you must wait five (5) years from the date you completed the terms of your most recent sentence.
Remember, when determining how long you need to wait to seal your record, you must use the date of discharge from your most recent sentence, not from the charge you’re trying to seal.
Legal Effect Of Sealing Your Ohio Record
How Will Sealing My Record Help Me Get a Job?
Sealing an Ohio conviction is typically the best way to improve your chances of obtaining a job with a criminal record. If the sealing of your record is granted, the court must order all official records pertaining to the case to be sealed and treated as if it never occurred. Except in very limited circumstances, sealing allows you to legally state that you have not been arrested or convicted of the sealed record.
Most employers cannot access sealed records, however, there are certain exceptions for state employment and licensed facilities working with schools, home health agencies and financial agencies. The list of employers who may access sealed records is limited, and can be found in ORC 2953.32(d).
Will Sealing My Record Restore My Second Amendment Rights?
In many cases, yes. Unless there is another reason your firearm rights have been taken away, sealing a conviction that restricted firearm rights will restore them under ORC 2953.33.
We will go into more detail regarding restoring Second Amendment rights in Ohio on our Ohio Firearm Rights Restoration page, but restoration typically involves both state and federal law that should be handled by an experienced lawyer. The lawyers in our firm regularly handle complex firearm rights restoration issues, so a good first step in exploring whether you can restore your firearm rights would be to take our Secure Eligibility Test. Then, if appropriate, set up a time to speak with our legal staff about how to proceed.
What You Need to Do to Get Rid of Your Record
If you are tired of having a criminal record hold you back, reach out to us by taking our Secure Eligibility Test or by giving us a call at (844) 947-3732. Our law firm has helped thousands of people with criminal records move on in life, leaving many of the negative effects of a criminal record behind. Our experienced attorneys and legal staff are here to help you figure out what criminal record clearing services best fit your needs, and then help you accomplish your goals. Using our secure, confidential Eligibility Test is the best way to get the process started.
Some of the Potential Benefits of Sealing Your Record in Ohio Include:
- Removing a finding of guilt and closing the case on your criminal record to help you get a better job
- Restoring your Second Amendment Rights to own a firearm
- Becoming eligible for professional licenses you previously did not qualify for
- Increased eligibility for student loans, housing assistance, and government programs
- Improving your ability to obtain higher-paying job opportunities
- Improving access and admission to college and other educational resources
We Are Here to Help
Each of Ohio's methods for dealing with your criminal record have different requirements and are meant for different circumstances. To move forward, it’s important to determine what Ohio criminal record services are available to you, and then select the services that will provide the greatest benefit. Eastman Meyler, PC is here to help you navigate this very specific area of Ohio criminal law, fight to protect your rights, and assist you in moving forward in life without the effects of a Ohio criminal record.
You can trust that you will get exceptional service from our law firm, as we have an A Rating from the Better Business Bureau, and prestigious attorney rating services such as Thompson Reuters and Avvo list our attorneys as Super Lawyers and Superb Attorneys. Our law firm has attorneys licensed to practice law in all Ohio state courts, provides low price guarantees, and is here to fight for you and put your criminal record behind you!