Domestic violence may be expunged or sealed from a criminal record in some limited situations in Ohio. However, recent changes in Ohio law impact the ability to expunge or seal a record when domestic violence is involved. Understanding your options as early as possible is vital to avoid the harshest penalties of a violent criminal record. Contact our law firm today to speak to a criminal attorney about your case. We offer free initial consultations. (513) 338-1890
Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Expunged or Sealed in Ohio?
You can get a domestic violence charge expunged under certain circumstances in Ohio. To get a domestic violence conviction expunged, it must be a second-degree misdemeanor or a lesser offense. Further, you must wait at least one year before seeking the expungement.
Some offenses involving violence cannot be expunged at all. First-degree misdemeanors and felony domestic violence convictions cannot be expunged in Ohio. However, if you are charged with a first-degree misdemeanor or felony, all hope is not lost. You may be able to achieve a lesser charge through a plea agreement. Your domestic violence defense attorney can help you negotiate the best outcome.
Eligibility for Expungement and Record Sealing in Ohio
Actual expungement of adult criminal records is rare in Ohio. It is much more common for juvenile criminal records. However, sealing is available for many convictions, including some domestic violence offenses.
You must be an eligible offender in order to get a record expunged or sealed in Ohio. This includes completing all terms of your sentence and then waiting an appropriate time. For example, you must wait at least one year to have an eligible misdemeanor expunged from your record.
Additionally, to have domestic violence charges sealed, you must be convicted of no more than two misdemeanors and no felonies or no more than one misdemeanor and one felony. You cannot have an open criminal case, owe restitution, or be on probation.
Expungement vs. Record Sealing in Ohio
While expungement and record sealing are often referred to as the same thing, they are different actions under Ohio law. Both sealing a criminal record and expungement deny public access to convictions. When a record is expunged, it is completely destroyed. However, when a record is sealed, it continues to exist but can only be accessed by the Court and certain people, such as government agencies.
Benefits of Expungement in Ohio
When you have a criminal record expunged or sealed, it becomes inaccessible to the public. With a clean record, you will have more options for jobs, housing, education, government assistance, and more. You may also be eligible to obtain professional licenses and certifications you could not otherwise achieve. Expungement can benefit your entire future and your reputation with family, friends, and the community.
New Ohio State Law Impacts Eligibility for Some Offenses
As of April 3, 2023, new state law began impacting the eligibility of domestic violence offenders to obtain an expungement. Anyone with a fourth-degree misdemeanor domestic violence charge will become ineligible for expungement under Senate Bill (SB) 288. SB 288 applies to Violation of Protection Order (VPO) convictions as well.
If you have been convicted of an M4 domestic violence charge or VPO, you should immediately reach out to one of the best criminal defnese attorneys you can find so they can guide you through the record-sealing process. If you don’t take action now, you may lose your ability to clear your criminal record entirely.
Contact a Domestic Violence Defense Attorney for Help
A violent offense on your criminal record can impact you in many ways. You may have to reveal this information on job searches, housing applications, and more. However, you may be eligible to have your record expunged or sealed. Contact the experienced domestic violence defense attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates to learn more. We are ready to help you.