The sealing of the record of a case is a legal process provided under Section 2953 of the Ohio Revised Code. This allows a person to have all references to a prior criminal conviction cleared and their court file sealed. This means that, in the eyes of the law, the case never happened.
To qualify to have your criminal conviction sealed, you need to meet all of the conditions described in Section 2953 of the Ohio Revised Code, including:
- You must be an eligible offender. (O.R.C. § 2953.31)
- The conviction you are trying to expunge is not one of the crimes precluded by law. (O.R.C. § 2953.36)
- One year has passed since your final discharge for the misdemeanor conviction you seek to seal (or (1) one year after Probation is completed.).
- You have no current criminal charges pending against you.
If you were charged with a crime, but the case was dismissed or a court or jury found you not guilty, you can have those records of your charges expunged and sealed as well (or any time after disposition of case.).
Having a record sealed could benefit a person looking for a job, getting a professional license, citizenship, or even housing. People reviewing your application may want to know if you have ever been convicted of a criminal charge.
If the court seals the record, the court must order all official records pertaining to the case sealed, and all index references to the case deleted. Upon issuance of the order, the proceedings in the case shall be considered not to have occurred, and the conviction of the person subject to the proceedings shall be sealed.