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Can a Criminal Conviction Be Removed From My Record?

As Columbus criminal defense attorneys, we frequently have clients ask if an old charge can be removed from their record. Under Ohio law, records from certain convictions may be “sealed” and treated “as if it never happened.” To help people clean their records, we start with some basic questions. The first question is whether the particular offense is eligible to be sealed. In Ohio, fewer offenses qualify under the law. For instance, violent offenses most sex offenses (as defined by the Revised Code) cannot be sealed. Additionally, Ohio law does not permit traffic offenses (including OVI’s) to be sealed.

If the offense you would like sealed is eligible, our next question will be whether or not you have a prior and subsequent criminal record. Under Ohio law, only “first time offenders” qualify to have their record sealed. Other convictions on unrelated matters may render you ineligible. Also, any OVI conviction (even though a traffic offense) precludes sealing of any other convictions.

Once we determine that you are eligible to have a record sealed, we prepare a motion and application. Depending on the circumstances, the prosecutor’s office may object to the application. The case will be scheduled before a judge, who will make the final determination. After it is successfully sealed, the record of the conviction will be closed and cannot be accessed except in very limited situations.

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