Student Legal Services, Inc.

Criminal Matters - Expungement of a Criminal Record

What it expungment?

Expungment is a legal process in which you can clean up your criminal record. If you are successful, it's like the conviction never happened. Generally, to be eligible for expungment, you:

1.Must be a first offender
2. A certain amount of time must pass between conviction and requesting the expungment of that conviction (for misdemeanors, that time period is one year)
3. Have no pending criminal charges at the time of the request
4. Have been "rehabilitated".

There is much confusion over what is a "criminal record". In Ohio, convictions for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th degree misdemeanors and any felony conviction will give you a criminal record. CONVICTIONS FOR MINOR MISDEMEANORS (IE. PUBLIC INTOX, OPEN CONTAINER, POT POSSESSION OF UNDER 100 GRAMS) DO NOT-REPEAT DO NOT GIVE YOU A "CRIMINAL RECORD". If you are convicted of a minor misdemeanor, you do not have to disclose that conviction to an employer or graduate school. It's like a parking ticket. Only in rare circumstances would you want to expunge a minor misdemeanor (remember: minor misdemeanors do not give you a record in the first place). If you receive or think you will be receiving Federally subsidized student loan, you should expunge any minor misdemeanor pot possession conviction. New laws make you ineligible for these loans if you have any drug convictions!!!

IF YOU HAVE BEEN CONVICTED OF A CRIME, KNOW WHAT KIND OF CRIME IT WAS, WHAT COURT YOU WERE IN, AND THE CASE NUMBER. Student Legal Services may be able to assist you in obtaining an expungment. There are some crimes, like Driving Under the Influence, that you can never expunge. IF YOU ARE ELIGIBLE for expungment, the general process is as follows:

1.You must file a Motion for Expungment in the court in which you were convicted;
2. Pay the required filing fee which will be at least $ 50.00;
3. The Motion must be notarized;
4. Make several copies of the Motion and submit the original and the copies to the appropriate Clerk of Courts;
5. Serve (give) a copy of the Motion to the Prosecutor office that handled the original criminal case;
6. The Court will check computer records to verify if you are a first offender;
7. The Court may schedule a hearing (particularly, if the prosecutor objects to your expungment)
8. If everything checks out O.K., the Court will issue a Court Order (called "Journal Entry of Expungment");
9. It will be up to you to get this Court Order to the various law enforcement agencies that might have records of your conviction;
10. At this point, upon a successful expungment of the criminal conviction, you can answer "No" to questions about criminal convictions posed by employers or graduate schools.

Last Updated: 7/15/24