Ohio law allows offenders to apply to have most criminal misdemeanor and some felony arrests and convictions sealed from their record – depending on the offense. Sealing a case is a legal process that, if granted by a judge, will seal your conviction and/or arrest record from the eyes of most people.
Most people use the term “expunged” when they apply, but Ohio law doesn’t allow adult convictions to be truly erased/expunged except in very limited circumstances. When your request to seal your record is granted, the paper and electronic records are placed in a separate, secure location. While the record still exists, it can’t be seen by most people. But there are some exceptions in the law. For example, certain employers, officials and agencies can still see sealed records on criminal background checks. This includes prosecutors, judges and police as part of future criminal investigations or sentencing; employers in law enforcement, jobs working with children or elderly people and some real estate and financial institution positions. In addition, most state professional licensing boards, such as the State Board of Nursing or State Accountancy Board, and others can see the sealed records for purposes of license denial, suspension or revocation.
Ohio law allows certain criminal convictions to be sealed, but not others. For example, convictions of violent crimes (such as Domestic Violence) cannot be removed from your record. In addition, under current Ohio law, traffic offenses (e.g. OVIs) are not eligible to be sealed. Finally, if you are found not guilty or your case is dismissed, you may also be eligible to have your record sealed. You can look at the Ohio Revised Code in sections 2953.31 – 2953.62 for more information.
Please be aware the court cannot seal a conviction record if you have any pending criminal charges. For misdemeanor convictions, you need to wait at least one year from the time your case is discharged, including any supervised or unsupervised probation conditions. All fines or court costs owed also must be paid in full. View a helpful guide on sealing requirements here. You can use the Search Public Records portion of this website to look up your case information.
To request to have your record sealed, you must file an application for record sealing in the Clerk’s Office along with a $100 application fee. Visit the forms section of our website to download the application packet for sealing a conviction(s) and/or non-conviction(s). Please use one application even if applying for more than one case to be sealed. The packet(s) also contain a pre-hearing interview form that is required by the court’s Probation Department. Please turn in this form with your application. A hearing before a judge will be held prior to a decision being made on your sealing request. If the sealing is granted, the legal record of your offense will be removed from the public record and placed in a secure location.
***If you would like to take additional steps to have your record removed from private companies who provide the information for private background checks, Kettering Court is partnering with the National Expungement Database Center (NEDC) to provide this service. There is a fee for this service payable to the NEDC. Visit their website for more information. Please note that Kettering Court is only providing this information as a resource for customers. Any questions or follow up on the outcome or effectiveness of this service must be directed to NEDC at 1-877-604-2164.
For more information or to help you through the sealing process, you can consult with an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney the following organizations may be helpful:
Greater Dayton Volunteer Lawyers Project
Ohio Justice and Policy Center