What is an Expungment, and Who Cannot Get One.

An "expungement" is a legal process whereby a person with a conviction for a crime can have that record sealed from discovery by a background check.  Ohio has a series of expungement statutes, and these statutes provide who is and who is not entitled to an expungement. Expungements in Ohio are called "sealing of the record." In order to be entitled to an expungement (or sealing of the record), a defendant must have one, and only one, "conviction" - and it is that single conviction that can be sealed.   Normally, traffic offenses (except DUIs) are not considered a "conviction." Further, even if a defendant has just one conviction, there are certain convictions which a defendant may never expunge/seal. The most common are murders or crimes involving death, DUIs, crimes where the victim is under the age of 18, and what are called "crimes of violence." Many of our DUI clients are surprised to find out that what they believe to be just a  "traffic" offense will remain on their record forever. Further, one-time stupid events which result in technical convictions of crimes of violence (e.g. see State v. Derison where a baseball fan who got into a scrape with the police ended up a with an assault conviction that cannot be expunged), can result in a conviction that remains on one's record for life. We often have clients who have really turned their past life around, and want to get their convictions sealed so they can get a better job or get bonded or licensed in a trade.    It sometimes pains us to tell them that they cannot get that expungement.   It is always better to discuss the impact of the Ohio expungement statute with your lawyer at the time of the plea or trial - and not years later when the crime is a part of your distant past.     Further, some industries, including the nursing industry, are entitled to see expunged records when they are screening prospective employees.  Further, law enforcement officials are always permitted to view expunged records when they are are investigating someone for a subsequent crime.