Persons Convicted of an Offense

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   If you have been convicted of an offense and are an eligible offender, you may qualify for expungement. By statute, application for expungement is made to the sentencing judge. Certain waiting periods, as described below, apply before an eligible offender may apply for expungement. The final decision to grant or deny expungement is in the discretion of the sentencing judge. Please note that even though a criminal conviction has been expunged, it may still be used as specified in Ohio Revised Code section 2953.32(D), (E), (F) & (G), and Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2950 [Sexual Predators, etc.]. 

    ” Eligible offender” means anyone who has been convicted of an offense in this state or any other jurisdiction and who has not more than one felony conviction, not more than two misdemeanor convictions if the convictions are not of the same offense, or not more than one felony conviction and one misdemeanor conviction in this state or any other jurisdiction. When two or more convictions result from or are connected with the same act or result from offenses committed at the same time, they shall be counted as one conviction. When two or three convictions result from the same indictment, information, or complaint, from the same plea of guilty, or from the same official proceeding, and result from related criminal acts that were committed within a three-month period but do not result from the same act or from offenses committed at the same time, they shall be counted as one conviction, provided that a court may decide as provided in division (C)(1)(a) of section 2953.32 of the Revised Code that it is not in the public interest for the two or three convictions to be counted as one conviction.

   Except as otherwise provided [see the paragraphs that follow], Ohio Revised Code 2953.31(A) provides the following do not constitute a previous or subsequent conviction:

A conviction for a minor misdemeanor, for a violation of any section in Chapter 4507, 4510 [License offenses], 4511 [Traffic Offenses], 4513 [Traffic Equipment - Loads], or 4549 [Motor Vehicle Crimes] of the Revised Code, or for a violation of a municipal ordinance that is substantially similar to any section in those chapters is not a previous or subsequent conviction. [A minor misdemeanor is an offense for which only a fine of up to $150 may be imposed.]

   The following, however, are considered a previous or subsequent conviction according to Ohio Revised Code 2953.31(A):

A conviction for a violation of section 4511.19 [OVI], 4511.251[Street Racing], 4549.02 [Stopping after accident on public roads or highways], 4549.021 [Stopping after accident on other than public roads or highways], 4549.03 [Stopping after accident involving damage to realty or personal property attached to real property], 4549.042 [Sale or possession of master key designed to fit more than one motor vehicle], or 4549.62 [Offenses with purpose to conceal or destroy identity (of vehicle)]or sections 4549.41 to 4549.46 [Odometer Related Offenses] of the Revised Code, for a violation of section 4510.11 [Driving under suspension or in violation of license restriction] or 4510.14 [Driving under OVI suspension] of the Revised Code that is based upon the offender's operation of a vehicle during a suspension imposed under section 4511.191 [Implied consent] or 4511.196 [Initial appearance] of the Revised Code, for a violation of a substantially equivalent municipal ordinance, for a felony violation of Title XLV [45] [Motor Vehicles -- Aeronautics -- Watercraft] of the Revised Code, or for a violation of a substantially equivalent former law of this state or former municipal ordinance shall be considered a previous or subsequent conviction.

   In any case, and as required in Ohio Revised Code Section 2953.36, the following do not qualify for expungement:

      [But read, State v. LaSalle, 96 Ohio St.3d 178, 2002-Ohio-4009]

  •  Convictions when the offender is subject to a mandatory prison term;
  •  Convictions under section 2907.02, 2907.03, 2907.04, 2907.05, 2907.06, 2907.321, 2907.322, or 2907.323, former section 2907.12, or Chapter 4507., 4510., 4511., or 4549. of the Revised Code, or a conviction for a violation of a municipal ordinance that is substantially similar to any section contained in any of those chapters;
  •  Convictions of an offense of violence when the offense is a misdemeanor of the first degree or a felony and when the offense is not a violation of section 2917.03 of the Revised Code and is not a violation of section 2903.13, 2917.01 or 2917.31 of the Revised Code that is a misdemeanor of the first degree;
  •  Convictions on or after the effective date of this amendment under section 2907.07 of the Revised Code or a conviction on or after the effective date of this amendment for a violation of a municipal ordinance that is substantially similar to that section;
  •  Convictions on or after the effective date of this amendment under section 2907.08, 2907.09, 2907.21, 2907.22, 2907.23, 2907.31, 2907.311, 2907.32, or 2907.33 of the Revised Code when the victim of the offense was under eighteen years of age;
  •  Convictions of an offense in circumstances in which the victim of the offense was under eighteen years of age when the offense is a misdemeanor of the first degree or a felony;

  • Convictions of a felony of the first or second degree;

  • Bail forfeitures in a traffic case as defined in Traffic Rule 2.

 
  Waiting period  
     
     Except as provided in Ohio Revised Code section 2953.61, an eligible offender may apply for expungement at the expiration of three years after the offender's final discharge if convicted of a felony, or at the expiration of one year after the offender's final discharge if convicted of a misdemeanor. Ohio Revised Code section 2953.32. In general, final discharge means you have completed what the judge ordered, such as the jail term imposed, the period of probation, and paid all fines and restitution.