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As of October 29, 2018, Ohio will significantly expand its record sealing law. As a result, people who could not previously qualify for sealing of their records may be eligible to have their records sealed. Cleveland expungement lawyer A. Dale Naticchia can help people who have been convicted of various crimes, such as DUI or theft crimes, petition to have their records sealed.What is Record Sealing?
Generally, if you have been arrested, charged, or convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, your past record will be available to the general public. A criminal record carries a stigma that can make it much harder to get a job, get higher education, or even rent a home if you have a criminal record. It is possible for anyone to access your criminal record. However, there is a legal process called expungement, whereby your criminal record may be sealed. This is a process that permits you to have public references to your criminal record cleared. The file will be sealed.
Sealing of records may be available for convictions as well as dismissed charges, acquittals, no-bills charges, juvenile charges, and bail forfeitures under ORC 2953 of the Ohio Revised Code. This law controls who may have their records sealed and the conditions under which it is possible. It also controls the hearings for record sealing.Who Can Have an Expungement Review?
Under the Ohio sentencing scheme, felonies have different potential sentences based on their classification. F4 felonies can result in 18 months’ imprisonment plus a $5,000 fine. F5 felonies can result in 12 months’ imprisonment and fines of $2,500.
However, Ohio is about to pass SB 49. This law will permit an expungement review for someone with up to five F4 or F5 felonies and unlimited misdemeanors. It makes it possible for all records to be sealed. Even people who did not qualify before may qualify under this law. An expungement attorney in the Cleveland area can advise you on whether your situation may qualify.
You will still need to follow certain prescribed waiting periods. For example, if you have misdemeanors, you will need to wait one year. If you have one F4 or F5 felony, you will need to wait three years. If you have two F4 or F5 felonies, you will need to wait four years. If you have three to five F4 or F5 felonies, you will need to wait five years. These laws do not apply to anybody who has an F3 or higher felony conviction or people with a conviction that includes a violent or sexual offense, irrespective of whether it was a felony or misdemeanor.
The court can decide whether someone qualifies for expungement. Through this process, the prosecutor will be notified, and they can object to the sealing of records in a scheduled hearing.Understanding ORC 2953.32
Under ORC 2953.32, which is effective on October 29, 2018, an eligible offender can apply for the sealing of a record to the sentence court if convicted in Ohio or to a court of common pleas if convicted in federal court or another state. A Cleveland expungement attorney can guide you through the application. Once an application is filed, the court is supposed to set a hearing date. It lets the prosecutor know so that the prosecutor has an opportunity to object. The prosecutor must give a specific reason for why denying an application for expungement is justified. The court can ask the probation officer to make inquiries and write reports about the applicant.
The court is supposed to determine whether an applicant is eligible or whether the prosecutor and the applicant agreed to forfeiture of bail. It should also decide whether criminal proceedings are pending against an applicant and, if the applicant is an eligible offender who applies under (A)(1), whether there has been rehabilitation. If a prosecutor has objected, the court is supposed to consider the objection. The court should weigh the applicant's interest in having the records sealed against any valid need of the government to maintain the records.
If the court orders the sealing of records, it has a few different options. When the person requesting the sealing was fingerprinted at the time of arrest, and those fingerprints were given to the court, the court should forward the sealing record and the record of fingerprints to the bureau of criminal identification and investigation. However, when there was no fingerprinting, or the fingerprints were not submitted to the court when it was required, the court can order the applicant to go before the sheriff to have those fingerprints taken according to the fingerprint system of identification on forms provided by the superintendent of the bureau of criminal identification and investigation. The sheriff will forward the fingerprints to the court.Explore Your Options with an Expungement Lawyer in the Cleveland Area
A criminal conviction can carry an enormous stigma that affects you far into the future. If you hope to obtain an expungement for a crime such as DUI or shoplifting and believe that you may be eligible, you should contact an experienced lawyer. The Law Firm of A. Dale Naticchia may be able to help you. Call our firm at 888-384-3253 or use our online form to set up a free consultation.