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Basics of Expungement

Interviewer: What is an expungement and what does it do?

Adam Hunt: Basically, an expungement is the sealing of a court record, stopping the public from having access to whatever crime would have been committed, whether they were found guilty or pled to something.

Interviewer: In Ohio, can someone get their record sealed?

Adam Hunt: Basically an expungement acts as a sealing of a record.

Interviewer: Is that the same thing or is it different terms or do they mean different things?

Adam Hunt: When you file for an expungement the court is supposed to seal the court record; that’s their duty there. The other part of it is that they’re supposed to contact BCI or Bureau of Criminal Investigation and make sure that they take any record that they have off of it. There are two separate things that are happening simultaneously, but literally the file does go under a seal once an expungement is granted.

Reasons for Expungement

Interviewer: Why would someone want to get an expungement?

Adam Hunt: There’s a very large range of reasons. First reason: a lot of people just want a clear conscience to know that they don’t have that out there on the public record; they don’t want the humiliation or the embarrassment of people knowing about it. The other range would be for professional reasons. Certain crimes prevent individuals from becoming nurses or realtors and things like that so it might be a necessity for them in order to start a new career or maintain whatever career or profession they’re in at that time.

Waiting Period

Interviewer: Let’s talk about the process. How long does someone have to wait before they’re able to get that?

Adam Hunt: It depends. If it was, for example, a minor misdemeanor in Ohio, we have two different types of disorderly conducts. We have an M4 – a misdemeanor in the 4th degree – and we have an MM, or a minor misdemeanor. A minor misdemeanor could be expunged 30 days after the conviction or pleading to it. Typically, though, for anything that needs to be expunged, you’d have to wait one year after release from incarceration, including probation, which is defined as an incarceration.

By Adam Hunt

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