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Expungement or Record Sealing in Ohio – The Hearing

— August 12, 2020

If you are successful at the hearing, the judge should grant the motion to seal your record and accordingly issues an order. The record is then provided to the Clerk of Courts and sealed.

In Ohio, you can get your record sealed for certain offenses so that your past mistakes are no longer visible for the world to see. To get your record sealed, you typically have to attend a hearing and convince the court that you have met all of the requirements, that you have righted your wrongs, and that it is critical for your record to be sealed. This process can be complex, and your application might be challenged by a prosecutor, so you might want to consider hiring an expungement attorney. Here’s a brief summary on what this hearing entails.

Requirements for Record Sealing

After filing an application for sealing a criminal record, the court will schedule a hearing and send you a notice in the mail relating to the hearing date. This hearing is a requirement under Ohio law regardless of whether you were convicted of the offense or had the charges against you dismissed.

At the hearing, the court takes several things into account, including whether you are an eligible offender, whether you have any ongoing criminal proceedings against you, and whether you have been rehabilitated to the satisfaction of the court. The court also considers the prosecutor’s objections to your request, if any, and ultimately determines if your interest of having your record sealed is more important than the government’s interest in keeping your records public. In making determinations, the court relies on the probation department to conduct a background check on you.

Show the Judge that You Have Learned Your Lesson

Happy couple. Man, woman, and therapist; image by Freepik, via
Happy couple. Man, woman, and therapist; image by Freepik, via

An important part of the hearing involves showing the judge that you have been sufficiently rehabilitated. This necessitates more than just an apology for your transgressions. For instance, if you were convicted for OVI, then you might want to show the judge that you have sobered up, sought counseling or do not have a problem with alcohol. If you were convicted of a criminal offense, you might want to show that you are not likely going to commit that offense again. Evidence of rehabilitation goes a long way in these situations.

The Prosecutor’s Objections May Get in Your Way

The court notifies the prosecutor about your application for record sealing, so it is possible that the prosecutor opposes your request. In fact, the prosecutor can object to your application in writing before the hearing takes place and can also object through making oral arguments at the hearing. There is no requirement under Ohio law that the prosecutor provide you with any notice of objection until the hearing date. Because of this, it makes sense to hire an attorney rather than take on the prosecutor’s objections all by yourself.

Attendance at the Court Hearing is Typically Required 

In Ohio, each court has their own policies relating to hearings for record sealing. Generally, you have to attend the hearing to present evidence and arguments in support of sealing your record while also responding to the prosecutor’s objections. But what if you have scheduling constraints or financial obligations that require you to stay at your job on the hearing date? Perhaps you live in another state than Ohio. If there are problems with your availability, an attorney can possibly attend the hearing on your behalf and advocate for you. It is also possible for the court to decide the matter on the briefs and motions – legal documents that an attorney can file on your behalf.

Court Determines Whether to Grant or Deny Your Application

If you are successful at the hearing, the judge should grant the motion to seal your record and accordingly issues an order. The record is then provided to the Clerk of Courts and sealed. Significantly, the legal proceedings will be considered not to have happened. However, your application may be denied. If that happens, then it might be possible to file another application in the future; however, you will likely have to show that there has been a change in circumstances between your previous application and your new application.

Hiring An Expungement or Record Sealing Attorney

Joslyn Law Firm has extensive expertise in helping clients in Ohio with sealing their records so that they can effectively erase their past mistakes and move forward with their lives. Among other things, our experienced expungement attorneys can consult with you regarding your record to help determine if it can be sealed; file an application and related documentation; and represent you at your hearing to help convince the judge that you have been reformed and that your record ought to be sealed.

Feel free to contact Joslyn Law Firm at (614) 444-1900 and speak with experienced counsel regarding the sealing of your record in Franklin County and surrounding counties, including Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County and Fairfield County in Ohio.

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