If you have been convicted of a crime, your criminal record can dramatically impact your life in a negative way. A potential employer may decide not to hire you after seeing that you are a convicted criminal, or a landlord may decide that you are too great a risk and not rent that apartment to you. If you have been convicted of a crime in Ohio and it has been several years since you have completed the terms of your sentence, you may be able to have your record “sealed” or “expunged” with the help of a Columbus DUI attorney.
What Does It Mean to Have My Record Sealed?
To have your record “sealed” or “expunged” means to have a judge order your prior criminal conviction to be cleared, allowing you to to act as if the criminal conviction did not happen. When an employer or landlord pulls your criminal record, your previous conviction will not show up. Additionally, if you are asked about prior crimes, in most cases you do not need to disclose the sealed conviction.
Note that law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and other such agencies will still be able to view your record after it is sealed. Additionally, if you are convicted of another crime, your sealed record can be used against you at sentencing.
How Do I Get My Record Sealed?
The process of sealing your criminal record is governed by statute. In order to be eligible to have your criminal record sealed, you must:
- Wait the prescribed period of time. If you have been convicted of a felony, you must wait at least three years from the time you completed the terms of your sentence (that is, you must wait three years after you all the required imprisonment and/or probation periods are completed, not three years after the date you are sentenced). For a misdemeanor, one year must have passed from the time you completed the terms of your sentence.
- Have been convicted of a qualifying offense. Not all criminal offenses are eligible to be sealed. For instance, certain sexually violent offenses or crimes against children are not eligible to be sealed.
- Complete the application and appear in Court. While you do not need an attorney in order to complete the application or to present your case for sealing in court, an experienced Columbus DUI attorney can help by making sure your application is properly prepared and that the court considers all relevant evidence in making its decision. Even if your application is completed properly, the court does not have to grant your request and may deny your application to have your record sealed.
Contact Suhre & Associates, LLC for Expungement Assistance
If your life is being impacted by a previous criminal conviction, you need the assistance of an experienced Columbus criminal defense attorney. You need the experienced advocacy of Suhre & Associates, LLC. The laws governing Columbus expungements have recently changed. We will help you determine if your case is eligible to be sealed and we will help guide you every step of the process. Do not let a past mistake ruin your future; contact us at (614) 827-2000 today.