Having a criminal record can make it difficult to land a job, find an apartment, and get a decent education. However, you may not need to live with the drawbacks of your criminal history forever. With the help of a Columbus expungement attorney, like those here at James D. Owen, LLC, you may be able to have your record sealed and get on with living your life.

How Our Experienced Attorneys Can Help You Seal Your Criminal Record

At James D. Owen, LLC we are committed to helping our clients get their lives back on track after they have been convicted of a crime. When you ask us to help you get your criminal record sealed, we will:

Review Your Eligibility for Expungement

Unfortunately, not all offenders in the state of Ohio can have their records expunged. When you come to us for assistance with the record sealing process, we will first spend some time reviewing your case to ensure that you are eligible for expungement.

If you are eligible, we will immediately begin working on the next step in your expungement process. If you are not eligible, we will instead walk you through your alternative options.

Process Your Expungement Paperwork

As you might expect, applying to have your criminal record expunged requires quite a lot of paperwork. From requesting documentation from the county clerk to submitting the formal application to the court, the administrative load can sometimes feel neverending.

Fortunately, when you hire the James D. Owen, LLC, legal team, you won’t need to worry about completing a sizable stack of paperwork. Our experienced attorneys and paralegals will handle all of your administrative needs on your behalf.

Represent You at Your Expungement Hearing

As part of the record sealing process, you will need to appear at an expungement hearing. There, a judge will review the details of your situation and decide whether or not you should have your conviction expunged. If you wish to ensure that your hearing runs smoothly, you will need to have an experienced lawyer by your side throughout.

When you work with our legal team, experience is exactly what you will get. Our lawyers have been representing Ohioans at their expungement hearings for years, and we are more than ready to do the same for you.

Do you want the James D. Owen, LLC, team to help you through the expungement process? If so, please do not hesitate to give us a call to set up a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.

Who is Eligible for Expungement Under Ohio Law?

The state of Ohio has strict rules and regulations that govern who can and cannot have their criminal record sealed. According to section 2953.32 of the Ohio Revised Code, offenders must meet the following requirements to be eligible for expungement:

  • Must not be involved in any current criminal proceedings
  • Must not have been subject to a mandatory prison term
  • Must have no more than five felonies
  • Must have completed all sentencing requirements more than one year ago if expunging a misdemeanor, or more than three years ago if expunging a felony
  • Must not have committed a criminal offense that is disqualified from expungement in Ohio

The list of crimes that can disqualify an offender from having their criminal record expunged is outlined in section 2953.36 of the Ohio Revised Code. This statute states than an individual may not have their record sealed if they were convicted of:

  • Any felony of the first degree
  • Any felony of the second degree
  • Any felony or first-degree misdemeanor offense in which the victim was a minor
  • A sexual offense
  • Any felony or first-degree misdemeanor violent offense

If you believe that you may be eligible to have your criminal record sealed, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Columbus expungement attorneys here at James D. Owen, LLC. We would love to meet with you to learn more about your situation and provide you with more information about how we can help.

Understanding Ohio’s Expungement Procedures

In Ohio, eligible offenders who wish to have their criminal record sealed must complete the following steps:

Obtaining Their Conviction Order

Before beginning the expungement process, eligible offenders must get a copy of the order of the conviction that they wish to have sealed. This document can generally be obtained by having a criminal defense attorney reach out to the county clerk of the jurisdiction in which the offender was convicted.

Filing Their Expungement Paperwork

Once an eligible offender has their conviction order in-hand and is ready to begin the expungement process in earnest, they should have their lawyer fill out and file an application for sealing a criminal record. The fee to apply for expungement in the state of Ohio is $50.

Attending Their Expungement Hearing

When the court has received an eligible offender’s application, they will set a date for a hearing on whether or not the offender’s petition to seal records should be approved. The state prosecutor will also receive notice of this hearing. They may then choose to file an objection to the sealing of the offender’s criminal record.

Should the prosecutor choose to object to the granting of the expungement application, they must provide valid reasons for doing so. These reasons will be reviewed by the judge at the offender’s hearing.

At the expungement hearing, the offender’s attorney may also read a statement that outlines the steps their client has taken to rehabilitate themselves. This statement can also discuss how the offender’s criminal record is limiting their life and why they need to have it sealed.

Once the judge has heard what all parties have to say, they will then decide whether or not the offender should have their record expunged. Judges in Ohio have broad discretion to approve or deny record sealing. As such, offenders who wish to improve their odds of achieving a favorable outcome would be wise to provide the court with plenty of evidence of their rehabilitation.

Do you need a Columbus criminal attorney to help you get your misdemeanor or felony conviction expunged? If so, please contact the team here at James D. Owen, LLC, today. We are always ready, willing, and able to assist.

The Benefits of Sealing Your Criminal Record

If you opt to have your criminal record expunged, you will enjoy a wide range of benefits, such as:

Increased Job Opportunities

Many employers are unwilling to hire applicants with prior felony convictions. If you can get your record expunged, you will no longer need to reveal your criminal history when filling in employment applications. As a result, you may be able to land a more fulfilling, better-paying job.

Increased Housing Options

Some property management companies have strict policies against renting to individuals with criminal records. Once you get your record sealed, you won’t need to tell prospective landlords about your conviction, making it much more likely that they will approve your application.

Increased Educational Opportunities

When you have a criminal record, it can be tough to get the grants and loans you need to go to college. When you get your record expunged, however, you should find it much easier to access the funds you need to further your education.

More Privacy

Unsealed criminal records are easily accessed by the general public. If you get your conviction expunged, your friends, work colleagues, and casual acquaintances will no longer be able to find out about your criminal history by conducting a simple online search.

Improved Access to Professional Licenses

Having a criminal record makes you ineligible for many professional licenses. Once your expungement has been approved, however, you will no longer need to tell the licensing authorities about your conviction. As a result, you will find it much easier to be approved for the licensing you need to pursue your chosen career.

Are you ready to enjoy the many benefits of having a sealed criminal record? Contact the legal experts here at James D. Owen, LLC, in Columbus, OH. We would love to guide you through the expungement process.

Who Can See Your Criminal Record After it Has Been Expunged?

Having your criminal record expunged does not mean that it is destroyed forever. According to the law in Ohio, sealed records remain viewable in the following situations:

  • By law enforcement agencies for certain limited purposes
  • During the course of a subsequent criminal case
  • When seeking a job with a law enforcement agency in the state of Ohio

If you need more information about expungement in Ohio, please contact the legal team here at James D. Owen, LLC. We are always available to provide our friends and neighbors in Columbus with the legal information they need.

Your Trusted Columbus Expungement Attorney

The attorneys here at James D. Owen, LLC, in Columbus, Ohio, have been helping our clients seal the records of their criminal cases and convictions for years. If you would like us to assist you with your expungement, please do not hesitate to shoot us a message to set up a free consultation with a member of our team.