Criminal Record Expungement & Sealing

In Ohio and Michigan, some criminal records can be sealed. In most cases, a sealed criminal record will not show up during background checks. This can be invaluable when it comes to applying for a job. In fact, for most employment opportunities, an individual who has had a criminal record sealed may even mark on job applications that they have not been convicted of a crime when said crime has been sealed.
 
Did you know that if the government filed criminal charges against you that were either dismissed or resulted in a "not guilty" verdict, such entries may still show up in your records? It is often advisable to seek the sealing or expungement of such entries for employment purposes.
 
In Ohio, all adult criminal offenses may be sealed, except for the following:
  • Any first or second degree felony
  • All traffic offenses
  • Any offense with a mandatory prison term
  • Any offense of violence or threatened violence (except misdemeanor assault)
  • Any sexual offense
  • Knowingly offering to sell a car with a tampered odometer
  • Tampering with a vehicle’s odometer
  • Selling or possessing a master key designed to fit more than one vehicle
  • Driving under suspension
  • Offenses with purpose to conceal or destroy identity of car or its parts
  • Operating a vehicle while intoxicated (i.e., OVI, DUI)
  • Street racing
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
Juvenile offenses may be sealed, except for murder or rape.
 
In order for one to qualify for the expungement and sealing of a criminal record in Ohio, one must be an “eligible offender.”  An eligible offender is defined as a person who “has not more than one felony conviction, not more than two misdemeanor convictions if the convictions are not of the same offense, or not more than one felony conviction and one misdemeanor conviction in this state or any other jurisdiction.”  This means that people with the following convictions or combinations of convictions will be eligible for the sealing of their record:  (1) one felony conviction; (2) one misdemeanor conviction; (3) one felony conviction and one misdemeanor conviction; or (4) two misdemeanor convictions.  Convictions of minor misdemeanors do not count as convictions for purposes of determining eligibility for a criminal record sealing.
 
Ohio's post-conviction relief statutes can be found in Chapter 2953 of the Revised Code.
 
In order for one to qualify for the expungement and sealing of an adult criminal record in Michigan, one must have only one criminal conviction on one's record, but exceptions to this rule do exist, which includes having up to two minor misdemeanors.  An offense is a minor misdemeanor if the maximum possible punishment was up to  90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, and the offenses happened when one was under 21 years of age.  A criminal case in which guilt was deferred does not constitute a conviction that would preclude a criminal record expungement.  Offenses that cannot be expunged in Michigan include:  traffic offenses; criminal sexual conduct of the first, second, or third degree; and felonies punishable by up to life in prison.  If one is otherwise eligible for a criminal record expungement in Michigan, the conviction must have occurred at least five years from the date one was sentenced or when one was released from imprisonment—whichever is later.
 
Michigan's adult criminal record expungement statute is codified in MCL § 780.621, and Michigan's juvenile delinquency adjudication sealing statute is codified in MCL § 712A.18e.
 
Please contact Attorney Kyle Bristow if you are interested in getting your criminal record expunged or sealed.
 
In the alternative to a criminal record expungement, you may be interested in seeking a pardon, commutation of a sentence, or a reprieve.  Attorney Kyle Bristow can assist you in filing such a request.