New Law Makes It Easier for Ohioans To Seal Old Criminal Records

September 18, 2023

A law easing the expungement process for individuals with criminal records took effect in Ohio recently. This law speeds the process and makes expunging and sealing more offenses possible. Many expect this law to benefit those with criminal backgrounds. 

Sealing or expunging these records could increase their housing and employment opportunities, significantly improving their lives and contributing to society. One aspect interested parties should note is the law’s differentiating between sealing and expungement. Everyone used the terms interchangeably; however, Ohio has determined that the two actions accomplish separate results. 

Importance of Sealing Records

Sealing records removes public access and hides the information from background checks, but the government still maintains its existence. In contrast, courts will completely erase expunged records. No one will retain this information, making it seem like the offense never happened.

Prior laws limited the number of offenses individuals could apply to expunge or seal. According to these laws, individuals could have up to four eligible misdemeanors and one eligible felony sealed. However, the new law includes amendments to these limits. It removed the limit on how many eligible misdemeanor and felonies may become sealed or expunged.

Some offenses cannot qualify; they include the following:

  • “First- and second-degree felonies, and three or more third-degree felonies;
  • Felony offenses of violence that aren’t sexually oriented offenses;
  • Sexually oriented crimes are subject to registration requirements;
  • Protection order violations and domestic violence offenses;
  • Crimes involving young victims; and
  • Traffic offenses.”

How the Law Affects the Process

In addition to increasing the type and number of offenses that can be sealed or expunged, the new law expedites the process. After an individual files an application for sealing or expungement, the court must hold a hearing within 90 days of the filing. This law will help many Ohio residents benefit from having their criminal records sealed or expunged. Some hope the state will incorporate an automatic sealing process to assist more affected individuals.

Expungement laws similar to this continue to spread across the country. As such, employers must stay updated on the ever-shifting regulations. One way is by partnering with a trusted screening provider. The right partner regularly updates their records and removes expunged records as needed. This partnership is critical to providing all applicants a fair chance at employment and remaining compliant with these changing laws.

Keep your business compliant with new laws and regulations with JDP’s reliable background checks. Contact a sales rep today.