Even if you’re convicted and sentenced of criminal wrongdoing, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your sentence has to impact the rest of your life. For instance, if you have been sentenced to a long term of imprisonment, you may have options for early release. Or, if you were convicted of a relatively low-level offense, you may have options to have your criminal record sealed or expunged.
How do these processes work? Below, you’ll find some information that can help you get started before you seek legal guidance for greater clarity and context.
What is an expungement?
Expunging a criminal record in Ohio means sealing that record. If an employer or landlord was then to run a background check, the record wouldn’t show up. This doesn’t mean that evidence of someone’s past missteps have been erased entirely. An expunged criminal record can still be seen by the authorities – such as if you ended up in court for a future charge – but it doesn’t show up on civilian background checks. This effort can help you with things like getting accepted to college or getting a new job.
In some cases, people can be released after serving a partial term of imprisonment. Probation officers will have to be in touch with you if you are released early, and there will be regulations and rules that you have to follow. Violating probation could mean that you face further charges or have to return to jail.
What if it’s a federal crime?
Expungement can only be used on state-level crimes in Ohio. They do not apply to federal crimes. They cannot have their record sealed in the same way that a state-level offense could be.
Of course, every situation is unique. Yours has its own factors that need to be considered carefully. Take the time to look into your legal options as seeking legal guidance will help you to seek the most favorable outcome possible unique to your personal circumstances.