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Senate Bill 288 Expands Convictions That Can Be Sealed And Includes Provisions To Fully Expunge Records

Senate Bill 288 Goes into Effect April 6, 2023

On January 3, 2023, Governor Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 288 into law, with sweeping changes to the sealing and expungement provisions of Ohio’s criminal code. Ohioans have previously been able to apply to seal their records, but not completely expunge them. “Sealing” means that records are kept private with very limited exceptions. Expungement means that the record is completely destroyed.

The following provisions go into effect on April 6, 2023:

  • Up to two (2) felonies of the third degree and a variety of felonies of the fourth and fifth degrees and misdemeanors can apply for sealing.
  • Bail forfeiture can be sealed at the time of forfeiture.
  • The following still cannot be sealed: first- or second-degree felonies, violent offenses, most sexual offenses, domestic violence (including strangulation, a new offense), violations of protective orders, traffic offenses, and most offenses where the victim was under 13 years of age.
  • Applications to expunge can be filed:
    • Six (6) months after a minor misdemeanor is discharged;
    • One (1) year after a misdemeanor is discharged;
    • Ten (10) years after felonies are sealed:
      • fourth- or fifth-degree felonies would be able to apply 11 years after conviction;
      • third-degree felony offenders could apply 11 years after conviction.
  • Prosecutors and city law directors can expunge low-level marijuana possession offenses, such as minor misdemeanors and up to fourth degree misdemeanors.
  • Judges must set a hearing not less than 45 days and not more than 90 days after an application for sealing or expungement.
  • Tier 1 Registered sex offenders can apply to have records sealed starting five (5) years after a court determines they no longer have to register as a sex offender. The following caveats apply:
    • The offense must be a third-degree felony or lower;
    • Only those with Tier I sex offender registration requirements are eligible;
    • The offense cannot be deemed an offense of violence;
    • The victim of the offense cannot be 13 years of age or younger.
  • Based on the above parameters, as well facts specific to each individual case, it may be possible to apply to seal the following offenses if the victim is over the age of 13: O.R.C. § 2907.06 (Sexual Imposition); O.R.C. § 2907.07 (Importuning); O.R.C. § 2907.08 (Voyeurism); O.R.C. §2907.09 (Public Indecency); O.R.C. § 2907.22-25 (various Prostitution codes); and O.R.C. § 2907.25 (Pandering Obscenity).

See Ohio Revised Code Section 2953.32, Effective April 6, 2023.

Please contact Friedman Nemecek Long & Grant, L.L.C. to discuss how we might assist you in sealing or expunging your conviction(s).