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People often talk about sealing or expunging records.  Sealing records means officially preventing access to particular records except under very limited circumstances.  Expunging records means to destroy particular records.  In Ohio, records in criminal cases cannot be expunged but sometimes can be sealed.

The court considers several things at the hearing to seal records of conviction:

  • whether the applicant is an eligible offender
  • whether criminal proceedings are pending against the applicant
  • whether the applicant has been rehabilitated 
  • the prosecutor’s objections, if any
  • the interests of the applicant in having the records sealed against any legitimate needs of the government to maintain the records

If the court is satisfied after considering all of these factors, the court shall order the official records of the case sealed. In that case the proceedings in the original case will be treated as if they never happened.  

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Sealing Records