Common Misconceptions About Expungement in Ohio
Dispelling Myths: Common Misconceptions About Expungement in Ohio
The process of expungement in Ohio is a powerful legal mechanism that allows individuals with criminal records to seal or erase certain convictions. However, misconceptions surrounding expungement often lead to confusion and missed opportunities for those seeking a fresh start. Let’s debunk some common myths and set the record straight on expungement in Ohio.
Myth: Expungement Erases All Criminal Records Completely.
Fact: Expungement does not entirely erase criminal records. Instead, it seals them from public view, making them inaccessible to most employers and background checks. Law enforcement agencies and some government entities may still have access to sealed records.
Myth: Expungement Guarantees Automatic Approval.
Fact: The expungement process in Ohio is not guaranteed, and approval depends on various factors, including the type and severity of the offense, completion of the waiting period, and the individual’s overall conduct since the conviction.
Myth: All Criminal Offenses Are Eligible for Expungement.
Fact: While many offenses are eligible for expungement, certain serious crimes, such as violent felonies and sex offenses, may not be eligible. It’s crucial to understand the specific eligibility criteria outlined in Ohio law.
Myth: Expungement Can Happen Immediately After Completing a Sentence.
Fact: Ohio law stipulates waiting periods before individuals can pursue expungement. Misdemeanors typically have shorter waiting periods than felonies, and individuals must demonstrate rehabilitation during this time.
Myth: Expungement Automatically Restores Firearm Rights.
Fact: Expungement does not automatically restore firearm rights in Ohio. Separate legal proceedings may be required for individuals seeking to regain the right to own or possess firearms.
Myth: Expungement Is Only for First-Time Offenders.
Fact: Expungement is not exclusive to first-time offenders. Multiple offenses can be expunged, but the waiting periods and eligibility criteria may vary based on the nature and severity of the convictions.
Myth: Expunged Records Are Destroyed Permanently.
Fact: Expunged records are not destroyed; they are sealed from public access. If a person is subsequently charged with a new offense, the sealed records may be used by the court in determining the appropriate sentence.
Myth: Expungement Is Too Complicated and Expensive.
Fact: While the expungement process involves legal complexities, individuals can navigate it with the help of an attorney. Some jurisdictions may offer legal aid services to those who cannot afford private representation.
Myth: Expungement Is Only for Young Offenders.
Fact: Expungement is available to individuals of any age, provided they meet the eligibility criteria. Age is not a determining factor; rather, it is the nature of the offense and the individual’s rehabilitation efforts that matter.
Myth: Expungement Is Pointless Because Employers Can Still Find Sealed Records.
Fact: Expungement significantly reduces the likelihood of employers accessing sealed records during background checks. While no process is foolproof, expungement offers a substantial opportunity for individuals to secure employment without the burden of past convictions.
Dispelling these common misconceptions about expungement in Ohio is crucial for individuals seeking a fresh start. Understanding the nuances of the expungement process empowers individuals to make informed decisions, correct misinformation, and pursue the legal avenues available to build a brighter future. Contact Mishak Law today to start your Expungement case.