What Offenses Qualify for Federal Felony Expungement?

Written By: Moermond & Mulligan, LLC

Last Updated: 03-13-2024

Posted on Monday, February 12th, 2024 at 2:55 pm    

What Offenses Qualify for Federal Felony Expungement

A criminal record can change your life, hindering your ability to find employment, housing, and educational opportunities. A felony conviction crushes your personal and professional reputation and can significantly hurt you financially. Is there any way to get your life back on track after a felony conviction in Ohio? The answer may be expungement. Unfortunately, most people don’t understand what offenses qualify for federal felony expungement in Ohio.

At Moermond & Mulligan, LLC, our experienced Cincinnati criminal defense team wants to help you understand the criminal justice process and what offenses qualify an individual to seek an expungement.

What Is Expungement?

What is expungement, and how can it get your life back on track after a felony conviction in Ohio? Expunging means to erase or remove. In legal terminology, expungement is the legal process of sealing an individual’s criminal record, essentially “removing” it and making it appear as if the conviction never occurred. Expungement is not forgiveness. It is instead a process that “hides” a person’s criminal background.

A previous criminal conviction cannot be located by anyone searching public or criminal records if an individual successfully obtains an expungement. It gives individuals a clean slate where potential employers, creditors, and landlords cannot see the offense when conducting standard background checks. Following an expungement, an individual no longer must disclose their conviction on applications or in interviews.

While expungement offers individuals the chance to start fresh again, certain entities can still access their criminal history under specific conditions.

What Offenses Qualify for Federal Felony Expungement?

Contrary to widespread belief, a criminal conviction doesn’t fall off your record after a certain period. To rid yourself of your criminal conviction record, you must seek expungement. However, only specific individuals qualify to apply for an expungement. Applicants must not have an open or pending criminal case against them to qualify. That includes active warrants and open traffic violations.

Additionally, applicants can only apply once they meet the waiting period guidelines. The clock begins on the final discharge date, which means a person’s sentence has been fully completed. All sentence provisions must be completed, and all fines and restitution must be paid. Many felony conviction applicants must wait ten years after they are eligible for expungement.

What criminal records are not eligible for expungement? Those convicted of specific felony criminal offenses cannot pursue expungement. Those include:

  • First and second-degree felonies like murder, rape, kidnapping, and violent offenses
  • When an applicant has more than two third-degree felonies
  • Convictions for domestic violence
  • Convictions for crimes against minors under 13
  • Convictions for sex crimes where the person is still required to register as a sex offender
  • Traffic offenses

Individuals who faced charges but received a not guilty verdict or those whose case faced dismissal by the court may also apply to have their records sealed by filling out an application with the court.

How to Expunge a Criminal Record

What Offenses Qualify for Federal Felony ExpungementIf you meet Ohio’s eligibility criteria, you can submit an application requesting an expungement. To start the process, you must apply to the court where the conviction occurred and pay all the applicable fees.

The court holds a hearing, and prosecutors and victims can lodge objections. The applicant must attend the hearing and present their case to the court, explaining why they want their record sealed. It can also help the individual to demonstrate how they have taken proactive steps to rehabilitate themselves. A judge reviews the evidence and issues a decision.

Recently, Ohio lawmakers finalized work on a criminal justice reform bill that, in part, makes it easier and cheaper for individuals to erase their criminal record. The legislation aimed to simplify and shorten the legal process of expungement. It gives Ohio residents a path forward so their criminal past won’t continue to hurt their chances of obtaining meaningful employment, housing, and educational opportunities.

Get Help from an Experienced Cincinnati Criminal Defense Lawyer

Applying for expungement of a felony record can still feel overwhelming, even with new laws. An experienced Cincinnati criminal defense attorney at Moermond & Mulligan, LLC can help you navigate the process and put you on a new path. You deserve another chance to rebuild your life. Let us help you by advocating for you during the expungement process.

For help with an expungement, call our Cincinnati office today at (513) 421-9790 and schedule a confidential care review. A new life awaits.