(1) "Eligible offender" means either of the following:
(a) Anyone who has been convicted of one or more offenses, but not more than five felonies, in this state or any other jurisdiction, if all of the offenses in this state are felonies of the fourth or fifth degree or misdemeanors and none of those offenses are an offense of violence or a felony sex offense and all of the offenses in another jurisdiction, if committed in this state, would be felonies of the fourth or fifth degree or misdemeanors and none of those offenses would be an offense of violence or a felony sex offense;
(b) Anyone who has been convicted of an offense in this state or any other jurisdiction, to whom division (A)(1)(a) of this section does not apply, and who has not more than one felony conviction, not more than two misdemeanor convictions, or not more than one felony conviction and one misdemeanor conviction in this state or any other jurisdiction. When two or more convictions result from or are connected with the same act or result from offenses committed at the same time, they shall be counted as one conviction. When two or three convictions result from the same indictment, information, or complaint, from the same plea of guilty, or from the same official proceeding, and result from related criminal acts that were committed within a three-month period but do not result from the same act or from offenses committed at the same time, they shall be counted as one conviction, provided that a court may decide as provided in division (C)(1)(a) of section 2953.32 of the Revised Code that it is not in the public interest for the two or three convictions to be counted as one conviction.
(2) For purposes of, and except as otherwise provided in, division (A)(1)(b) of this section, a conviction for a minor misdemeanor, for a violation of any section in Chapter 4507., 4510., 4511., 4513., or 4549. of the Revised Code, or for a violation of a municipal ordinance that is substantially similar to any section in those chapters is not a conviction. However, a conviction for a violation of section 4511.19, 4511.251, 4549.02, 4549.021, 4549.03, 4549.042, or 4549.62 or sections 4549.41 to 4549.46 of the Revised Code, for a violation of section 4510.11 or 4510.14 of the Revised Code that is based upon the offender's operation of a vehicle during a suspension imposed under section 4511.191 or 4511.196 of the Revised Code, for a violation of a substantially equivalent municipal ordinance, for a felony violation of Title XLV of the Revised Code, or for a violation of a substantially equivalent former law of this state or former municipal ordinance shall be considered a conviction.
(B) "Prosecutor" means the county prosecuting attorney, city director of law, village solicitor, or similar chief legal officer, who has the authority to prosecute a criminal case in the court in which the case is filed.
(C) "Bail forfeiture" means the forfeiture of bail by a defendant who is arrested for the commission of a misdemeanor, other than a defendant in a traffic case as defined in Traffic Rule 2, if the forfeiture is pursuant to an agreement with the court and prosecutor in the case.
(D) "Official records" has the same meaning as in division (D) of section 2953.51 of the Revised Code.
(E) "Official proceeding" has the same meaning as in section 2921.01 of the Revised Code.
(F) "Community control sanction" has the same meaning as in section 2929.01 of the Revised Code.
(G) "Post-release control" and "post-release control sanction" have the same meanings as in section 2967.01 of the Revised Code.
(H) "DNA database," "DNA record," and "law enforcement agency" have the same meanings as in section 109.573 of the Revised Code.
(I) "Fingerprints filed for record" means any fingerprints obtained by the superintendent of the bureau of criminal identification and investigation pursuant to sections 109.57 and 109.571 of the Revised Code.
In order to apply for a sealing of a record, one must wait for the defined amount according to the offense:
Misdemeanor – One (1) year after the completion of the sentence.
Felony – Three (3) years after the completion of a sentence.
Ignored case – Two (2) years after Grand Jury report ignoring case.
Dismissal or Acquittal – No waiting period.
$50 non-refundable fee for convictions
No fee for non-convictions
Note: Persons applying for a sealing of a criminal record or expungement should consult with their attorney for advice if needed.
Guidelines for Common Pleas Court Expungement:
Begin by completing an Expungement Application form which is available: x In person from the Clerk of Courts office located in the Hamilton County Courthouse, 1000 Main Street, Room 315, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202. x Via mail by calling the Expungement Department at (513) 946-5697. x Or you may download the form here: Expungement Application: https://www.courtclerk.org/forms/expungement.pdf
Fee: If you are requesting the expungement of a non-conviction, no fee is required and you should proceed to step 3. Otherwise, you must pay a $50.00 non-refundable fee to the Clerk of Courts located in the Hamilton County Courthouse, 1000 Main Street, Room 315, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202. The telephone number is (513) 946-5697. However, if you indicate to the clerk that you cannot afford the $50.00 fee, an Affidavit of Indigency form will be given to you for completion or you may download the form here: Affidavit of Indigency: https://www.courtclerk.org/forms/indigency.pdf
If your request for expungement is granted and you have filed an Affidavit of Indigency, but the judge finds you are NOT indigent, sealing of your record will not take place until the $50.00 fee is paid. If your request for expungement is granted and the judge finds you are indigent, the record will be sealed without payment of a fee.
The Application to Expunge will be set for consideration by the judge before whom you originally appeared. The expungement request is usually scheduled for hearing in about four (4) to six (6) weeks. You will receive a postcard from the Hamilton County Assignment Commissioner’s office informing you where and when to appear. Pending the hearing, your application is checked by the Probation Department for initial eligibility. Be sure to respond promptly to any request for information from the Probation Department. The Probation Department reports its findings to the judge for consideration at the expungement hearing. If you do not respond to the Probation Department, it is likely the department will report that you do not qualify for expungement.
If you are unable to appear for your scheduled hearing and you are being represented by counsel, contact your attorney as soon as possible. If you are filing pro se (representing yourself without an attorney), contact the courtroom directly to reschedule your hearing. You may access the Common Pleas courtroom numbers here: (add hot button to Court of Common Pleas Judges). Or you may contact the Assignment Commissioner’s office at (513) 946-5930.
If your request for expungement is granted, you MUST return the SIGNED Entry to the Expungement Department in the Clerk of Courts’ office in room 315 of the Courthouse. IF THE ENTRY IS NOT RETURNED, YOUR CASE CANNOT BE EXPUNGED.
Guidelines for Municipal Court Expungement:
An individual may be eligible for the expungement process if he/she meets the following criteria:
The applicant is an “eligible offender”. An eligible offender" is defined as anyone who has been convicted of an offense in this state or any other jurisdiction and who has not more than one felony conviction, not more than two misdemeanor convictions, or not more than one felony conviction and one misdemeanor conviction in this state or any other jurisdiction.
One year must have passed from the last date of action on a Municipal case. For example, if placed on probation, one year must have passed from the termination date of probation or if it was a pay out ticket or fines and costs, one year must have passed from the date the fines/costs were paid.
There can be no charges pending before the Court in Hamilton County or elsewhere.
Under section 2953-31 thru 2953-36, an individual may not be eligible for expungement if:
The conviction is a DUI, Leaving the Scene, Drag Racing, or any other serious traffic offense. These offenses will also disqualify the applicant from obtaining an expungement of any criminal conviction.
The applicant has been charged with a first-degree misdemeanor of a violent offense, which includes Domestic Violence (2919.25); Sexual Imposition (2907.06); Aggravated Menacing (2903.21); Menacing by Stalking (2903.211); Escape (2921.34); Arson (2909.03).
Any first degree misdemeanor in which the victim was under the age of 18 years (including Endangering/ Neglect Child).
EXPUNGEMENT APPLICATION INFORMATION
A non-refundable $50 filing fee is to be paid at the Criminal Clerk’s office at the time of application for expungement of a Conviction. No filing fee is required for Acquittals or Dismissals. The defendant must go to the Assignment Commissioner, Room 117, to get the court date.
If an individual is indigent, a Motion of Indigency must be filed with the Assignment Commissioner, Room 117, of the Justice Center.
A court appearance is required for an expungement.
DESPITE THE ABOVE GUIDELINES, WHICH ARE PROVIDED TO ASSIST THOSE WHO ARE APPLYING FOR CRIMINAL CASE EXPUNGEMENTS, THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES THAT AN EXPUNGEMENT WILL BE GRANTED. THE CASE-BY-CASE DECISION TO ORDER AN EXPUNGEMENT IS THAT OF THE JUDGE ASSIGNED AND NO ONE ELSE.
THE HAMILTON COUNTY CLERK OF COURTS CANNOT MAKE A DETERMINATION OF WHETHER THE DEFENDANT IS ELIGIBLE FOR EXPUNGEMENT. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS IN REGARD TO THIS MATTER, YOU MAY CONSULT AN ATTORNEY OR REVIEW O.R.C. 2953-31 TO 2953-36.