The Record Sealing Process

Record Sealing in Portage County Ohio

Formerly known as Expungement in the State of Ohio, this court procedure is now termed Record Sealing, and is governed by the Ohio Revised Code in Sections 2953.31 through 2953.61. The new Ohio Record Sealing law went into effect just recently on September 28, 2012, and makes significant changes in Ohio Expungement law.

Our attorneys can review your case to assess your chances of getting your record sealed. They will develop a personalized expungement action plan, assisting you from the initial meeting through court appearances, and the final order of expungement.

Their knowledge of the record sealing proceedings and their advocacy in the courtroom can provide you with the appropriate strategy and persuasion you need to convince the court to grant your application.

What is Record Sealing or Expungement?

It is a legal process that you can apply for through the court that allows you to have any and all references to your prior criminal conviction cleared and your file sealed. It is just as if you were never convicted of the crime. Sealed records then are no longer public records, and will not ordinarily show up in criminal record background checks.

What are the Benefits of Record Sealing?

Having a conviction on your record makes it less likely that you will be hired for a job, promoted, approved for housing, or be able to obtain grants or certain licenses. If you appear in any court as a witness, the opposing party may ask you about your past criminal record, calling your credibility and your testimony into question.

Be aware, however, that even if your criminal record is sealed it may possibly be accessed by law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, judges and select other agencies, especially if you commit another crime and are facing sentencing.

After a conviction record is sealed, you no longer need to list the conviction on employment applications. Once your criminal record is expunged (sealed) you can legally and truthfully answer that you have no record. It's as if the arrest and conviction never took place. There are a few exceptions under Ohio's Record Sealing law, namely involving day care centers, schools, hospitals, nursing homes and certain government positions.

How Long do you Have to Wait Before you Can Apply to Have your Record Sealed?

For a misdemeanor criminal conviction, you need to wait one year after the final discharge from your court sentence. For a felony criminal conviction you need to wait three years after the final discharge from your court sentence. A final discharge for record sealing purposes takes place once you have: (1) served any court-ordered jail time, parole or probation; (2) completed all required community service; (3) paid all fines and court costs; and (4) finished all other court-ordered obligations of your court sentence.

Is the Record Sealing Procedure Free?

No. The filing fee for an expungement in Portage County is $50. This applies to misdemeanor Municipal Courts expungements in either Ravenna Municipal Court or Kent Municipal Court, as well as felony expungements in Portage County Common Pleas Court in Ravenna. You must pre-pay the expungement filing fee when you or your expungement lawyer files the application for Record Sealing with appropriate Clerk of Courts.

What are the Legal Fees for an Attorney to Handle your Expungement?

Our law firm handles Record Sealing petitions for a flat fee, depending on the court where your record needs sealed.

Our fee covers the preparation, drafting and filing of the Record Sealing petition as well as attendance at one court appearance, which is usually the only court appearance required.

If there are complications, or multiple court appearances required, additional fees would then apply. If there are additional fees beyond the initial retainer, the client would be advised before the fee is charged.

Contact our Firm for a Free Consultation

Contact Attorney Christopher Langholz or Mary Santez at 330-296-8000 (Ravenna Office), or 330-686-2890 (Stow Office) for a quote right over the phone and to discuss how we can help you with your expungement. We can also answer any questions you may have about whether you meet the qualifications.


The website is designed for general information only. Any information on this site is not to be construed as formal legal advice from a criminal defense lawyer, a DUI lawyer, a family law lawyer or wills, probate, trusts and estate planning lawyer, nor formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Persons accessing this site are encouraged to seek personal advice regarding their individual legal issues.

The attorneys in our law firm primarily service Portage County courts (Ravenna and Kent), and Summit County courts (Akron, Stow, Barberton). Cases in all other courts in North East Ohio, including Cuyahoga County courts (Cleveland, Garfield Heights, Bedford, Parma, Rocky River etc...) are handled under specific terms and conditions.