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Marijuana Law: Ohio and Federal: Expungement of Convictions


Ohio criminal laws have been reformed by Senate Bill 288 which took effect on April 4, 2023. Timing for sealing:

Bail forfeiture: any time/immediately after the forfeiture
Minor misdemeanor: 6 months after final discharge
Misdemeanors (M1-M4): 1 year after final discharge
Felony: F4/F5 are 1 year after final discharge, and F3 is 3 years after final discharge
Dismissal: any time/ immediately after the dismissal
No bills: 2 years after no bill is entered
Finding of Not Guilty: any time/immediately after the finding is entered
Conviction that subjects defendant to the Sex Offender Registry: 5 years after registration requirement ends 
Soliciting improper compensation (2921.43): 7 years after final discharge

The most remarkable addition of SB 288 is that for the first time in Ohio’s history, people will have the opportunity to have a true “Expungement”, in addition to the existing process for “Sealing of Records”. Before the passage of Ohio’s new law, the courts and the legal community commonly referred to the process for removing criminal records from a person’s background as “Expungement” or “Sealing.” Ohio had just one process, but these terms were used interchangeably to refer to the same process for criminal record removal.

Ohio’s new law will distinguish between Expungement and Sealing and their effect. A “Sealed Record” is removed from all public records, and the public no longer has access to the criminal record, including anyone who pulls a background check – employers, landlords, etc. However, a sealed record is still maintained by the government for access for limited purposes. An “Expungement” shall delete, destroy, and erase a record so that the record is permanently irretrievable. While there are some exceptions for access to expunged records, there is far less access to Expunged records compared to Sealed records. 

Franklin County is fortunate to have the Franklin County Municipal Court Self Help Resource Center helping with expungements.

Ohio Expungement Statute

Where to Go for Free Legal Advice in Franklin County




The Franklin County Municipal Court's Sealing and Expungement Office is located on the 2nd Floor of 375 S. High Street, Columbus, Ohio. The phone number is (614) 645-1706. An expungement application form can be obtained from that office. The filing fee is $50 for sealing a conviction. No filing fee for sealing a dismissal.