Do I Need an Attorney to Expunge or Seal my Criminal Record in Ohio?
UPDATED: March 10, 2020
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Though the process for getting your criminal record sealed and expunged in Ohio is more straightforward than it is in many other states, straightforward does not mean easy. Youï¿½ll want to pursue the services of an experienced Ohio criminal attorney if you find yourself in any of these situations:
1) You have any doubts whatsoever about your eligibility for sealing and expungement. Remember, applying is a costly and involved process.
2) Your first offender status is complex (e.g. you have more than one conviction connected to the same criminal offense) and/or you think you may need help or advice arguing against the objections of the prosecutor. Also, remember that you can only have one conviction record expunged (this is true in almost every state). So if there is any room for choice in this area, your attorney will be able to find it and will help you make the right decision for your interests.
3) You simply want a legal expert you can rely on and hold accountable during this process. No matter how black and white the petitioning requirements seem, the particulars of your case may very well be the grey in between ï¿½ and there is no sense taking chances on something like this. If you can imagine a scenario where you may need help or advice convincing the court against the objections of law enforcement, you should hire an attorney.
4) Perhaps most importantly, youï¿½ll want to hire an attorney if you think having a visible and public criminal record will damage your life in any major way. Unfortunately, you may already be familiar with the havoc that a criminal record can wreak on all areas of your life, including job hiring, promotions, finding an apartment or getting a mortgage, and having access to education and financial aid programs. Consider how important these areas are to you: if any of them are critical to you getting your life on the track that you want it, then having an expert in your corner while fighting for this expungement should also be critical. Attorneys are held accountable to you and to the court system for a reason: they know the system inside and out, and they are the only ones who are equipped to use it to your maximum benefit. If anyone can get this done for you, it is a qualified and experienced Ohio criminal record expungement attorney.
If cost is an important obstacle in seeking an attorney, just remember two things. First, many attorneysï¿½ fees are negotiable, or they may work on a contingent fee basis, meaning that they get zero dollars unless and until you succeed in getting your records sealed. Second, having a criminal record can profoundly impact your life, but having that same criminal record erased will impact you just as profoundly, if not more so. These are complicated and stressful times for everyone; while trying to make a living for yourself and your family, think about what your life would be like if that old criminal record weighing heavily on you suddenly disappeared. What would your life be like if you could live it as though that record never even existed? Maximize your chances of making it happen: talk to a skilled Ohio criminal lawyer today.
For more information on Ohio expungements, see the following articles: