Many of our clients who have been arrested for and/or convicted of a DUI (or operating a motor vehicle while impaired or OVI as the offense is known under Ohio law) often ask whether there is any procedure in Ohio that would permit them to have the record of their DUI conviction expunged. Expungement is a process by which the court file relating to a person’s criminal conviction is sealed and all public records or references relating to the conviction are deleted. Unfortunately, Ohio law prohibits DUI expungements even for a person’s first DUI conviction. This means that potential employers who are thinking of offering a person a job, prospective landlords considering renting an apartment to a person, or anyone who may perform a background check will see that a person has a DUI conviction on his or her criminal record. This could cause someone to lose out on the job of his or her dreams, to rent an apartment, or be approved for a bank loan to purchase a home.
Therefore, it is particularly important that if you have been charged with a DUI around Columbus then you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to ensure that you do not have a permanent criminal record if you are convicted. To effectively deal with your DUI charge call the Columbus DUI defense attorneys of Luftman, Heck & Associates at (614) 500-3836 to discuss your legal situation today.
How Does Expungement of a Criminal Record Work in Ohio?
Under Ohio law, someone who is seeking his or her court record sealed must file an application with the court in which he or she was convicted and sentenced to have his or her criminal record sealed. A judge then rules on this request. If the judge grants the request, the records related to the applicant’s criminal history are deleted from the public record and the court file from the applicant’s conviction(s) are sealed. The sealing process itself means that the records from the applicant’s criminal conviction are physically removed from the general court records and no longer are available to the public. Once the record is sealed, the record of your conviction will not show up on background checks.
Can DUI Convictions be Expunged in Ohio?
Unfortunately, there are certain criminal offenses which specifically are prohibited from being expunged from a person’s criminal record under Ohio law. One of these offenses is a DUI. This is true even if the DUI you were convicted of was your first DUI conviction in Ohio. Therefore, if someone is convicted of a DUI in Ohio, then the record of that conviction can never be sealed. It remains in the public record permanently, no matter the consequences to that person in terms of lost job or other opportunities which may result from having such a conviction on the person’s record.
Ohio’s Habitual OVI Offender Registry
Ohio also has a separate registry which it keeps for those who have been convicted of multiple DUI offenses. This list is known as the Habitual OVI Offender Registry. If a person has been convicted of 4 or more DUI charges over the past 20 years and is charged with and convicted of a fifth DUI offense within that 20-year time frame, then in addition to whatever criminal punishment he or she may receive, his or her name, date of birth, home address, and details regarding each of the person’s DUI convictions will appear on the registry. This information is available to any member of the public who wishes to search for it. A person stays on the registry until he or she no longer has the requisite five convictions over the past 20 years.
The Collateral Effects of DUI Convictions in Columbus
Because it is impossible to have a record of a DUI conviction expunged in Ohio, this makes it doubly important to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you in fighting any DUI charges if you have been arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle while impaired. One reason for this is the collateral consequences of a DUI conviction. Today most employers will not make a job offer to a candidate before having performed a background check. If the employer finds a DUI conviction, then the employer may choose not to extend an offer to the candidate. In addition, most prospective landlords will also perform a criminal background check on potential tenants before agreeing to a lease with a tenant. Thus, being convicted of a DUI can be devastating for a person’s whole life aside from the criminal penalties which the person will face.
Contact the Columbus DUI Defense Attorneys with Luftman, Heck & Associates
The knowledgeable Columbus criminal defense attorneys of Luftman, Heck & Associates have represented thousands of Ohio drivers who have been pulled over for, arrested, and charged with a DUI. At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we are aggressive attorneys who understand the consequences of having a DUI conviction on your criminal record that can never be expunged. If you’re faced with this difficult situation, call the experienced criminal defense attorneys of Luftman, Heck & Associates today at (614) 500-3836 for a free and confidential consultation.
Need Help Sealing Your Criminal Record?
With the help of an experienced, competent Columbus DUI defense attorney, you can be assured of understanding all of your legal rights and options and know that your rights will be protected. The criminal defense team at Luftman, Heck & Associates protects rights of people charged with an OVI / DUI on a daily basis and would be honored to do so for you. To contact us, either call (614) 304-3402 or email [email protected].