Can My Driving Record Be Sealed in Ohio?

Driving record sealed

Maybe in the past, you had a bit of a lead foot. Maybe the court had a warrant out for your arrest because you failed to appear for a hearing on your seatbelt charge. Whatever the case may be, you may wonder, “Can I get that cleared up so no one can see it?”

It’s a tricky question, but the answer is no, but sometimes yes.

Here’s everything you need to know about sealing records in Ohio and how to get the help you need.

Expunging Vs. Sealing Records in Ohio: What’s the Difference? 

Though used interchangeably, expunging and sealing records are two different legal processes. Expungement refers to the actual destruction and erasing of criminal records, and in Ohio, this process does not apply to adult criminal records.

On the other hand, sealing records hides the criminal record from public view—making it inaccessible to potential employers on a background check, for instance. But for most people struggling with the consequences of a criminal record, sealing their record will be the only source of relief.

Luckily, the state recently updated Ohio expungement law, allowing more offenses to qualify for sealing.

What Offenses Can Be Sealed Under the New Records Law?

In general, Ohio residents can have up to five non-violent and non-sexual, fourth- or fifth-degree (F4 or F5) felonies sealed and an unlimited number of nonsexual and nonviolent misdemeanor charges sealed.

Convictions that will NOT be eligible for sealing under Ohio law include: 

  • First and second-degree (F1 or F2) felony criminal convictions
  • Violent offenses (homicide, assault, kidnapping, etc.)
  • Any sexual offenses
  • Traffic offenses involving driving under the influence (DUI or OVI), driving under suspension, tampering, street-racing or hit-and-run
  • Any other traffic offenses

For any misdemeanor offenses, you’ll need to wait one year after completing your sentence and paying all fines before you apply to seal your record. For felony criminal charges, the timeline depends on the number of offenses you need to seal. 

The main reason why traffic offenses are not eligible for sealing is that most aren’t considered criminal convictions and, as such, don’t show on your criminal record. On the other hand, they will show on your permanent driving record, which can affect you just as much. 

Need to Clean Up Your Driving Record? Call Botnick Law Firm. 

In the end, your best option is to work with an Ohio expungement lawyer.

Yes—in Ohio, a number of offenses can be sealed or expunged from your record. Unfortunately, driver’s license violations and motor vehicle violations aren’t one of them.

Driving offenses become part of your permanent driving record, they can never be expunged (this includes OVI/DUI). But there may be an exception to the rule.

With some cooperation from the court and an agreeable prosecutor, we may be able to bypass the bars set up by the legislature to allow you the ability to expunge your old traffic conviction. If you want to learn more about how this could be done, contact The Botnick Law Firm and see how we can help you clear up your past.

Author Bio

Botnick Law Firm

Robert Botnick is CEO and Managing Partner of Botnick Law Firm, a criminal defense law firm in Cleveland, OH. With more than 19 years of experience in criminal defense, he has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including DUIs, misdemeanors, felonies, domestic violence, and other criminal charges.

Robert received his Juris Doctor from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University and is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including the Best DUI Lawyers in Cleveland award by

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