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Sealing criminal records

As mentioned recently on this blog, the penalties associated to a conviction for various criminal charges, including drug crimes, can be life changing. A criminal record prevents a person from moving on with their life and becoming a productive member of society, even if they have paid back their debt to society. A single blemish on someone's record can prevent a person from getting a job, living in certain locales and applying from certain jobs. It doesn't get any better as time goes on -- in fact the frustration of not being able to move about freely and earn a living might be enough to turn a person back to a life of crime.

In Ohio, it might be possible for certain individuals to have their records sealed. Where expungement refers to erasing a criminal record, in Ohio, it is simply sealed. This means records or copies of criminal charges are kept separate and secure. Generally, employers and landlords are unable to access a sealed record, though it does depend on what type of job one is applying for. These records can also be accessed by prosecutors and judges in case there are further criminal investigations against the individual.

Not all criminal convictions can be sealed. In order to get it sealed, the person must not have more than two misdemeanor convictions or one misdemeanor and one felony conviction. Additionally, in order to apply for sealing the record, the person must have completed any jail or prison sentence, must have paid all the costs and restitution they were ordered to pay and must have completed probation they were supposed to.

Getting one's convictions sealed can go a long way in improving the quality of one's life. To ensure one is eligible to do so, it might be beneficial to consult an experienced attorney. Once one's debt is repaid to society a conviction can only remind one of the mistakes of their past, rather than allow them to move past it.

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