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DUI Expungement in Ohio

Expungment means that the record of your conviction will be sealed. Once the record is sealed it can only be inspected by certain people such as law enforcement officers or prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, or the bureau of criminal identification.

Under Ohio law, only first offenders are eligible to appeal to the court to get their conviction expunged. Therefore, if you have been previously convicted of any crime in Ohio or any other state, you are not eligible to apply to have your records sealed. Ohio bars the sealing of records for certain convictions, including DUIs. A DUI conviction can never be expunged in the State of Ohio. This is true even if your first offense was a Driving Under the Influence crime. After being convicted of a DUI you are no longer a first offender. Therefore, the conviction of a DUI always bars expungement of the record of a conviction for a different or additional criminal offense.

However, although your OVI conviction cannot be expunged from your Ohio driving record. Driving Abstracts (the driving record that is available to your insurance company for evaluation of premiums) generally only go back three years.

Because Ohio DUI convictions cannot be expunged or sealed, your conviction is a matter of public record. This can lead to unexpected consequences in matters of:

  • Child custody or transport (DUI conviction can be used against you in family court)
  • Adoption (some agencies won’t let those with DUI convictions adopt children)
  • Car insurance  (your rates can increase drastically if you’ve been convicted of a DUI or , worse, the company can drop you or deny claims)
  • Employment (some companies will terminate employees who are convicted with a DUI)
  • Professional licenses (If the state requires a professional license to do your job [i.e., lawyer, doctor, etc.] then you face additional sanctions upon a DUI conviction)
  • Civil lawsuits (If your DUI results in personal or property damage, you could be victim to civil lawsuits)
  • Military (A DUI conviction could prevent or delay your entrance into the military forces)
  • Education (DUI conviction records are available to the colleges considering you for admission. If you are arrested for driving under the influence on school grounds while enrolled, the college can bring you before a disciplinary committee to face penalties from the school in addition to those you will already be facing in court.)
  • Travel (certain countries will not allow you to enter if you have been convicted of a DUI. For example, after an OVI conviction, Canada will bar you from entry into the country for ten years.)
  • Commercial drivers (your CDL license can be revoked)
  • Enhancement (see Sentence Enhancers above. Also, if you are convicted of driving under the influence within 6 years of a prior DUI conviction then there will be greater penalties.)

Habitual OVI Offender Registry

If you are convicted of an OVI and you have four or more prior OVI convictions in the last 20 years then in addition to the fact that your current OVI charges will be treated as a felony, you will also be placed on the Habitual OVI Offender Registry. If you are placed on this list then your name, date of birth, home address and OVI convictions will all be available to the public. Your information will stay on this list until you no longer have five convictions within the last 20 years. In addition to OVI convictions, there are also “equivalent offenses” that can count as one of the five convictions. These equivalent offenses include: vehicular homicide or aggravated vehicular homicide, driving under the influence of drugs, vehicular assault or aggravated vehicular assault, vehicular manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter with alcohol, OVUAC, physical control offenses, refusal of chemical BAC test during OVI, and commercial driver OVI.


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