Anyone who’s ever been convicted felony knows how hard it can be to find a job. A new Ohio law is giving convicted felons a chance to have their criminal convictions expunged and their records sealed, the Plain Dealer reported.
The old law allowed only one expungement to be removed from one’s record. The new law allows for two expungements: a felony and a misdemeanor or two misdemeanors, as long as the misdemeanors are not for the same crime. Hundreds of Ohio residents have already taken advantage of the new law.
Additionally, the law allows for individuals who were accused but not convicted of a crime, or had their charges dismissed, to have their records sealed.
“It’s broadened the base for low-income individuals to have access to work,” attorney Melanie Shakarian of the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland told the Plain Dealer.
According to the Plain Dealer, “Cuyahoga County has had an uptick in the number of expungements granted this year, Clerk of Courts Andrea Rocco reports. There were 1,094 expungements granted in 2012 compared with 569 in just over four months of this year.”
The law does not apply to all types of convictions. Violent or sexually-related crimes and DUIs are not eligible for expungement.
Legal Aid is walking convicted criminals through the process, which includes an application and a $50 filing fee.
In 2011, Legal Aid received more than 500 requests for expungements. In 2012, that number nearly doubled.
If the expungement is approved, the records are erased from police databases and court websites, though individuals will need to contact credit reporting agencies to have the conviction removed from their records.