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New Ohio Law Makes It Easier For People With Criminal Convictions to Get A Job By Lifting Collateral Sanctions

Our October 8, 2012 blog post discussed recent changes in Ohio's expungement law. Contemperaneous to expanding expungement eligibility, the Ohio legislature added the concept of a Certificate of Qualification for Employment ("CQE").  R.C. §2953.25 now allows individuals with a criminal conviction who thereby are barred from certain types of employment  to file a Petition for a CQE to lift the "collateral sanction" that stops them from being considered for certain types of employment such as a Casino Gaming employee, Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical Nurse, Dentist, Optometrist and Real Estate Broker.

Casino Gaming Employee

            For example, pursuant to O.R.C. §3772.07, an individual cannot obtain a "Casino Gaming Employee license" if a criminal records check discloses an individual has been convicted of or has pleaded guilty or no contest to the following disqualifying offenses, "any gambling offense, any theft offense, any offense having an element of fraud or misrepresentation, any offense having an element of moral turpitude, and any felony not otherwise included in the foregoing list".

Registered Nurse and Licensed Practical Nurse

            Pursuant to O.R.C. §4723.09, an individual applying for a nursing license cannot have been convicted of, pleaded guilty to, or have a judicial finding of guilt for homicide, sex offenses or other crimes of violence in Ohio or any state, in the United States or abroad.

            The Ohio Board of Nursing may also deny any application for licensure of an individual who has pleaded guilty to, been convicted of, or had a judicial finding of guilt for any felony, crime involving gross immorality or moral turpitude, misdemeanor drug law violation, or misdemeanor committed in the course of practice. 

            O.R.C. §2953.25 defines "collateral sanction" as:

"A penalty, disability, or disadvantage that is related to employment or occupational licensing, however denominated, as a result of the individual's conviction of or plea of guilty to an offense and that applies by operation of law in this state whether or not the penalty, disability, or disadvantage is included in the sentence or judgment imposed.  Collateral sanction does not include imprisonment, probation, parole, supervised release, forfeiture, restitution, fine, assessment, or costs of production."

The statute creates a waiting period before an individual can file a CQE petition. After final discharge of their sentence, an individual can file a CQE petition after one (1) year for a felony and six (6) months for a misdemeanor.

            If an individual was sentenced to prison, the CQE petition is initially filed with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections' Deputy Director of the Division of Parole and Community Services ("DRC"), once the petition is deemed complete, the CQE petition is filed with the individual's residing county's Court of Common Pleas.  If the individual was not sentenced to prison, the CQE petition is only filed with the individual's residing Court of Common Pleas.

            The CQE petition must include the following information:

·      Name, date of birth, and Social Security number;

·      All aliases and Social Security numbers associated with those aliases;

·      Residence address, including city, county, state and zip code;

·      Length of time of Ohio residency, expressed in years and months;

·      The name or type of each collateral sanction from which the individual is requesting a CQE;

·      Criminal history summary for the offenses leading to the employment or licensing disqualification;

·      Employment history summary;

·      Verifiable references and endorsements;

·      Names of friends and family who support the CQE petition; and

·      Explanation of why petition should be granted.

The may issue the CQE if the individual has established, by a preponderance of the evidence, the granting of the petition will help in obtaining employment, a substantial need in order to live a law-abiding life and that they will not pose an unreasonable risk to the safety of the public or any individual. The issuance of a CQE by the Court lifts the automatic bar of a collateral sanction.

If you or someone who cares about you has any questions regarding eligibility to clean up a person's involvement with the Criminal Justice System, please contact Attorney Michael C. Hennenberg to schedule a consultation.

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