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Ohio Law Allows Victims of Human Trafficking To Expunge Loitering, Soliciting and Prostitution Convictions

The Safe Harbor Bill, H.B. 262, established Revised Code § 2953.38 entitled "Expungement of certain crimes for victims of human trafficking" allowing victims of human trafficking to expunge convictions for violation of:

  • R.C. § 2907.24 entitled "Soliciting - after positive HIV test - driver's license suspension";
  • R.C. § 2907.241 entitled "Loitering to engage in solicitation - solicitation after HIV test"; and
  • R.C. § 2907.25 entitled "Prostitution - after positive HIV test".

R.C. § 2953.38(A) defines "expunge" to mean "to destroy, delete, or erase a record as appropriate for the record's physical or electronic form or characteristic so that the record is permanently irretrievable."

A human trafficking victim filing for expungement for a conviction for any of the above-listed offenses may file an application at any time.  Pursuant to R.C. § 2953.38(B)(1-3), the expungement application must:

  • Identify the applicant, the offense for which the expungement is sought, the date of the conviction of that offense, and the court in which the conviction occurred;
  • Describe the evidence and provide copies of any documentation showing that the person is entitled to relief under this section;
  • Include a request for expungement of the record of conviction of that offense under this section.

The court shall set a hearing date and notify the prosecutor for the case from which the record of conviction resulted.  Prior to the hearing, the prosecutor may file an objection to the granting of the application specifying the reasons for denial of the application.  R.C. § 2953.38(D).

If after the hearing the court finds that the applicant has proven by a preponderance of the evidence that the applicant's conviction was the result of human trafficking, the court shall grant the application and order the record of conviction expunged.  R.C. § 2953.38(F).

If you or someone you care about was a victim of human trafficking and were convicted of prostitution-related offenses contact Michael C. Hennenberg to schedule a consultation.

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