An Ohio court of appeals last week decided in State v. Dominy, No. 13AP-124, 2013-Ohio-3744, that a weight violation is a traffic offense—and should not count as a conviction for purposes of Ohio’s record sealing statute.
In 1998, the defendant entered a guilty plea to one count of attempted trafficking in cocaine, a fourth-degree felony. He was found guilty and sentenced to two years of community control.
In 2012, the defendant filed a motion seeking to have the records of that conviction sealed under R.C. 2953.32. The state objected, arguing that the defendant was not eligible to have the records sealed because he had more than one felony and more than one misdemeanor conviction.
Specifically, in addition to the felony drug conviction, he had a disorderly conduct conviction, a fourth-degree misdemeanor, and multiple violations of R.C. 5577.04(A)— which regulates the weights of vehicles on public highways.
The defendant argued that the weight convictions were traffic-related offenses—and should not count as convictions for purposes of determining whether he is eligible to have his records sealed.
Under Ohio’s sealing statute, an offender eligible for sealing is anyone who has been convicted of an offense who has:
- Not more than one felony conviction and
- One misdemeanor conviction in this state.
Certain traffic related convictions do not count as a conviction for purposes of the sealing statue. For example, the following offenses do not count as convictions:
- Violations relating to administrative drivers license concerns;
- Violations relating to traffic controls and signs;
- Equipment violations and load limitations;
- Driving under a Financial Responsibility Suspension (FRA suspension)
- Failing to register a vehicle
- General motor vehicle crimes.
On the other hand, offenses that do count as convictions under the statute include more serious traffic offenses, such as:
- Operating a vehicle while intoxicated;
- Street racing;
- Hit and run;
- Sale or possession of master car keys for illegal purposes;
- Identification number fraud;
- Odometer fraud; and
- Driving under suspension.
The Court analyzed these examples and concluded that weight violations are similar to traffic offenses—and do not count as convictions for purposes of the sealing statute. If you are interested in having your Ohio convictions sealed, contact our Ohio expungement attorneys to discuss the details of your case.