Georgia Expungement Lawyer
Having a criminal record comes with far-reaching consequences. It can, for instance, make it difficult to find housing, secure employment, or qualify for federal aid. Fortunately, in Georgia it is possible to have one’s criminal record in expunged, although doing so can be difficult, so if you were arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a crime, you should contact an experienced Georgia expungement lawyer who can walk you through the process of sealing your record.
Non-Conviction Record Restriction
In 2013, Georgia courts started referring to the sealing of one’s criminal record, not as expungement, but as record restriction. Like expungement, however, restricting a criminal record means that all records of a person’s criminal history will be hidden from public view and only accessible to law enforcement agencies. Under Georgia law, a person can seek restriction of his or her criminal record in a few specific situations, the first of which is in cases that are closed without conviction. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. If, for instance, a charge was dismissed because a person submitted a guilty plea to another charge in the same case, he or she would not be eligible for restriction. Individuals who were charged with a felony crime, but convicted of an unrelated misdemeanor, on the other hand, could still qualify for record restriction.
Youthful Offender Record Restriction
Individuals who were convicted of certain misdemeanor offenses before turning 21 years old also qualify for the restriction of their criminal record. To qualify for expungement in these situations, a person must:
- Have successfully completed his or her sentence; and
- Be able to prove that he or she wasn’t charged with any other offenses in the preceding five years.
Restriction, however, is not available to juvenile offenders who are convicted of certain offenses, including driving under the influence, vehicular homicide, theft, possession of child pornography, and sexual assault.
Non-Violent Criminal History Record Restriction
As a result of a bill passed this fall, residents of Georgia with non-violent criminal histories now have the right to seek expungement of their records after exhibiting good behavior. A number of charges, including sex crimes don’t qualify for expungement under this option.
In Georgia, certain criminal records are restricted automatically. For instance, if a person never had to appear in court after being released from jail, the record of that arrest will be restricted after a certain amount of time has passed. Arrest records (from arrests occurring after July 1, 2013) will also automatically be restricted if:
- The case was never referred for prosecution;
- The charges were not indicted or accused;
- The case against the person was dismissed; or
- The person was acquitted at trial.
Those who were arrested before 2013 will need to put a bit more effort into expunging their records, as they will be required to apply to the arresting agency and complete and submit multiple forms.
Set Up a Free Case Review
Please call (770) 209-2310 to speak with one of the experienced Georgia expungement lawyers at Hawkins Spizman about whether you qualify for the expungement of your own criminal record.