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Saturday, February 4, 2023
HomeLegalCriminal DefenseHow to Get Your Georgia Criminal Record Expunged

How to Get Your Georgia Criminal Record Expunged

Not only is being arrested and convicted a terrible and scary experience, but it also leaves a massive impact on your life and future. Even if you’re not convicted, being arrested can significantly change your life plan. Having a criminal history can rob you of so many opportunities. 

Fortunately, expungement or a record restriction may be an option. Read on to learn more about this particular law and its process.

What is Expungement or a Record Restriction?

Expungement is a specific legal process that permits someone with a previous conviction to have that removed from their criminal record. In Georgia, this is also known as ‘record restriction’ since the term ‘expungement’ can cause people to believe that the record is permanently destroyed when they are not. 

Record restriction is the more appropriate term to use since the record would only be made available to certain entities. So, instead of being destroyed or deleted, the records are not open to the public and are only accessible for criminal justice and law enforcement purposes. 

What Charges Do Not Qualify For Expungement?

It is crucial to note that not all charges qualify for record restriction. Some of the misdemeanors and felonies that Georgia does not deem eligible are:

Misdemeanors

  • Crimes against minors
  • Child molestation
  • Certain DUI cases
  • Certain theft cases
  • Sexual battery
  • Family violence battery convictions
  • Peeping tom crimes
  • Public indecency

Felonies

  • Murder
  • Kidnapping
  • Rape and statutory
  • Aggravated sexual battery 
  • Aggravated sexual assault with the intention to rape
  • Incest
  • False imprisonment
  • Sodomy and Aggravated sodomy
  • Child molestation and aggravated child molestation
  • Armed robbery
  • Sexual assault against persons in custody
  • Sexual exploitation of children

How Do You Expunge a Criminal Record in Georgia?

Here are the general steps on how you can expunge your criminal record in the state of Georgia:

1. Prepare Everything Necessary

The process you’ll need to follow may differ from county to county. It would be best to contact the arresting agency or the prosecuting attorney’s office to get the necessary information. Ask how to submit a request for record restriction, the required fees, and the additional paperwork. 

You may want a copy of your criminal history to gather the vital information you need, such as the convictions, arresting agency, and the arrest date. You may request this record at the police department. 

2. Gather What You Will Need

You will need to fill out a Request To Restrict Arrest Record Form (If your arrest was made before July 1, 2013) or the form provided by the prosecuting attorney’s office (If your arrest was made on or after July 1, 2013).

Depending on the prosecuting attorney’s office or the arresting agency, you may need to pay a fee to process the request. The Georgia Crime Information Center, or the GCIC, also requires a fee to process your records restriction in their database. 

Moreover, the prosecuting attorney’s office or the arresting agency may also include a few additional documents, such as a certified copy of the court’s final disposition of the case and a copy of your criminal history. 

3. Apply To Have Your Criminal Record Restricted

The process to restrict your records depends on when the arrest took place:

Arrest Before July 1, 2013

You will need to submit the request to your arresting agency first, and they will be the ones to pass it along to the prosecuting attorney’s office. You will only fill out Section 1 of the Request to Restrict Arrest Record form, while the arresting agency fills in Section 2 and the prosecuting attorney’s office fills in Section 3. 

The prosecuting attorney’s office will decide to either approve or deny the request within 90 days. Once the decision is final, the office will notify you.

Arrest On or After July 1, 2013

Contact the prosecuting attorney’s office directly if the arrest was made on or after July 1, 2013. The office will approve or deny the request within 90 days and notify you once the decision is made. 

4. Restrict Your Records

If the record restriction request is approved, the prosecuting attorney’s office will submit the complete application to the GCIC database. If the prosecutor approves the request but does not have access to the database, you will need to send the application and processing fee to the GCIC. 

5. Next Steps

The GCIC typically processes the complete record restriction within 2-3 weeks. You will receive a letter of completion that confirms that the record is restricted in the database. 

What are the Changes in the New Expungement Law in Georgia?

Prior to the new legislation, being convicted in Georgia was almost like a life sentence, as it was practically impossible to restrict one’s criminal record entirely. It has caused problems for many people trying to turn over a new leaf as it hinders their housing, professional licensing, and employment.

As of January 1, 2021, the 2nd Chance Act in the state came into effect. It allows people to petition to remove certain felony and misdemeanor charges from their criminal records. These charges will no longer appear on employers’ private and public background checks. 

The bill permits individuals to seal up and restrict up to 2 misdemeanor convictions from their records four years after their sentence is completed. There are, of course, some exceptions. 

The new law protects employers as well. It offers liability protection to Georgia employers who employ people with expunged records. 

How Does an Expunged Criminal Record Affect You?

Note that an expungement is not an official pardon for a criminal act. Only the State Governor or the U.S President has the power to issue a formal pardon. 

If someone is successful in having their criminal record expunged, the result is that the arrest record or conviction is removed from public records. Accordingly, the court may treat the conviction or offense as if it had never happened. 

However, remember that the expungement only relates to court records. That means that any public mentions of the crime will remain. 

It is not a court order to demand anyone who had posted to social media to remove that information. Google may also still display new stories related to the arrest or conviction. 

A person must take a few additional steps to remove these items from public records, if it’s possible, to retain a sense of privacy. Additionally, government agencies and other authorized personnel and entities may also be able to obtain expunged records when conducting an investigation. 

Bottom Line 

Expungement and record restriction means more opportunities for those with a criminal record. It is the first step to regaining control of your life after conviction or arrest. 

If you think your offense qualifies for restriction, contact the Jarrett Maillet law firm today. Their criminal defense attorneys can help you understand the expungement process in Georgia. They can assist you through this difficult time and help you clear your criminal record. Contact them today for a consultation.

Jarrett Maillet J.D., P.C. 
210 E 31st St 
Savannah, GA 31401 
912-713-3426
https://www.mailletcriminallaw.com


Attorney Jarrett Maillet
Attorney Jarrett Maillethttps://www.mailletcriminallaw.com/
At Jarrett Maillet J.D., P.C. we bring over 10 years of experience in the field of criminal law.

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