If you wish to know about your Atlanta expungement eligibility, do not hesitate to reach out to a professional defense attorney as soon as possible. A skilled lawyer can walk through your case with you to help determine whether or not you could file a petition, what the steps are in order to request an expungement, as well as what the potential benefits could be for your life going forward.
If an individual was arrested for a crime but were not found guilty by the court, they should not have to live with the negative consequences involved with having an arrest on one’s criminal record. However, there are qualifying factors someone must meet in order to be able to file. Read on to learn more about what goes into Atlanta expungement eligibility, as well as the ways a dedicated attorney could offer you their assistance today.
What is Expungement?
Expungement is covered under Code OCGA35-3-37, and is designed to help individuals who were accused but not convicted of a crime. If an individual’s Atlanta expungement eligibility meets the correct standards, their record is still visible to law enforcement and prosecutors in courts, but it will not be visible to employers and the general public. Unfortunately, it is impossible to have an individual’s record expunged if they have been convicted of a crime in the state of Georgia. Individuals who were arrested for a crime that they were acquitted for and their case was dismissed are the most eligible candidates for expungement.
While almost any crime is potentially eligible to be expunged, the individual would have to have been found not guilty by a judge or jury in all cases to meet the Atlanta expungement eligibility requirements. Certain cases involving child molestation and child prostitution are not allowed to be expunged. In addition, an expungement cannot be granted if the defendant pled guilty to one of their charges, if a motion to suppress evidence was granted, and if their conduct was part of a pattern of criminal activity. A pattern would constitute at least two other cases of the same type of offense. In addition, an individual cannot receive expungement if their case was dismissed because witnesses failed to appear in court.
The expungement process generally takes anywhere from six months up to a full year. While one needs to file a petition with the court in certain circumstances, in others the court will do it. In Fulton County Superior Court, one needs to file a petition with the District Attorney’s Office, even though that is not required by the state. Atlanta works a little bit differently.
While the prosecutors’ office should file it on their own, for the Superior Court one will need to file an expungement petition with the court. Once an individual reaches the point in the process where they have a hearing on their expungement, they must show that the harm to their privacy outweighs the public interest in their criminal history record information being made publicly available.
If you wish to learn more about your Atlanta expungement eligibility, retain the services of a qualified defense attorney today for your initial consultation.