Generally speaking, in accordance with Georgia law, expungements are reserved for mistakes made during arrests. It is up to the prosecution as to whether or not to approve a request and either destroy a criminal record or to expunge.
What this means is it essentially erases an individual’s criminal record. Expungements treat prior arrests and prior convictions as though they never existed. An expungement is available for arrests never sent to the prosecutor, and for cases that were dismissed.
It may be possible to seek an expungement and a sealing, or at least a restricted access, to your criminal records. If you or your loved one has a criminal history in Georgia, call a Cobb County expungement lawyer right away. Distinguished criminal attorneys can battle for the justice you and your family deserve.
What is Expungement?
When criminal records are sealed, public access to one’s alleged crime is restricted. In other words, this keeps the public from accessing certain charges and prevents them from reaching the Internet and social media.
As a Cobb County expungement lawyer knows, sealing also protects an individual from a potential employer’s criminal screening. However, security personnel and law enforcement would still be able to access the records through a background check.
If an individual was under 21 years of age when convicted, certain misdemeanor convictions are eligible for restriction. Even if a person’s case has been restricted already or if they have received a discharge as a first offender, their criminal records may still be public through the clerk’s office, the internet, and the sheriff’s department.
Understanding the Determination of Eligibility
To seal or expunge criminal records in Georgia, an individual has to provide a request to the court and a processing fee. The prosecutor has the authority to approve or deny the request. Should the request be approved, the criminal records may be protected from disclosure or destroyed within two weeks. To be eligible, an individual must meet the following criteria:
- Criminal charges dismissed
- No grand jury indictment
- No pending matters
- No record of indictment in the court’s records
- Completion of the first offender successfully
Significant Factors Affecting Eligibility for Relief
A Cobb County expungement lawyer knows that there are significant factors that can lead to ineligibility for expunging or sealing a criminal record. Those factors may include:
- Prosecution of similar activity in a different court
- Pleas of Nolo Contendere or no contest
- Unrelated to charge, completion of pretrial diversion program
- Criminal conviction after appearing before a jury
- Failure to prosecute for fiscal reasons, while jailed
In unique situations where actions are taken to prevent the introduction of evidence, for example, witness tampering or perjury, this misconduct makes expungement unavailable. This also includes situations where the prosecutor either intends to take future action in the case.
Hire a Cobb County Expungement Attorney
The punishments for crimes can be quite severe and can have an enduring impact. Sometimes, minors may act without being fully apprised of the seriousness of their conduct, which may be considered criminal.
If you or a child is in this very difficult situation, an experienced Cobb County expungement lawyer can try to help you or your child defend your rights to request and receive a sealing or expungement of your criminal records.