Many people believe that if they are merely charged with a crime that the criminal record reflecting that fact will follow them for the rest of their lives. Thankfully, Georgia may people who were charged, but not convicted of a crime, to clear their criminal records under certain circumstances.
For people who were convicted of a crime while a juvenile, even certain convictions can be wiped clean. A DeKalb County expungement lawyer can work with people to determine if their records can be expunged and to perform the proper procedure to do so. If you are eligible to have your record restricted and you want to start the process, consult a skilled defense attorney that can help.
Expungement in Georgia
Starting in July of 2013, Georgia no longer expunges criminal records. The term that they use to describe this process was changed to record restriction. The process and requirements, however, remained the same. Under only very specific circumstances may a conviction be removed from a person’s record. However, most arrests that did not lead to a conviction may be removed.
For arrests that occurred after July of 2013, that did not result in a conviction due to a failure to prosecute by the state, the charge was dismissed after the completion of a pretrial diversion program, or from a not-guilty verdict, the charge will automatically be restricted after a certain time. For misdemeanors, a person must wait two years. Many felonies are cleared after five years while serious violent and sex-related felonies must wait for seven years.
Process of Obtaining an Expungement
All arrests that occurred prior to July 1, 2013, can be restricted only after an application procedure. This procedure varies from location to location but in DeKalb County, a person must complete an application with the DeKalb County Police Department’s central records department or with the arresting agency or the corresponding municipality.
This process carries a fee of $25. The process itself begins with a written request to restrict the records using a form provided by the Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC).
Once the form and fee are submitted, the information is sent to the prosecuting attorney on the case who determines if the case is eligible for restriction. If the case is eligible, the record is restricted. The entire process takes from six to nine months.
Convictions That Are Not Eligible For Expungement
In some situations, even a conviction may be removed from a person’s record. Certain low-level crimes that led to a conviction before a person’s 21st birthday may be entirely removed from a criminal history.
For this to apply, a person needs a clean criminal record for at least five years before making the request. Convictions that will not be eligible for removal include:
- Reckless driving
- Theft that is not shoplifting
- Sexual battery
- Computer pornography
The process for clearing these convictions is the same as for clearing an arrest and a skilled DeKalb County expungement lawyer can attempt to do so.
Talk to a DeKalb County Expungement Attorney Today
There are many situations where a person requests a criminal background check. Applying for jobs, looking for housing, or applying for credit can all involve a background check.
Even instances where a person was arrested but not convicted of a crime will be present on this report. Many jobs will not hire anyone with any criminal record of any sort and some housing authorities demand a clean record. When a record is restricted, these marks are only visible to law enforcement agencies and courts. Therefore, a person will no longer need to state that they have been charged with a crime.
DeKalb County expungement lawyers can work with people to determine their eligibility for this program and to file the necessary paperwork. Your attorney can work to help people move on from the past and start a new and better future.