Expungement refers to a legal process by which an individual can seek to have an arrest or conviction removed from their criminal record. In Georgia, the process now is referred to as the Record Restriction process. This term is more proper because the notion of expungement suggests that the records are completely destroyed from existence, which they are not.
Instead, the access to an individual’s records are restricted in that they can only be viewed by certain government agencies or authorized entities. If you are looking to understand more of the process of record restriction, you should contact a Georgia expungement lawyer right away. A skilled criminal attorney can help explain the requirements for record restriction and get you started.
Record Restriction Process
Georgia code governs the process for record restriction in Georgia. The process for record restriction in Georgia depends on the date of the arrest. For arrests that occurred before July 1, 2013, the individual must apply for record restriction at the arresting agency and submit the proper filing fees.
For arrests occurring after July 1, 2013, there is no application process. Instead, the prosecutor will determine if restriction is proper under the circumstances as soon as a disposition is entered in the defendant’s case. If the prosecutor does not decide to restrict the post-July 1, 2013 arrest, then the defendant may file a motion with the court to have the matter restricted.
Grounds for Record Restriction
Generally speaking, record restriction in Georgia is available with the help of a Georgia expungement lawyer in the following circumstances:
- Charges that are never filed
- Total acquittal of all charges
- First offender and drug conditional discharge case
There are many exceptions to these general rules. For instance, record restriction may not be possible if a person had some form of immunity or if a person was involved with similar criminal activity in a different jurisdiction. It is also not available for considering evidence as excluded.
Record restriction may not be possible for serious offenses committed as a juvenile such as rape or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If an individual was charged with a felony and is later found guilty of a lower misdemeanor offense, then record restriction of the felony charge may not be available. Both case law and statutory law determines the extent of these restrictions.
Effect of Record Restriction
An expungement is not an official pardon or forgiveness for the criminal act. Only the President of the United States or the State Governor can issue a formal pardon. If an individual is successful in getting a criminal record expunged, the result is that the conviction or arrest record is removed from public records. Accordingly, the court will treat the conviction or arrest as if it had never happened.
However, it is important to note that the expungement relates to court records only. It is not a court order for anyone who may have posted to social media to remove the information. Google may still show news stories that were released relating to the arrest or conviction.
An individual must take additional steps to remove these items from public record, if possible, to maintain a sense of privacy. In addition, government agencies and other authorized entities may still be able to obtain records of an expungement when conducting an investigation.
Contacting a Georgia Expungement Attorney
If you were charged or convicted of a crime and believe you are eligible for expungement, contact an experienced Georgia record restriction attorneys at our firm today. A skilled Georgia expungement lawyer is happy to discuss your case with you and help you understand the Record Restriction process in Georgia.
They have helped a number of clients clear their criminal record and are familiar with the requirements in order to properly file for expungement. Do not hesitate, contact an expungement lawyer in Georgia today to discuss your case.