Everything You Need To Know About Expungement in Georgia
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Author: Philip Kim, Founder, Philip Kim Law, P.C.
Defense lawyer Philip Kim has committed his career to standing up for the accused, and protecting the rights and reputations of his valued clients. If you face criminal charges in Georgia, we can provide you with the skilled, effective defense representation you need.
Published on August 29, 2022.
New Expungement Law in Georgia
A criminal record can have a long-lasting impact on your life. People’s perceptions of us heavily influence our prospects and opportunities, and having a criminal record significantly impairs your career prospects.
Fortunately, criminal convictions can be expunged from criminal records, allowing defendants to continue living their lives without added prejudice. Expungement is a legal process in which someone formerly convicted of a crime can have their convictions removed from their criminal history. Criminal lawyers can undertake this process for their clients.
Everyone makes mistakes in life, and we at Philip Kim Law, P.C., believe everyone deserves a second chance. This legal process, though, is complicated to achieve without legal help. Yet, the rewards are more than worth it.
Read on to learn more about Georgia’s new expungement law.
Statutory Requirements for Expungement in Georgia
Georgia’s new expungement law allows individuals to petition the court to restrict and seal specific convictions from their criminal records. These convictions will no longer appear on public and private background checks.
In general, court records containing dismissals are eligible for expungement, along with certain convictions. Some misdemeanor and felony convictions can be expunged under SB 288. A former convict may get rid of up to two misdemeanor convictions four years after they complete the sentence.
Expungement Forms in Georgia
There are two ways to restrict your criminal record: petition or automatically. If you were arrested but your case has never been referred for prosecution, your arrest record will be restricted automatically after a while. Depending on the severity of your crime, the length of this period can vary as follows:
Two years for misdemeanors
Four years for felonies
Seven years for sex-related and violent severe felonies
However, the restriction can be temporary. So, if a prosecutor decides to take up your case, your record will be unrestricted while waiting for the outcome.
On the other hand, if your criminal record is not eligible for automatic restriction, you must file a petition with the court. This option is only available if:
Your felony charge has been dismissed, but you were guilty of an unrelated misdemeanor
Your case was on the dead docket for over 12 months
Your conviction has been reversed or vacated
You were prosecuted for a misdemeanor as a youthful offender
An expungement is a crucial step toward helping people with criminal records get back on track. If you think you are eligible for restriction in Georgia, get in touch with the Gwinnett County criminal lawyers at Philip Kim Law, P.C. A domestic violence attorney is ready to defend those accused of felony or misdemeanor-level offenses.
Criminal Record Restriction Process in Georgia
A record restriction does not delete your criminal record permanently. Instead, it hides it from certain parties. Criminal justice agencies and judicial officials can still see your records. Before pursuing a record expungement, note that only certain criminal history records can be sealed or hidden from the public.
Although you can start an expungement process independently, Georgia law can be complicated and challenging. Expungement lawyers can determine your eligibility for a criminal record restriction.
How to File for Expungement in Georgia?
If your arrest occurred after July 1, 2013, under the new law, you don’t need to apply to have your criminal record restricted. When the court clerk enters the dismissal or acquittal into the GCIC database (Georgia Crime Information Center), your arrest will immediately be restricted. It’s in your best interest to get a copy of the GCIC criminal record because you will need the name of the arresting department, the offense, and the date of the arrest.
Expunging your criminal record begins by contacting the arresting agency and requesting your criminal history records. Then complete the Request to Restrict Arrest Record form, file it, and pay the filing fee to the arresting law enforcement agency. Please keep in mind that the arresting agency might require some additional documentation.
Once you have filled all the documents needed, the arresting agency will send them out to a district attorney, who will decide whether to approve or reject your application. The prosecuting attorney typically gives feedback within 90 days. Within 30 days of receiving a denial, you may appeal the decision to the Superior Court of the Georgia county where the arrest or conviction occurred. A superior court lawyer can help you with your appeal.
Expungement of Misdemeanor in Georgia
Under Georgia law, a misdemeanor is a criminal offense punishable by a fine of not more than $1000 or a maximum jail term of 12 months or both. Typical misdemeanors include traffic infractions, minor theft, vandalism, trespassing, or resisting arrest. Serious crimes such as traffic offenses, child molestation, family violence battery, sexual battery, or DUI do not qualify for expungement.
Felony Expungement in Georgia
Under SB 288, some felonies can now be restricted too. So, if you receive a pardon for a felony offense, you can petition to have your criminal record restricted or sealed. However, you must prove that the felony charge has caused you harm and that the crime you have been arrested for happened within the last four years.
If you have been convicted of a felony in Georgia, and can’t expunge your criminal record, contact the team of criminal lawyers in Georgia at Philip Kim Law, P.C.
Before filing your petition for misdemeanor expungement:
- Review your criminal record history and determine what convictions you would like to have expunged.
- Provide evidence to support your restriction petition. If the judge grants your petition, your misdemeanor or felony conviction will be expunged from your criminal records.
- Upon receiving an order from the judge, serve it to the law enforcement agency and the court clerk.
DUI Expungement in Georgia
We understand that a DUI conviction can be devastating, as it impacts your driving ability and may affect your employment. Unfortunately, there is no way to have your DUI expunged from your record. Even if your DUI conviction occurred over ten years ago, it would still affect your case. If you are charged with DUI, the only method for a record restriction is to win the case. That’s why hiring a qualified attorney is the ideal solution. Hire our legal team in Lawrenceville, GA, today to discuss your record restriction.
How Long Does Expungement Take in Georgia?
Record restriction or expungement in Georgia doesn’t occur right away. How long the expungement process takes depends on several factors, such as the severity of your crime, when it happened, the arresting agency, and how your expungement lawyer handles the process. Generally, you should expect your criminal record expungement to take around 150 days in Georgia.