Expungement no longer exists in Georgia as it once did just a few short years ago. Prior to the summer of 2013, expungement in its old form would actually result in your record being wiped clean – leaving you with a “clean slate”. However, in Georgia, after July 1, 2013, the legal term “expungement” was replaced with “records restriction”. Records restriction means that the incident, if restricted, will not show up on the publicly available criminal history that everyone has access to.
Typically this takes place after an individual completes some sort of program or set of conditions after an arrest, at which point the individual’s official history as maintained by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and nationally, by the FBI, will be restricted in a way where someone who publicly accesses your criminal record does not see that particular event. For information on whether you are eligible to have your record sealed, call an Atlanta expungment lawyer today. An experienced criminal lawyer in Atlanta can walk you through the various steps toward having your record sealed, and advocate on your behalf throughout the legal process.
Records restriction in Atlanta is available in some criminal cases, usually, when you are not convicted of a crime. Some examples of when an expungment lawyer in Atlanta may be able to have your record sealed included:
Different jurisdictions offer different pre-trial diversion programs; and some prosecutors, such as the Gwinnett County District Attorney do not offer diversion programs at all.
After your case is over or after the prosecutor has dismissed the case, paperwork is filed with the Clerk of the Court. Then the Clerk enters information in a computer system that is linked to the Georgia Crime Information Center database. If the Clerk checks a specific box when entering the information about your case then your record is restricted.
If the Clerk does not check that specific box, then the record will not be restricted and it will display on your official criminal history. If you are in a situation where your record should be restricted, you should obtain a copy of your criminal history at the completion of your case. After a short of period of time, you should go to a police station and obtain a copy of your criminal history to double check and make sure that the record has been restricted.
Although most people may not be able to see the offense, it is important to remember that it is no longer a completely clean slate. An example of a specific event on your criminal history could be a DUI that was dismissed or a fight with your spouse that was a big misunderstanding, but the neighbors called the cops. That arrest, even with records restriction, does not disappear for a subset of law enforcement.
Prosecutors, Judges and police are always going to be able to see that you have been arrested. Even though a particular charge may have been resolved favorably for you; and publicly, no one else can see it, there is a subset of law enforcement that will always be able to see, always be able to have access to and may attempt to hold that over your head later if you find yourself back in a Court room facing criminal charges. As a result, it is important to consult with a
Expungment lawyers in Atlanta have the knowledge and the ability to attempt to protect your record, whether it is at the outset and you are facing charges, or your case was resolved years ago and you need to clean your record up. An experienced lawyer can help clean it up and get your mind right with the confidence to go face the world without something following you around that may inhibit opportunities for you down the road.