In Georgia today, having your record restricted is no longer an argument in terms of your official history but instead a function of the law and how your case was resolved. The outcome of your criminal case will automatically determine whether or not your record is restricted.
With that said, you should consider hiring an Atlanta expungement lawyer to cost efficiently make the arguments to a Judge to issue an order to restrict those records, take the records down from the internet, and seal them from the public knowledge because it is in your best interests.
As of 2016, no convictions in Georgia qualify for a record restriction. If you were convicted of a crime in the past or convicted of a crime that was not serious, you will not qualify for a record restriction. If you were convicted of a crime you were charged with or even a crime that may have been a reduced charge, for example; an aggravated stalking charge down to stalking or a simple battery charge instead of aggravated assault, you do not qualify for a record restriction.
If you plead guilty or you were found guilty by a jury of a crime, your record is not going to be eligible to be restricted.
However, by entering a plea of guilty under the First Offender Act or the Conditional Discharge Act, the Judge will withhold a conviction or any adjudication of guilt or innocence in your case. If you successfully complete a period of probation, classes, or other terms of a sentence, the Judge will postpone finding you guilty and will find that your case has been successful discharged under that act. Whether it is First Offender or Conditional Discharge, the case is ultimately dismissed and you will be eligible for a record restriction.
Actual innocence might be relevant when restricting Court records and County records when someone is found not guilty of a crime. It may facilitate the argument for a Judge to seal those records.
Interest of justice is the interest of the individual of being protected from the public disability that a mug shot or a Clerk’s online record would have. Since these records are so easily accessible this day and age with the internet; these records permeating the public knowledge could perhaps result in someone not being offered a job opportunity or denied admission to an educational institution such as a College or University.
It is in the interest of justice that your records are sealed and that your reputation is protected from permanent disability from the availability of these criminal records. That you are protected from the traces of information that linger online after you face charges, and after your charges have been dismissed or you have been proven innocent.
The restriction of records in Georgia involves many different agencies; from the Sheriff to the Prosecutor, the District Attorney, the Solicitor General, the Clerk’s Office, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Driver Services, the law enforcement – police departments, Georgia Highway Patrol – all of these agencies interact and affect the record of your criminal history and the publicly available knowledge concerning your criminal record.
An attorney who has experience dealing with these agencies, contacts with these agencies and the knowledge to efficiently resolve discrepancies in your criminal history may be able to eliminate the publicly available knowledge of your criminal record. Ensuring across the board, that this multitude of agencies complies with the Court order and eliminate those traces of a conviction that could one day prevent you from seizing an opportunity that would otherwise be yours because of the existence of a criminal record.