Restricting public access to your criminal records could be the most effective solution to any personal or professional challenges you may be facing after an arrest or conviction. However, the expungement process in Gwinnett County can be complex, and you may benefit from having a legal advocate at your side. A knowledgeable expungement attorney could ensure that you meet every requirement and help you achieve an efficient resolution.
The first thing lawyers often do in expungement cases is review the defendant’s official criminal history from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which typically takes about a week to obtain. Reviewing the official records allows them to determine the individual’s eligibility to complete this process, and they could start building a compelling case as to why the public availability of this information is harmful.
An attorney in Gwinnett County could then present the defendant with their expungement options. Often, they begin pursuing a petition for record restriction. Part of the process of drafting, preparing and filing a petition is acquiring information about the individual’s background and the challenges they faced in life because of their public criminal history.
If a record restriction order is obtained, a judge will demand that law enforcement, government agencies and the clerk’s office remove any harmful public information about the case. Following the issuance of this order, clerks and other agencies have 60 days to comply with it and remove the information.
One of the key components of this process is to follow up periodically with the relevant agencies and offices to ensure that they actually remove the harmful information. These governmental entities sometimes allow these orders to fall through the cracks, so a legal advocate who could push for the changes to be implemented may be crucial in these cases.
Generally, once a records restriction petition is signed, law enforcement and the court have 60 days to take action. This process can take longer, depending on the circumstances. Often, judicial calendars are clogged and filled with thousands of cases that require attention. A delayed hearing may extend a properly filed expungement case up to a year. However, from the point a lawyer is hired to a successful resolution, the process of most Gwinnett County expungement cases takes five to six months.
Each expungement case is unique, and the available strategies depend on the individual who is seeking the restriction of their information. Attorneys typically provide information about the individual’s background, family history, educational history, community involvement, philanthropic activities, and employment pursuits after their arrest or conviction.
The goal is to present a complete story of the individual and show how they have changed since their offense and how their record has hindered their opportunities and goals. If a Gwinnett County lawyer can effectively argue that the accessibility of the criminal history offers no benefit to the public and is only causing the individual harm, a judge may grant the records restriction order.
It is important to note that while expungement can be obtained, a person’s criminal history will still exist. However, pursuing a record restriction ensures that only a small set of individuals in specific official roles will be able to access and utilize the restricted information.
A seasoned legal professional could help you achieve a records restriction order and guide you through every step of the expungement process in Gwinnett County. For more information, contact us to schedule a consultation.