If you’re charged with a crime — even if your case has been dismissed or you pleaded guilty as a first-time offender — that charge can follow you around for the rest of your life.
Luckily, there is a process to prohibit public access to the specific criminal records regarding your case.
Our team at the Frye Law Group can help you through the process. Here’s some information to get you started.
Can you get your record restricted (expunged) in Georgia?
If you’ve been convicted in Georgia, that can come with a lot of hardship, even after your sentence is served. You might have trouble getting housing, getting employed, and just living life day to day.
This year, a new law was passed that can improve your quality of life by making the process of restricting records easier.
Before we get into the details, let’s discuss some of the terms we’ll be using in this blog.
- Record Restriction is the new term that’s been used in Georgia since 2013. It means that certain criminal records are restricted from public view and only law enforcement and officials in the criminal justice system can see your record. Restriction means employers, schools, and landlords will not have access to your record. Prior to 2020, record restriction was limited to mostly misdemeanor charges.
- Expungement is the terminology that was used in Georgia until 2013, which led to some confusion. Expungement of records merely means keeping your criminal record from public view. After the change in 2013, this terminology is not used in Georgia law, but it is used in many other states.
- Pardons are relieving a person of some or all of the legal consequences from a conviction. A pardon in Georgia only applies to felony charges and can be done by the President, a governor, or in some states, a pardon board. However, just because you receive a pardon does not necessarily mean your criminal record will be completely removed.
Before the new 2020 Georgia expungement law
When Georgia changed the terminology from “expungement” to record restriction, it also made another change. Before 2013, a case could only be restricted if the case was dismissed before prosecution, and this was a very rare occurrence.
After the law changed, though, restrictions now can occur after prosecution if the case was dismissed post-indictment.
There are several other instances in which a case may be able to be restricted:
- For first-time offenders (and in some cases these offenders can even be exonerated, which means that conviction for a crime is reversed)
- If there is a conditional discharge
- After you complete your sentence
- If you won your case in trial
To get your record restricted, you petition the court to conceal through the Clerk of Court Records.
If you’re looking to get a pardon in 2020, you must apply to the State Board of Pardons and Paroles.
You can only apply for a pardon five years after the completion of your sentence. Your rights will be restored with the pardon, but without a separate record restriction, your record will still be available to the public.
Georgia Law 2020- SB288
The new Georgia law will take effect on January 1st, 2021. It will allow thousands of people to gain access to housing, employment, and schooling through restricting their records.
The new law expands on the previous law. It allows for record restrictions and Clerk of Court Records sealing for certain misdemeanor defenses if you have not been convicted for any other charges since.
You can apply to have your records restricted if it has been four years since you have completed your sentence or if the misdemeanor must have taken place before your 21st birthday.
However, some misdemeanors do not qualify for record restrictions. A few examples include:
- Serious DUIs
- Family violence battery
- Obstructing or hindering an emergency phone call
Once you’ve been pardoned, you can apply for a record restriction. Once approved, your records would not be available for public view.
Contact the office of Kim Frye for more information
At the Frye Law Group, nothing is more important than getting results on behalf of our clients. That’s why we work hard with every client to work towards a just solution.
For a criminal defense lawyer, call 770-919-9525. We can get started working together on your record restriction as soon as possible.