Many people find themselves in the situation of seeking out Georgia expungement of criminal records. This may be a necessity whenever one is accused of a crime in which they did not truly commit. There are a number of circumstances that can either permit or deny your request to expunge your record, as well as limitations to what can be removed as well. It should be noted that although those performing background checks cannot see the blemishes once they have been removed, law officers will still be able to do so for their own investigative purposes.
In order to file a request through the proper outlets to expunge criminal records in Georgia, one must first know what qualifies or does not. Under new law, the terminology used to refer to expungement will soon be listed as record restriction. Many complexities of the approval status lie under state laws, which vary at times based off of jurisdiction. It should be noted that an entire criminal record cannot be expunged under any circumstances, but only particular charges that pertain to a specific instance of crime. However, it may be possible to submit requests for each individual crime contained on the criminal report.
In order to qualify for expungement of criminal records in Georgia, one must not have been convicted of the crime they want to have stricken. This is only overseen if the defendant is of 21 years of age and plead guilty when the instance occurs under new law. Entering a plea of no contest is seen as the same as being convicted in this situation. It is also permitted that expungement may be approved if one was charged with a misdemeanor and sentenced under the Conditional Discharge statute (O.C.G.A. 16-13-32). Those that have entered an Alford plea are also considered to have been found guilty in this particular circumstance. Unfortunately, there are no time limitations that can aid in qualifying convictions for approval at this time in the state of Georgia. In the case of being convicted of a felony, it is suggested to attempt to obtain a pardon, which may qualify you to receive expungement.
There are a number of circumstances that may allow for criminal record expungement in Georgia. If the case and charges have been dropped or dismissed, you may fall into this category. This is only true if the state has not decided to prosecute. In order to determine whether the charges have officially been placed on the individual, you can come to this realization by finding out if a case number has been assigned. This number usually begins with the two year date at the beginning of the number sequence. This is also combined with the possibility of having other outstanding charges at the time of the request, although as of July 1, 2013, some may still be eligible under new georgia state law. In order to qualify, you must also have not been charged with any similar crimes within the past five years. You must also not be currently participating in parole or probation as well.
If charges were formally placed upon the individual, but then later dropped, there are some circumstances that will now allow for approval of your request. The case in question cannot be in a pending status and there can be no other charges that relate to the one being expunged. If one plead guilty to anything that relates to the incident of arrest, even if it was to drop the charges from being a felony to a misdemeanor, this will not be a possibility. If the prosecution is ordered with a motion to suppress information that otherwise may have led to a guilty verdict, this is also the case.
If the witnesses to the crime deny giving testimony, other than by exercising their right to refrain from doing so, you will not be granted approval for your request. This is also the case if you were already under sentencing for another crime and the prosecution decided not to pursue further incarceration due to economic state funding reasons. Some pretrial programs offer lesser consequences for crimes in exchange for the right to refuse expungement. In these cases, your approval will be denied automatically.
If you have been charged with a similar crime in another court of law and a pattern history has been developed, you will have your request denied. If you are from another country and have been granted diplomatic, consular, or other immunity from prosecution, you will also not be able to get approved. Even if your charges were acquitted, the ability to restrict your record is not an option.
There are a few other limitations and qualifications for restricted record to keep in mind before submitting a request. After 12 months of charges being on a dead docket, the crimes may be approved for removal as well. It does not matter whether the charges are in fact felony or misdemeanor in nature as well. If you find that you meet all of these criteria, it may be possible to get blemishes removed so that future employers do not hinder you from moving forward in your life and professional career.