DeKalb County Expungement Lawyer
Expungement—or record restriction under Georgia law—allows individuals to restrict access to available records of a criminal conviction to specific government or authorized entities. The record restriction process may allow you to seek better jobs, obtain housing, and move forward with your life in a positive light.
Since the record restriction process varies depending on the date of your conviction, consulting a knowledgeable attorney may be the most effective way to take advantage of this process. A DeKalb County expungement lawyer could help you understand the record restriction process and whether your criminal background is eligible for restriction.
What is Record Restriction?
Under Official Code of Georgia §35-3-37, in order to restrict access to records of arrests that occurred before July 1, 2013, individuals must submit an application for restriction of their records at the arresting agency. If granted, this application would restrict access to files by non-criminal justice agencies. Getting advice from an expungement lawyer in DeKalb County may make the record restriction process simpler.
For records of arrests that occurred after July 1, 2013, the record restriction process is automatic. The prosecutor handling the case would determine if the restriction is appropriate as soon as the court enters a final disposition in the case. If the prosecutor opts not to restrict access, then individuals must file a motion with the court seeking restriction of the documents.
Eligibility for DeKalb County Record Restriction
Record restriction is available in the following circumstances:
- The prosecutor never files criminal charges following an arrest
- An individual is found not guilty or acquitted of all charges
- An individual is convicted as a first offender or receives a conditional discharge
However, there are various exceptions to these general eligibility rules. For example, if someone entered a plea agreement to an offense arising out of the same underlying transaction as the offense that was dismissed, they would not be eligible for record restriction. Likewise, if jury misconduct led to an acquittal, the records do not qualify for restriction.
Conditions Set to Disqualify a Restriction on Records
Other circumstances that disqualify a person from record restriction include:
- The judge ruled that material evidence against them was inadmissible at trial
- The conduct that led to their arrest was the subject of prosecution in another state or country
- They had immunity from prosecution
- Not all criminal charges resulted in acquittal
Various criminal offenses may be ineligible for record restriction, including some sex offenses, allegations of pimping, pandering, and keeping a place of prostitution, crimes involving minors, some thefts, and serious traffic offenses. A DeKalb County expungement lawyer may be able to evaluate criminal records and determine the availability of record restriction in some instances.
What are the Effects of Record Restriction?
Record restriction can be a useful tool for those who wish to better themselves and put their mistakes behind them. Although the restriction process does not eradicate records, it does limit their access to the general public. The file may still exist, but only to the extent that criminal justice agencies need to access those records, such as in documenting prior criminal history in a prosecution on subsequent charges.
It is important to note that record restriction applies only to official court records, not to social media or newspaper accounts of criminal arrests, charges, or prosecutions. A simple Google search may be adequate to reveal the information that individuals are trying to restrict from public view. Accordingly, record restriction is not a foolproof process to eliminate all records related to criminal charges or a conviction.
Contact a DeKalb County Expungement Attorney
If you have a conviction for an eligible offense, the prosecutor dismissed charges against you, or a judge or jury acquitted you of all charges, you may be eligible for a restriction of your records. A DeKalb County expungement lawyer may be able to explain the benefits of a record restriction under Georgia law.
As the eligibility requirements for record restriction are detailed, you may find it difficult to determine whether you qualify. Legal counsel could further explain these requirements and help you decide whether a record restriction is a possibility for you. Call today to learn more.