How Do I Know if I have a Criminal Record?
Anyone who has ever been arrested (whether you were found guilty or not) has a criminal record. This includes an arrest, time in jail, an indictment, being sentenced for a case, being released from confinement, and any type of correctional supervision (probation or parole).
Where is My Criminal History Record Coming From?
Common sources for your criminal record include police departments, jails, the Georgia Crime Information Center, the FBI, the Clerk of Court’s Office, private companies, websites, and online databases.
What is a Records Restriction?
What is commonly referred to as an expungement, is actually called a ‘records restriction’ in Georgia law. A records restriction means that any information about your criminal history is made private for all purposes except for law enforcement.
How Do I Restrict My Record?
If you were arrested before July 13, 2013, you must submit an application and supporting documentation showing your charges qualify for a records restriction. This application must be submitted to the agency that created your criminal record.
If you were arrested after July 13, 2013, the restriction will occur automatically for qualifying dispositions such as dismissals, acquittals, or resolutions through alternative courts and conditional discharges. For charges that are not automatically restricted, you will need to file a civil petition to restrict your record.
How Can A Lawyer Help Me Restrict my Record?
A criminal defense attorney can help you file petition to seal your record, request a hearing date for this request, and argue (against a prosecutor from the District Attorney’s office) that sealing your record would be the right thing to do for the interest of justice.
What is a First Offender Sentence?
A First Offender Sentence in accordance with O.C.G.A. 42-8-60 allows someone to be sentenced but to also avoid a conviction if they have never been convicted of a felony prior to their sentencing. A First Offender Sentence is not automatically sealed and can still appear on a background check.
An attorney must request that the sentence be sealed and if the sentence remains on your record after completing the sentence, you must make sure an Order for Discharge has been filed.
If you have more questions about how to clear your criminal record, contact us today at (404) 445-8443.