Expungements (Record Restriction)
Expungements (Record Restriction) and Sealing Your Record
This process in Georgia is now called Record Restriction.
A record restriction is the process by which a defendant’s record of criminal conviction is ‘removed’ from his/her/their criminal history. A Motion to Restrict and Seal the Court Records directs the court to treat the criminal conviction as if it had never occurred. This essentially will remove it from the defendant’s criminal record. To make sure that there is no public record of the conviction, the court must order that the record be sealed.
If you are sentenced under Georgia’s First Offender Act O.C.G.A.§42-8-60 and successfully complete your sentence, you will not have a conviction on your record and the charge will be sealed from your official criminal history. You will want to utilize an attorney’s assistance with this as it is important to request this treatment at sentencing. However, not every charge is eligible for this Act. There are several offenses wherein you are not able to use your right to First Offender treatment, such as; driving under the influence, sexual exploitation, serious violent felonies, child pornography, neglect of disabled of elderly persons.
Were you never offered your First Offender on a prior criminal action? If not, then you can retroactively utilize it! If you were eligible at the time of sentencing and were never given that opportunity, we can assist you in implementing your First Offender treatment. This process involves getting permission from the Court, filing the proper paperwork, and arguing your case before the Judge. We are pleased to say we have assisted many individuals in this process and would love to assist you.
If you are not eligible to have your record restricted by the courts, you may be able to have your conviction(s) pardoned. The pardoning process requires an extensive review of your employment history, mental health history, and criminal history. You will need references to write on your behalf and write your own testament as to why your conviction(s) should be pardoned. Although it is not required to have an attorney for this process, we are happy to assist you with it as we have done for many individuals.
If you are a victim of human or commercial trafficking, "The Survivor’s First Act" O.C.G.A.§16-5-46 has made it possible for you to have your record vacated. What this means is that if the court finds your criminal acts have been committed while being trafficked or as a direct result of being trafficked, the court will completely vacate your record as if it never happened. Everything is completed 'under seal' with the court, so that the survivor’s anonymity is protected at all times.
Beskin & Beskin is honored to have assisted one survivor have four offenses vacated from that survivor’s criminal history.
What is the difference between having your record restricted and having it sealed?
Having your record restricted, means that it is removed from the Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC) criminal history database. When you apply for a job, the company will run a background check through the State of GA. The background check through the State is controlled by the GCIC. If you have your record restricted and your employer requests a background check through the State, your restricted case will not show up. However, if your employer uses a third-party background check company (i.e. Checkr, IntelliCorp, GoodHire, etc.), the restricted case will still show up unless your record is sealed with the court. This is why it is important to have your case both restricted and sealed.
Once my record is restricted and sealed, no one can ever see it right?
That is incorrect. If you apply to be in the military, run for political office, or appear before a Judge, and they obtain a copy of your criminal history (usually from a prosecutor), they will still see the case you had restricted. High government positions are allowed to access restricted cases.
Every state has its own laws and processes for record restriction. Like most areas of the law, this is not a “one shoe fits most” area. With our assistance, we will be able to help navigate this process in order for your record to be restricted and sealed.
If I used my First Offender, why is the case showing up on my criminal record?
This is usually a clerical error with the Courts. With our help, we will be able to file the proper motions with the Court to have this completely removed from your criminal record and have the record sealed with the Court.