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Clearing your criminal record: A fresh start through expungement

On Behalf of | Jun 29, 2024 | Criminal Defense

If you’ve made mistakes in the past that resulted in a criminal record in Georgia, you might be wondering if there’s a way to clear it. Fortunately, the law provides for the erasure of some criminal records, giving individuals a fresh start. 

If you are hoping to clear your record, it is important to understand the steps necessary to expunge a criminal record.

See if you qualify

Not every offense qualifies for expungement. Usually, it applies to minor offenses, but eligibility varies based on individual circumstances. Serious felonies, such as murder, armed robbery, or rape are not eligible for expungement.

Fill out paperwork

First, you’ll need to ask the court to expunge your record. You can do this by applying with the Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC) or the court where your case was handled. You’ll need to submit an application and sometimes a fee. The prosecutor will review your application to determine if your record qualifies for restriction based on state law.

Final decision

If the courts approve your application, they will restrict your record from public view. If they deny your application, you have the right to a court hearing where a judge will decide if your record should be restricted.

Benefits of expungement

With a cleared criminal record, individuals may have better chances of securing employment, as many employers conduct background checks before hiring.

Some professions require applicants to have a clean criminal record. Expungement can make it easier to obtain professional licenses or certifications.

Having a criminal record can carry a stigma and affect personal relationships. Expungement offers individuals the chance to move forward without the burden of past mistakes.