Expungement is the removal of a charge from a person’s record. In the United States, this is an opportunity for a person to move forward from the mistakes of the past. Georgia limits expungement when compared to other states, but it is possible certain situations.
Expungement in Georgia
In many cases, being charged with crime will remain on a person’s record permanently, unless they are willing to take steps to have it removed. In the state of Georgia, some charges can become “restricted” from the general public automatically after a certain amount of time, but petitions may be required.
In Georgia, there are only two circumstances in which expungement of a criminal charge is allowed:
• You were arrested for an offense, but were released without recommendation of charges.
• Your case was referred to a prosecutor who dismissed it without seeking indictment.
Essentially, expungement is only used to let people remove arrests that were never prosecuted. Additionally, expungement is not possible if the charges were dropped due to a plea bargain or conviction for a different crime, as well as several other highly specific limitations.
Expunging a Crime
In some states, it is possible to expunge a conviction if the crime is relatively minor and enough time has passed. But in Georgia, a conviction can never be expunged, even if the defendant just accepts a plea bargain. The record may be able to be sealed if probation is successfully completed, but that sealed record will still be accessible for the government for potential future charges.
Expungement of an arrest in Georgia is also difficult, but it is possible with the help of an experienced attorney. If the prosecution declined to bring the charges to trial, or a not guilty verdict was reached it may be possible to expunge that crime. If it is possible, a person will have to file petitions and essentially explain to the government why it should disappear.
How We Can Help
At Wadkins & Wallace we understand how these criminal charges can affect a person’s life. We don’t like to see people being hamstrung by charges that were never followed through on or by charges that were never proven. If you have been arrested for a crime, expungement or record sealing may be possible. Our team can help you file the legal documents needed to get your fresh slate.
While expungement is limited by the state, at Wadkins & Wallace we work well with the Georgia criminal justice department. We understand when expungement is a viable option, and when to consider other possibilities.
Schedule a free consultation with Wadkins & Wallace today to learn what we can do for you.