Expungement is the process of making your criminal record no longer available to the general public. It allows you to legally say that you do not have a record. In Georgia, you may be able to expunge your criminal record if you (1) can prove that your criminal record is inaccurate and/or incomplete; (2) were never convicted because charges were dropped or dismissed; (3) were a non-delinquent juvenile when charged and/or convicted; (4) successfully petitioned for a pardon and restoration of political and civil rights; or (5) were a first-time offender when charged and convicted.
If you can prove your criminal record is inaccurate and/or incomplete, you can file a petition asking the agency in possession of your records to expunge. If they agree, after they expunge you will then need to request they immediately inform the Georgia Criminal Information Center (GCIC).
If petition is denied, you may appeal to either the county superior court where you live or where the agency is located. The court will hold a hearing and may order relief as is required by law.
If you were were never convicted because the charges were dropped or dismissed, you can send a written request for expungement to the agency that handled your case.
The agency will send your request to the prosecuting attorney who will determine if you meet the necessary criteria for expungement. If you do, the prosecuting attorney will approve the expungement only if there is nothing in your criminal record that may conflict with any other person's constitutional rights in any way, .
If the agency refuses your request for any reason, you may appeal to the county superior court as described above.
If you were charged and convicted, apply for a pardon before applying for an expungement. You can apply for a pardon and a restoration of your political and civil rights and removal of all legal disabilities if you (1) are able to prove your innocence or (2) have waited five years after completing all of the requirements of your imprisonment, parole, and/or probation. The five-year waiting period will be waived if you can show that an immediate pardon is necessary for qualification for employment in your chosen profession.
If you were a first-time offender when you were charged and convicted, you have the benefit of the Georgia First Offender Act. This law allows you to forego a judgment by the court in lieu of probation. And, once all requirements set by the court are completed, your criminal record will automatically be expunged.