Atlanta Expungement Lawyer

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Atlanta Expungement Lawyer

Atlanta Expungement Attorney

Atlanta, GA Lawyers Help You Clear Your Record Through Expungement

If you possess a criminal record, you may face a lifetime of consequences that can be difficult to overcome, even long after you’ve paid your debt to society. A criminal record can have a lasting effect on your employment opportunities and your ability to further your education, obtain adequate housing, or apply for a professional license in your desired field. Consult with an experienced Atlanta expungement lawyer to understand what steps you can take to regain control of your life.

At The Law Office of Delisa Williams PC, we are here to help eligible people in the Atlanta area and throughout Georgia lessen the negative repercussions of having a criminal record by guiding them through the expungement (or expunction) process. In this process, your record may be sealed or, in some cases completely erased, making it more likely you will be able to pass a background check when you apply for a job, sign a lease, or seek a loan.

We are dedicated advocates with the skills to assist clients interested in building a future free of the stigma that comes with having been arrested for or convicted of a crime. We have a thorough understanding of Georgia criminal laws and the inner workings of local, state, and federal area courts, and we draw upon that knowledge to help you move forward.

Atlanta Expungement Lawyer

What Does Expunging a Record Do?

A criminal conviction is erased or sealed when a record is expunged. If you were convicted of a crime but have since had your record expunged, your record will no longer be available to the public, though it may still be accessed by law enforcement and certain government agencies. If you have successfully expunged a criminal conviction from your record, then you are allowed to say that you were not arrested, charged, or accused of committing a crime when asked if you have a criminal record.

Expungement can open up many opportunities for you, as potential employers and landlords no longer have access to your complete criminal record. Expungement can allow you to have a fresh start and eliminate any consequences of having the conviction in question on your record. That said, you should speak to a lawyer if your record was expunged and you are considering applying for a professional license or running for office. Some rules still require you to disclose such information.

What Charges Are Eligible for Expungement?

Not every crime can be expunged from a criminal record. While the laws vary from state to state, some jurisdictions may allow expungement only for arrests and misdemeanor convictions. Others will allow expungement for certain felonies, though not for violent crimes such as murder or rape. Even when it is possible to expunge or seal a record, qualifying for this relief can be difficult and complex. In Georgia, you can qualify for an expungement for most misdemeanors and certain felonies, with some exceptions.

Factors that might affect your ability to have your record expunged include the following:

  • The charge was minor and your first and only offense.
  • The charges against you have been dismissed.
  • You were acquitted or found not guilty.
  • You were a juvenile at the time.

Minor drug convictions, such as marijuana possession, may also be easier to expunge, especially if the offender was a juvenile. An Atlanta Expungement Lawyer who is familiar with the laws of your state can let you know if your specific charge is eligible for expunction.

What Crimes Cannot Be Expunged in Atlanta, Georgia?

There are several crimes that cannot be expunged, or restricted and sealed, from a criminal record. Misdemeanors that can’t be expunged include:

Felony offenses that cannot be expunged include:

  • Armed robbery
  • Murder
  • Felony murder
  • Rape
  • Aggravated sexual battery
  • Aggravated child molestation

Other criminal charges could potentially be restricted and expunged, meaning that potential employers or landlords would not be able to view them during a background check. However, these misdemeanors and felonies cannot be restricted or sealed.

How Do I Apply to Have My Record Expunged in Atlanta?

There are a few different steps necessary to have your criminal record expunged in Atlanta, but overall, the process is relatively straightforward. Here is a quick breakdown of the specific steps required to effectively expunge your record in Georgia:

  • Obtain a copy of your Criminal Record Report: First, you’ll need a copy of your criminal record, also known as a Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC) report, in order to begin the expungement process. You can request a copy of your record from your local police department that will detail the full list of your criminal history. Police departments will typically print out a copy of your criminal record for a small fee.
  • Submit an Expungement Application: Once you’ve obtained a copy of your criminal record or GCIC report, you’ll now need to submit an official expungement application. To do this, you must go to the prosecutor’s office in the county in which you were charged and request an expungement application. From there, the prosecutor will review your application before either approving or denying it, which usually takes two to three weeks.
  • Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) processes your expungement: If your expungement application is approved by the county prosecutor’s office, it will then be passed on to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), which handles all record sealing for the state. This typically comes with a small processing fee, but then your expungement application will be officially complete.

What Is the New Expungement Law in Georgia?

Effective as of January 1st, 2021, Georgia’s new expungement law (also known as record restriction) allows individuals to expunge a misdemeanor conviction from their criminal record as long as they have completed their sentence, including parole or probation, and not committed any other crimes (aside from minor traffic violations) in the past four years.

The law is applicable to most misdemeanor convictions, excluding more serious traffic violations (like a DUI), sexual crimes, family violence crimes, crimes involving a minor, and more.

It should be known that record restriction does not completely eradicate the entire criminal record; it only removes the crime from the public record. Government organizations and certain employers may still have access to the complete criminal record. In regard to felony convictions, they cannot be expunged. However, certain felony convictions may be eligible for record restriction, depending on the particular offense and overall criminal history of the individual.

If you’re unsure whether or not you qualify for expungement or record restriction, then reach out to a trusted expungement attorney with direct experience handling criminal defense in the greater Atlanta area.

How Much Does Getting a Crime Expunged in Georgia Cost?

The overall cost to have your record expunged is relatively inexpensive, especially considering the long-term financial and employment ramifications that come with possessing a criminal record. Here is a breakdown of the different costs associated with having your record expunged in Georgia:

  • Criminal Record Report Fee: Before you can begin the expungement process, you will need a copy of your criminal record or GCIC report, which can normally be printed out for you by your local police department for around $25.
  • Expungement Application Fee: The application fee for having your record expunged is generally about $50, but it can vary depending on the particular prosecutor’s office and county that processes the application.
  • Georgia Bureau of Investigation Fee: You will be asked to pay a $25 processing fee to complete the expungement.

All in all, you can expect to pay around $100 total in fees to go through the expungement process in Georgia, as long as you qualify and your application is accepted. These fees are non-refundable, so you will not be eligible for a refund even if your application is denied. Also, if you need to expunge multiple charges, then you will likely have to pay additional application fees for each crime.

Effective Legal Guidance for Expunction in Georgia

Many states have waiting periods that prohibit people from seeking an expungement until a certain amount of time has passed, and others will only expunge a first offense from someone’s record. If you seek to have your record expunged in Georgia, we may be able to help. As experienced criminal defense attorneys, we can determine whether you are eligible to have your record sealed and then guide you through the process.

Expungement Attorney FAQs

Q: How Long Does It Take to Get a Case Expunged in Atlanta, GA?

A: Some restrictions, where your criminal history is sealed but not erased, are automatic in Georgia. If you were arrested and not prosecuted, the record of the arrest would be restricted after two years for misdemeanors, four years for felonies, and seven years for violent or sex-related felonies. This record restriction could be temporary if your case becomes prosecuted.

You can petition for a restriction under certain circumstances, such as if your conviction was dismissed or reversed or you were convicted of a misdemeanor as a minor. Once you have been approved for a restriction of a record, it will likely take two to three weeks to process.

Q: What Is the Second Chance Act in Georgia?

A: The Second Chance Act allows certain individuals to restrict and seal most types of misdemeanor convictions. In cases where you have been convicted of a single misdemeanor or several misdemeanors within one case, you may qualify for expungement if the following is also true:

  1. At least four years have passed since the completion of your sentence;
  2. You haven’t been convicted of any crimes during that time, excluding minor traffic offenses;
  3. There are no pending charges against you; and
  4. The conviction is not an offense specifically excluded from expungement.

This act aims to improve rehabilitation for nonviolent criminal offenders and provide more opportunities in life.

Q: Will a Felony Show Up on a Background Check After 10 Years in Georgia?

A: Until the federal law Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), employers are only allowed to obtain information that is relevant to the job, accurate, and not outdated. Under this law, there is usually a seven-year period of information review. If you were arrested and not convicted, it may not show up on a background check after seven years have passed. However, this does not apply to all jobs because it may be considered relevant to the job. You may also be able to expunge a felony from your criminal record in certain circumstances, which can remove it from background checks.

Q: Who Can See Sealed Records in Georgia?

A: Under the current Georgia state expungement laws, sealed records are only accessible by certain government and law enforcement agencies, the individual whose record has been restricted, and their attorneys.

That means that the general public, including employers, private organizations, and other third parties are not allowed access to the criminal records. Therefore, employers won’t see your conviction during the hiring process, nor will potential landlords. As a result, you won’t face difficulties being hired or finding housing due to your record.

Q: How Far Back Can a Background Check Go in Georgia?

A: Technically, employers and other public organizations can conduct a background check as far back as they want to; however, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) restricts employers to only gathering information that is relevant, accurate, and not outdated for the job position that they are hiring for.

In order to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, it has become standard practice for employers to conduct background checks seven years back. If your crime occurred more than seven years ago, a potential employer may not see it.

Contact our experienced defense attorneys for help with expunging your record in Atlanta, GA

A criminal record can follow you for the rest of your life, but it doesn’t have to. If you’ve been charged with eligible crimes and wish to have your criminal record expunged or sealed from public access, contact The Law Office of Delisa Williams PC. Let her two decades of criminal defense experience in the greater Atlanta area help you start fresh. Call us at 678-635-9580 or contact us online to schedule a consultation at our Atlanta office.

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