2024 How to Expunge a DUI in Georgia

Oct 10, 2023

A DUI charge can drastically change a person’s life, but expunging a DUI from someone’s record can lead to real benefits like peace of mind and more opportunities. Working with an Atlanta, GA, DUI attorney can help reduce the consequences of a DUI so you can get back on track.

What Are the Consequences of a DUI in Georgia?

  • Jail time and fines: Depending on how many times a person has committed a DUI, they can experience anywhere between 40 hours in jail and five years in prison.
  • License suspension: A person convicted of a DUI in Atlanta can lose their license for up to five years.
  • Job loss: There is no requirement for a business to fire an employee due to a DUI charge. However, Georgia is an at-will employment state, so employers could decide to terminate a person with a DUI.
  • Increased insurance costs: When an insurance agency discovers a DUI, they will either increase the person’s rates or cancel their policy. If they purchase a new policy, it likely will not offer the same amount of coverage as their previous one.
  • Difficulty applying for jobs, educational programs, and housing: Many places of employment, schools, and leasing offices require a background check. A DUI could harm a person’s chances of getting their dream job, diploma, or living space.

What Are Your Rights?

If you are being accused of a DUI, it is important to know your legal rights, including:

  • Due Process: You have the right to a trial before being convicted. Driving is not included in this process, however, since it is not a right. You can get your driver’s license suspended in Atlanta without a trial by jury.
  • Assumption of Innocence: In the United States, it is assumed that you are innocent unless you are proven guilty in a court of law. This does not apply if you choose to plead guilty.
  • Testify: You have the right to testify on your own behalf. You also have the right to not testify and remain silent.
  • Appeal: In Atlanta, you can appeal a criminal verdict, but only for certain specific reasons.

Can You Expunge a DUI in Atlanta?

In 2013, Georgia changed the name of “expunging” to “record restriction” and required anyone acquitted of charges to have their criminal record restricted. In 2020, a new law was passed, allowing arrests and misdemeanor conviction records to be restricted, in addition to acquittals. Filing a record restriction has a standard procedure:

  1. A person goes to the arresting agency in person to submit the application. This is usually done with an attorney because it involves submitting important details about the case.
  2. The arresting agency files the application with the prosecutor.
  3. The prosecutor submits the final disposition and then notifies the individual/attorney.

Due to the complicated application process, it makes the most sense to contact an attorney to help file a record restriction application.

What Is the Difference Between a DUI Expungement and a Record Restriction?

A record is expunged if it is entirely deleted from a system. A record is restricted if it cannot be seen by the public and is only visible to law enforcement. This means that a person’s record is not completely destroyed. Even so, it still cannot be seen by potential employers, property owners, or anyone requiring a criminal background check other than law enforcement.

Who Is Eligible for a DUI Record Restriction?

A DUI charge cannot be expunged or restricted if:

  • The person has pleaded guilty
  • The person was found guilty by a jury

A DUI can potentially be expunged or restricted if:

  • The case was dismissed
  • The case was not prosecuted

This is why it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after a DUI.


Q: Should I Get a Lawyer for My First DUI in Atlanta?

A: In Atlanta, the first DUI you receive is a misdemeanor. This increases to a felony if you receive four or more in ten years. Working with an attorney for a DUI charge can help you find a more positive outcome. They can inform you of your rights, answer questions, and try to lessen your sentence. Using a DUI attorney can even get some DUI cases acquitted or dismissed.

Q: How Do You Beat a DUI in GA?

A: If you have pleaded guilty to a DUI in Atlanta or have been found guilty by a jury, your record cannot be restricted or expunged. If you have not pleaded guilty or your DUI case was dismissed, you can contact an attorney to submit a record restriction application. Even if you cannot get your record restricted or expunged, an attorney can help you significantly reduce the negative consequences.

Q: Can a DUI Be Dropped in Georgia?

A: A DUI might not completely be removed from your criminal record, but it might be restricted. This means that only law enforcement would be able to see the DUI offense on your record, making it easier to apply for things that require a criminal background check. This only applies to individuals who have not pleaded guilty or been found guilty of a DUI charge.

Q: How Much Does a DUI Cost in Georgia?

A: A DUI in Atlanta often comes with fines, depending on how many counts you have committed in the past:

  • A first offense can be fined $300-$1000
  • A second offense can be fined $600-$1000
  • A third offense can be fined $1000-$5000
  • A fourth offense can be fined a minimum of $1000
  • A DUI that harmed another person can incur additional fines due to injury or death.

Q: How Long Does It Take to Get a DUI Off Your Record in Georgia?

A: If you are convicted of or plead guilty to a DUI charge in Atlanta, it will stay on your criminal record forever. A common myth is that a DUI charge will be expunged after ten years. This is not true and instead applies to additional DUI charges. In Atlanta, if you commit an additional DUI within ten years of the first, there is a mandatory 72-hour jail sentence, $600-$1000 fine, and other requirements like community service and counseling.

Your DUI Defense

The potential benefits of a record restriction for a DUI acquittal or dismissal can be life-changing. Contacting an attorney can help you understand your rights and options for your case. The Law Office of Delisa Williams PC has a wealth of experience serving individuals in the Atlanta area. Request a consultation today to learn about your DUI options.