Retroactive First Offender-Getting Felonies Restricted From Your Record

Sep 10, 2021

The 2015 Georgia Retroactive First Offenders Law can be life-changing for many. If a conviction is holding you back from a promotion, new job opportunity or new business venture then using the law could give you a new jumpstart. Hire an attorney to file a Petition and get started today.

1. Georgia Law on Retroactive First Offenders

Retroactive First Offenders Law does not apply to violent crimes; must be approved by the prosecutor and the judge; a they start with a Petition from your attorney.

2. OCGA section 42-8-66

In 2015 the Georgia Legislature enacted the Retroactive First Offender Law.

GA Code § 42-8-66 (2015)
(a) An individual who qualified for sentencing pursuant to this article but who was not informed of his or her eligibility for first offender treatment may, with the consent of the prosecuting attorney, petition the superior court in the county in which he or she was convicted for discharge and exoneration pursuant to this article.

(b) The court shall hold a hearing on the petition if requested by the petitioner or prosecuting attorney or desired by the court.

(c) In considering a petition pursuant to this Code section, the court may consider any:

(1) Evidence introduced by the petitioner;

(2) Evidence introduced by the prosecuting attorney; and

(3) Other relevant evidence.

(d) The court may issue an order retroactively granting first offender treatment and discharge the defendant pursuant to this article if the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant was eligible for sentencing under the terms of this article at the time he or she was originally sentenced and the ends of justice and the welfare of society are served by granting such petition.

(e) The court shall send a copy of any order issued pursuant to this Code section to the petitioner, the prosecuting attorney, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation shall modify its records accordingly.

(f) This Code section shall not apply to a sentence that may be modified pursuant to subsection (f) of Code Section 17-10-1.

Subsection (f) of Code Section 17-10-1 is as follows:

(f) Within one year of the date upon which the sentence is imposed, or within 120 days after receipt by the sentencing court of the remittitur upon affirmance of the judgment after direct appeal, whichever is later, the court imposing the sentence has the jurisdiction, power, and authority to correct or reduce the sentence and to suspend or probate all or any part of the sentence imposed. Prior to entering any order correcting, reducing, or modifying any sentence, the court shall afford notice and an opportunity for a hearing to the prosecuting attorney. Any order modifying a sentence which is entered without notice and an opportunity for a hearing as provided in this subsection shall be void. This subsection shall not limit any other jurisdiction granted to the court in this Code section or as provided for in subsection (g) of Code Section 42-8-34.