If you have a criminal record it can make it difficult to get a job, rent an apartment, and even go to college. In today’s electronic world, it seems anyone can access your criminal history to find out if you have a conviction. You may wonder whether you can get your criminal record expunged or removed. There are several options; however, in general, none of them will provide you with a completely clear record. It is worth investigating your choices with help from a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in Carrollton.
What Is an Expungement?
Many people think that they can expunge their record and get a clean slate. That is not true. There is no way to completely erase your record. However, there is something called a record restriction. A record restriction limits the people or agencies that can view your record. Your criminal record will still be in the system, however, in some cases, there will be limited access. Not every case is subject to restriction. When a record is restricted, it is still available to members of law enforcement, judges, and others in the criminal justice system.
In some cases, your record may be eligible for automatic restriction. This applies to cases where you were acquitted of charges after the trial or when the trial is delayed. However, if the trial is delayed, your record will only be restricted until the case is concluded. At that time, your record will again reappear. If you were convicted of a crime prior to the age of 21, you may be eligible to have your record restricted. This can be extremely beneficial for young people who are now ready to begin adulthood with a fresh start.
Expungement Due to Errors
If a mistake was made on your record, Georgia law allows you to file a petition to correct the error. For example, if you were originally charged with a felony, but the charges were later reduced to a misdemeanor, your record might still show the felony listed. This could be a problem when someone performs a background check. Even though you were not convicted of a felony, it could appear that way on your record. You can file to have the record reviewed. If it is deemed that an error was made, your record will be corrected.
There are many other situations that could warrant a review and change to your record. These types of changes are not automatic, so you must file a petition with the court. It is important to know that there are time limits on how long you have to file a petition. In some cases, you must file within 4 years of the arrest. If you filed a petition but it was denied, you have the right to appeal. Expungement and removal proceedings can be difficult and complex. It is helpful to get guidance from an experienced Carrollton criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer will review your situation and let you know your options so you can make the decision that meets your needs. Contact our legal team at Moffitt Law, LLC for a free initial case evaluation.
Tyler Moffitt is a Family Law and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices Carrollton, LaGrange, and Columbus, GA. He graduated from John Marshall Law School, and has been practicing for several years now. Tyler Moffitt takes great honor in defending the accused. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.