Expungement of Criminal Records
For specific cases in Georgia, you could have the ability to expunge your criminal records from people outside of the judicial branch of government. This basically means certain criminal history records can be restricted for non-criminal justice purposes (such as applying for jobs or getting licenses). That way you can get a clean start!
In order to expunge your criminal records (also known as the "Record Restrictions" process), the prosecuting attorney must approve your request. Two different paths exist to accomplish this, depending on your arrest dates.
Before July 1, 2013
A little bit of effort is required for arrests prior to July 1, 2013. For these cases, you must apply at the arresting agency. There could be a fee for this, depending on the agency, but they are not allowed to charge more than $50. To apply, you must complete a form with three sections and get it signed by the appropriate parties.
- Section 1: YOU complete
- Section 2: ARRESTING AGENCY completes
- Section 3: PROSECUTOR completes
Once you get all three sections filled out and approved, the prosecutor must submit the information into a database used by the Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC). Then the arresting agency will get a notification that your information has been successfully restricted.
However, if the prosecutor isn’t able to add your information to the GCIC database, your application will go back to the arresting agency. You will then need to send the approved applications to GCIC yourself. This requires a $25 processing fee (using money order or checks payable to “Georgia Bureau of Investigation"). You can mail your approved application and money to:
Georgia Crime Information Center
P.O. Box 370808
Decatur, GA 30037-0808
You will get an email notification when the restriction has been applied to your criminal history. You can always check the status of your application by calling the service desk at 404-244-2639 (Option 1) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
After July 1, 2013
If your arrest takes place after July 1, 2013, there is actually no application process. At your sentencing, the prosecutor can approve to expunge your records right then and there. Your approved restriction will be noted in the sentencing documents which are then forwarded to the court.
Having the ability to get a fresh start can be powerful in more ways than one. This blog post is a good place to start, but feel free to continue your research using these additional resources:
- Record Restriction Forms
- Getting Copies of Criminal Records
- Obtaining Criminal Records FAQs
- GCIC Fees
About the Author
Bethany McDaniel is the Editorial Director for GeorgiaGov. She graduated from Berry College in Rome, Ga., with degrees in Visual Communication and History.