Can I Expunge My Record Under SB 288?
As of 2021, you can expunge most misdemeanor convictions four years after completing your sentence; some felony convictions are also eligible for restriction and sealing if you have obtained a pardon.
The way that arrests show up on your record every time you apply for a job or an apartment lease almost defeats the purpose of the presumption of innocence. Even if the charges were dropped before you even entered a plea, prospective employers and landlords can still see that the police arrested your 22-year-old self for smoking weed in the parking lot of a concert venue in 1996. Getting these arrests expunged from your record remains a laborious process, and until SB 288 became law earlier this year, it was impossible to restrict and seal most convictions, even for misdemeanors for which you had finished your probation decades ago. SB 288 has created a path to the restriction and sealing of some misdemeanor convictions and even some felony convictions. For help getting an eligible record sealed, and to ensure that your record is eligible before you begin the application process, contact an Atlanta criminal defense lawyer at Zimmerman & Associates.
New Law Makes it Possible to Restrict and Seal Records of Most Misdemeanor Convictions
Before SB 288 went into effect at the beginning of 2021, it was not possible to restrict and seal the records of any criminal convictions, with the exception of misdemeanor convictions that happened when the defendant was younger than 21. Restriction and sealing of a criminal record, also known as expungement, means that law enforcement and officials in the criminal justice system can still see the record but the record is not visible in pre-employment background checks or those associated with applications for housing.
Pursuant to SB 288, you can petition the court that handed down your sentence to restrict and seal up to two misdemeanor conviction records. The court will not consider your request unless four years have passed since you completed your sentence, provided that you have not had any new convictions during that time, and no charges against you are currently pending. You can also have a felony conviction record restricted and sealed if you have already received a pardon.
Which Offenses are Not Eligible for Restriction and Sealing?
Most misdemeanor convictions are eligible for restriction and sealing. The following types of misdemeanor convictions are not eligible:
- Domestic violence cases.
- Sex crimes involving children.
- Misdemeanor sex crimes involving profiting financially from the sexual exploitation of another person (pimping, pandering, or keeping a house of prostitution).
- DUI and other traffic crimes.
Likewise, felonies that involve abduction, sexual violence or exploitation, or serious bodily injury or death of a victim are not eligible for restriction and sealing, even if the defendant has received a pardon.
Contact Zimmerman & Associates About Restriction and Sealing of Records
A criminal defense lawyer can help you put a misdemeanor conviction behind you through restriction and sealing of records. Contact Zimmerman & Associates in Norcross, Georgia to set up a free consultation.