Does GA Have a Second Chance Act?

As of 2021, Georgia’s Second Chance Act enables you to restrict and seal the records of most types of misdemeanor convictions, as long as four years have passed since you completed your sentence, and you have not gotten any new convictions during that time.

These days, the news headlines have much to say about labor shortages; there are many reasons why so many available job positions have been unable to attract applicants. It could be that, after so many years of working for low pay and few health insurance benefits, Americans are burned out, and the pandemic-related uncertainty about whether the job will last more than a few months also plays a role. Part of the problem, though, is that some people keep applying for jobs, only to be turned away because of a criminal record from many years ago. Is it really fair for employers to hold it against you today, that you were convicted of marijuana possession when you were 23, even though more than a decade has passed since you completed your probation? Georgia’s Second Chance Act makes it easier for people with long-ago misdemeanor convictions to remove those records from the publicly searchable data for pre-employment background checks. For help restricting and sealing records of a past conviction, contact an Atlanta expungement lawyer, at Zimmerman & Associates.

Which Records are Eligible for Restriction and Sealing Under the Second Chance Act?

The Second Chance Act became law in Georgia at the beginning of 2021. It makes it possible for people convicted of most misdemeanor offenses to restrict and seal the records of those convictions. Restriction and sealing of a record means that it is not visible on publicly searchable databases, meaning that prospective employers and landlords will not see it if they do a background check before accepting your application. (Georgia uses the term “restriction and sealing,” while some other states call this process “expungement.”) Before your misdemeanor conviction record becomes eligible for restriction and sealing, four years must pass since the completion of your sentence. During those four years, you must not have been convicted of any other crimes, and at the time that you apply for restriction and sealing, you must not have any charges pending against you.

For most misdemeanor convictions, you can apply for restriction and sealing no matter how old you were when you were convicted. Misdemeanor family violence convictions are only eligible if you were younger than 21 when convicted. Misdemeanor convictions for DUIs, certain theft crimes, and sex crimes are not eligible for restriction and sealing under the Second Chance Act. Restriction and sealing does not happen automatically; you must apply for it by petitioning the court that handed down your sentence.

Contact Zimmerman & Associates About Restriction and Sealing of Criminal Records

An Atlanta criminal defense lawyer can help you apply to have the record of an eligible misdemeanor conviction restricted and sealed pursuant to the Second Chance Act. Contact Zimmerman & Associates in Norcross, Georgia to set up a free consultation.