Understanding Whether Georgia's Youthful Offender Act Can Protect Your Record
O.C.G.A. Section 35-3-37(j)(4) allows people to restrict their record (expunge) of a youthful indiscretion. If you were sentenced to a misdemeanor charge when you were under the age of 21, this code section might help you.
Is my conviction for a crime that the law allows to be restricted under this code section?The conviction you are hoping to restrict must be for a misdemeanor or series of misdemeanors that stem from the same incident. Some misdemeanors are not eligible.
Which misdemeanors are ineligible?The ineligible misdemeanors are:
1. sex crimes (misdemeanor child molestation; enticing a child for indecent purposes; sexual assault by a person with supervisory authority; keeping a place of prostitution; pimping; pandering; masturbation for hire; giving massages in a place used for lewdness, prostitution, assignation, or masturbation for hire; sexual battery)
2. Offenses related to minors (sexual exploitation of children; electronically furnishing obscene material to minors; child pornography; obscene telephone contact with minors)
3. Theft (with the exception of shoplifting or refund fraud)
4. Any serious traffic offense (DUI; reckless driving, aggressive driving)
Do I fit the criteria to be allowed to restrict my eligible misdemeanor conviction?There are four main criteria that you must meet.
1. You must have been under the age of 21 at the time of your conviction.
2. You must have completed the terms of your sentence.
3. Since the completion of your sentence, you must have not been arrested for at least five (5) years, excluding non-serious traffic offenses.
4. You must not have been convicted of any of the ineligible offenses in this state or any other state.
I'm eligible for restriction (expungement)! What do I do?You will need to petition the court in which you were convicted for a record restriction. Serve (deliver) a copy of the petition to the prosecuting attorney's office. The statute requires that the court hold a hearing within 90 days if a hearing is requested. At the hearing, the judge will hear evidence and decide whether to grant the restriction. The judge is required to weigh "the individual's conduct and the public's interest in the criminal history record information being publicly available."
An attorney can help you successfully handle this process.