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Cherokee and Cobb County Record Sealing Defense Attorneys

Smyrna Record Sealing of Juvenile and Adult Criminal Charges

We’ve all made mistakes, especially when we were younger. But a criminal record shouldn’t be a life sentence, holding you back from opportunities and robbing you of self-confidence.

At the Ghanouni Teen & Young Adult Defense Firm, our entire practice is dedicated to representing teens and young people in their 20s in Georgia. This includes people who are seeking a sealing of their records for a youthful mistake. We believe that youthful missteps shouldn’t keep you shackled forever. That’s why pursuing record sealing and restriction is a core part of our work.

If you’re ready to move forward, our team is here to guide you through the legal process of record sealing in Smyrna.

What is Record Sealing/Restriction in Georgia?

Under Georgia law, limiting access to eligible criminal records is called “record sealing” or “record restriction.” These terms are used interchangeably and refer to the same basic process outlined in the state’s record restriction statute, G.A. Code § 35-3-37.

When a person’s criminal record is sealed or restricted, it means the official court and criminal history record is no longer publicly accessible for most purposes. The record is essentially sealed off from public view.

However, even after an initial “restriction” of a person’s criminal history records, court records related to the case may still be visible. Some private background check providers search these records for employer background checks. That’s why Georgia’s law allows for filing an additional motion to “seal the clerk of court records” as well.

This comprehensive sealing of the criminal history file and any associated court dockets/documents fully prevents the restricted record from being accessed in most circumstances.

While sealed/restricted, the record generally remains available to law enforcement, courts, and certain government agencies screening for sensitive positions. But for most intents and purposes, an eligible criminal record that goes through Georgia’s sealing/restriction process is removed from public view.

Who Qualifies for Record Sealing in Georgia?

To have your record sealed in Georgia, you typically must meet one of these criteria:

  • Your criminal case was dismissed entirely, even if you completed a pretrial diversion program (though some exceptions apply)
  • You were found not guilty by a jury verdict
  • You were convicted but sentenced under Georgia’s conditional discharge laws for drug or alcohol offenses and completed that sentence successfully.
  • You completed a sentence under Georgia’s First Offender Act after being convicted.
  • You have only misdemeanor conviction(s) from the same incident and have stayed conviction-free (except minor traffic offenses) for at least four years before petitioning.

However, even if you were previously denied or do not meet these criteria exactly, our legal team can re-evaluate your eligibility based on the latest laws and circumstances.

Juvenile Criminal Records Are Not Automatically Sealed in GA

There’s a widespread belief that juvenile records disappear or get automatically sealed after a certain period. Unfortunately, this is a dangerous misconception in Georgia.

G.A. Code § 15-11-701 is quite clear—juvenile criminal records are not automatically restricted from your record unless proactive steps are taken. Only upon dismissal of delinquency charges or completion of an informal adjustment/mediation must the court order the sealing of all related files and records in that case.

But, if adjudicated delinquent, the juvenile must apply to have their record sealed and meet the following criteria:

  • Two years have passed since their final discharge from probation/supervision
  • They have no subsequent felony or misdemeanor moral turpitude convictions or delinquency adjudications (and none pending)
  • The court determines they have been rehabilitated

For qualified juveniles, the court will hold a hearing and decide whether to grant sealing. Our lawyers understand the nuances of juvenile criminal records and can ensure you meet all qualifications, properly file petitions, prepare supporting evidence, and advocate for record sealing before the court when you are eligible.

The Process of Record Sealing in Smyrna

For eligible cases, record sealing includes the following steps:

  • You must file a formal petition to the court that handled your original offense(s).
  • There will be an official hearing where both you (or your attorney) and the prosecutor can present evidence.
  • If the judge rules in your favor after reviewing all the relevant evidence, they will grant the record-sealing petition.
  • The court clerks and Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC) are properly notified so they can update records showing your criminal file is now sealed to the public and off-limits for background checks.

A side-effect of this process is that it opens up multiple potential gaps where errors can occur, leaving your records still visible in certain databases or to certain agencies. That’s why our team goes well beyond just checking those baseline boxes.

We have a comprehensive process for confirming the sealing in the court docket, submitting proper requests for law enforcement agencies to seal jail and arrest records, and confirming the accuracy of your official criminal history.

If any mistakes, omissions, or lack of compliance is discovered in the way your record restriction was processed, we pursue corrections to ensure your sealed status is properly reflected across the board. No loose ends left behind.

From the initial petition filing through every stage of having your records updated, our team walks you through the entire process, keeping you informed and addressing any unexpected roadblocks that could derail your fresh start.

Start Your Journey to a Fresh Start Today

Having a criminal record can make life exponentially harder – severely limiting job opportunities, access to housing, education, professional licenses, and even basic loans and credit approvals. The stigma and psychological toll of having mistakes follow you indefinitely only compounds the challenges.

You owe it to yourself to explore all your options for record clearing through sealing and restriction in Georgia.

Our legal team carefully evaluates each case to determine eligibility for record sealing or expungement under Georgia law. We are selective in accepting cases to provide every client with the utmost dedication. With our attorneys, paralegals, and legal professionals in your corner, you’ll have the advocacy needed to pursue clearing your record.

Contact our legal team to discuss the specifics of your case.

Ghanouni Teen & Young Adult Defense Firm

Ghanouni Teen & Young Adult Defense Firm N/a
3826 Highlands,Parkway SE
GA 30082
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