How to Restrict (Expunge) a Felony Charge When Only Convicted of an Unrelated Misdemeanor and Seal the Court Records

You can have a felony charge restricted on your criminal history if it was closed without conviction and you were convicted only of an unrelated misdemeanor offense in the case. See O.C.G.A. §35-3-37(j)(1).

ELIGIBILITY:

  1. You were arrested within the last four (4) years;
  2. You were charged with a felony offense(s) but not convicted of the felony;
  3. You were convicted of an unrelated misdemeanor(s) in the case; and
  4. The record of the felony charge(s) is causing you harm. For instance, you are unable to secure employment and/or housing because of the record, which can be demonstrated through your testimony or denial letters from employers or housing providers.

PROCESS:

  1. File an action (motion/petition) in the superior court in the county where the record is located for an order to restrict the felony charge.
    1. If the felony charges were indicted (i.e., the charge(s) was assigned a court case number), see “How to Restrict (Expunge) Charge(s) Handled in Superior Court (Usually Felonies)” on page 101.
    2. If the felony charges were never indicted (i.e., the charge(s) dismissed before the assignment of a court case number) or you are not sure whether the charges were indicted, see “How to Restrict (Expunge) Charge(s) NOT Handled in Superior Court (Usually Misdemeanors)” on page 103.
  2. Deliver a copy of the action to the prosecuting attorney’s office
  3. If requested, a hearing must be held within ninety (90) days of filing the request.
  4. The court will grant restriction if it determines that the misdemeanor conviction is not related to the felony (not a lesser included offense) and the harm you suffer clearly outweighs the public interest in the record.
  5. If the court orders the record restricted, you can submit a written request for restriction to the jail/detention center and the law requires the record be restricted within thirty (30) days of your request. See “How to Restrict (Expunge) Records Kept by the Jail” on Page 110.

REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION:

  1. Certified copy of the final disposition from the clerk of court.
  2. Motion/Petition to Restrict. (Sample documents are included in these instructions)
  3. Evidence that the charge is causing you harm (such as keeping you from finding employment).

Posted in: Restriction