Can an arrest on my criminal history be restricted?

Georgia law only allows restriction (expungement) in the following three (3) situations:


Generally, cases that are closed without conviction qualify for restriction. This includes charges that are closed by the arresting agency, dismissed, nolle prosequi/nolle prossed, placed on the “dead docket,” and those not presented to the grand jury or twice nobilled by the grand jury. Verdicts of not guilty and vacated/reversed convictions are also eligible for restriction.

Non-Conviction Exceptions:

Restriction is not available if after indictment:

A.  A charge was dismissed because:

  • You pled guilty to another charge in the case;
  • You were involved in a pattern of criminal activity prosecuted in another jurisdiction
  • The prosecution could not use important evidence against you (evidence was suppressed)
  • You had some form of immunity.

B. You were acquitted, but within ten (10) days of the verdict, the prosecution convinces the court not to restrict, or it is later determined there was jury tampering or judicial misconduct.


Certain misdemeanor convictions that occurred before you turned twenty-one (21) years old qualify for restriction. To qualify, you must have successfully completed your sentence, and in the five (5) years before you request restriction, you cannot have been charged with any offense, other than minor traffic offenses.

Youthful Offender Exceptions:

Restriction is not available for the following convictions:

  • Serious Traffic Offenses including:
    • Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
    • Reckless Driving
    • Aggressive Driving
    • Fleeing/Attempting to Elude
    • Serious Injury by Vehicle
    • Vehicular Homicide
  • Theft (does not include Shoplifting)
  • Child Molestation
  • Enticing a Child for Indecent Purposes
  • Pimping
  • Keeping a Place of Prostitution
  • Pandering by Compulsion
  • Masturbation for Hire
  • Giving Massages in a Place used for Lewd Sexual Acts
  • Sexual Battery
  • Sexual Assault by Persons with Supervisory or Disciplinary Authority
  • Sexual Exploitation of Children
  • Electronically Furnishing Obscene Material to Minors
  • Obscene Telephone Contact with a Minor
  • Computer Pornography

3. Charged With a Felony, but Convicted of an Unrelated Misdemeanor

You may be able to have a felony charge restricted if it was closed without conviction, and you were only convicted of an unrelated misdemeanor offense in that case. The court will determine whether restriction is appropriate considering the harm the record is causing you (i.e., difficulty getting a job, housing, license, etc.). You are not eligible for restriction if you were convicted of a lesser included offense of the felony charge.

Posted in: Expungements