Info You Need to Know

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Laws Protecting Your Future

Most people have a basic understanding of the criminal justice system - get arrested, fight charges, probation, incarceration, parole. For some, there are elements within Georgia laws that can help a person to walk away from their past mistakes. This page introduces some ways a defense law firm can help you improve your future outlook for life.

First Offender Program

What is the definition of the First Offender Actin Georgia? The First Offender Act is an alternative sentencing (diversion) that provides an opportunity for someone with no prior felony convictions in any state to complete a set of requirements and avoid having any criminal record of their offense. Anyone in the First Offender Program may still be required to pay fines and fees, complete certain types of counseling, and complete community service work.

Although the accused must agree to plead guilty, via this form of alternative sentencing the State will defer formal conviction pending the successful completion of the program. If the accused stays out of legal trouble, there will be no public criminal record of the matter.

Criminal Record Restriction & Expungement

Records Restriction vs. Expungement comes down to the fact that an expungement totally eliminates the public access to your arrest and prosecution. Criminal record restriction removes (hides) it from only the Georgia and Federal criminal history reports.

Criminal Records Restriction is how you get criminal records sealed and not found on most background checks. O.C.G.A. §35-3-37 provides for the restriction of certain criminal history records for non-criminal justice purposes when approved by the prosecuting attorney.

Expungement is a legal solution that restricts the public access to your criminal history. An expungement wipes it away and seals your criminal conviction therby preventing any trace of it on background checks.

Pardons and Appeals

A pardon is an State-issued official forgiveness for a person convicted of specific criminal actions. It may be granted to a person who has maintained a good reputation in their community after completing of their sentence. A pardon provides for a formal statement to be attached to their criminal record. The statement serves to make a public recognition that the State of Georgia has pardoned the individual. However, the statement does not expunge, remove, or conceal the criminal record.

Pardons & Restoration of Rights

In Georgia, there are two different pardon applications which may be filed on your behalf. These are a:

General Pardon and Restoration of Rights Application To qualify for this type of pardon you must:

  • You must have completed all sentence(s) at least five (5) years prior to applying.
  • have lived a law-abiding life during the five (5) years prior to applying.
  • not have any pending charges.
  • have paid all fines in full.

Registered Sex Offender Pardon Application To qualify for this type of pardon you must:

  • have completed all sentences for sex offenses requiring registration at least ten (10) years prior to applying.
  • have within 90 days of application for the Pardon, have a psychosexual evaluation conducted. A list of approved sex offender treatment providers can be found at the following link: Approved Sex Offender Treatment Providers.
  • have within 90 days of application for the Pardon, submit to a disclosure polygraph. A list of approved polygraph examiners can be found at the following link: Polygraph Examiners.
  • provide a current copy of your most recent risk level evaluation as assigned by the Sexual Offender Registration Review Board (SORRB).
  • have lived a law-abiding life during the ten (10) years prior to applying.
  • not have any pending charges.
  • have paid all fines in full.

Appeals

Do you believe you were wrongfully convicted of a crime? Do you believe there was judicial misconduct? Since your conviction, has new evidence been found that helps to prove your innocence? In Georgia, criminal defendants have guaranteed rights to appeal a criminal conviction. Your defense lawyer can prepare and file an appeal. The appeal will formally request that the conviction be overturned and that the convicted person shall be granted a new trial.


If you have been arrested or convicted of a crime you may have opportunities to help your circumstances. Call us at 770-956-1400 to arrange time to discuss your situation and get answers to your questions.