Record Restriction vs Sealing: What Is the Difference?
If a criminal record is stopping you from advancing in your personal or professional life, you may want to consider filing to have your record restricted and or sealed. Hiring a skilled record restriction (formerly known as expungement) lawyer can help make this process easier and ensure a future free from your past.
What is Record Restriction?
Individuals with past criminal records can request to have their records restricted under Georgia’s record restriction statute, O.C.G.A. § 35-3-37. Having a criminal record prevents someone from getting the job they deserve, the schooling they prefer and even the housing they desire. Once a person’s record is restricted, it cannot be accessed by a private citizen or company. After a successful record restriction, someone with a restricted criminal record will no longer have to worry about background checks or employment screening processes that could uncover the details of their criminal histories.
What does it mean to have my criminal record sealed?
Sealing a criminal record is a difficult process, it is especially difficult in the state of Georgia. Sealing a record means the criminal history records are no longer available (publicly) and cannot be reported by private background check companies. Even if a case has been properly restricted from your background, if the court records haven’t been sealed it is likely that private background check companies will report the past criminal behavior. Under the same record restriction statute in Georgia, O.C.G.A. § 35-3-37, the filing of a motion to seal the clerk of court records will prevent private background companies from accessing harmful information.
Reasons my criminal record will not be eligible for record restriction or sealing:
Not all requests for record restriction or sealing will be granted. Prosecuting officials can object to record restriction requests for several reasons, including if the crime resulted in a conviction, if the case was dismissed given the witness did not appear or if evidence was suppressed due to Constitutional violations. Others reasons for denial include individuals who have been convicted of witness tampering or perjury-related offenses. O.C.G.A § 35-3-37 provides a list of record restriction and sealing exceptions
However, if a request is denied, the individual can hire an experienced attorney to fight on their behalf, improving the chances of their criminal records being restricted and criminal case files sealed.
Can I file to have my record restricted and or sealed without an attorney?
The short answer to this question is yes, however, would you try and build your home if you never had any construction experience? Most likely you would not.
Hiring a skilled attorney in the area of record restriction is pivotal. David Lee Windecher has restricted (formerly known as expunged) and sealed over 250 cases throughout his career. David understands the law and will fight to preserve your reputation and future opportunities.
I’ve got 13 arrests on my personal criminal history report. I couldn’t get a job at Chick-Fil-A, if I wanted to. But, after years of fighting an uphill battle to show I was more than my criminal record said about me on paper, I was able to obtain a law degree and a license to practice law. My personal experience with the criminal justice system is what motivated me to learn record restriction procedures inside out. I wholeheartedly understand that people need to preserve their reputations in order to realize their dreams. There is nothing more gratifying than helping people reach their dreams. That is why I love doing record restrictions.DAVID LEE WINDECHER