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Georgia's "New" Expungement Law

The "New" Expungement Law

In late 2020, Governor Kemp signed into law SB 288, which provides record expungement for an array of qualifying misdemeanor and felony convictions. Since taking effect on January 1, 2021, many misdemeanors and some felony convictions became eligible for record restriction and sealing. With record restriction and sealing, these convictions are generally inaccessible to public and private background checks.

Removing a qualified misdemeanor conviction, requires a previously convicted offender to petition the court at least four years after the sentence is complete. A sentence is fully complete when all jail time has been served and probation has been terminated. Furthermore, up to two misdemeanor convictions can be expunged.

Ineligible Misdemeanors for Expungement

The new expungement law applies to all misdemeanors except for the following as enumerated under O.C.G.A. 35-3-37(j)(4):

  • Family violence simple assault, unless the individual was a youthful offender;

  • Family violence simple battery, unless the individual was a youthful offender;

  • Family violence battery, unless the individual was a youthful offender;

  • Family violence stalking;

  • Violating a family violence order;

  • Child molestation;

  • Enticing a child for indecent purposes;

  • Improper sexual contact by employee or agent and improper sexual contact by a foster parent;

  • Public indecency;

  • Keeping a place of prostitution;

  • Pimping;

  • Pandering by compulsion;

  • Sexual battery;

  • Obstructing or hindering persons making emergency telephone call;

  • Peeping Toms;

  • Any offense related to minors generally involving obscenity;

  • Most thefts except a misdemeanor conviction of shoplifting or refund fraud; and

  • Any serious traffic offense (e.g., DUI, reckless driving, aggressive driving, vehicular homicide, serious injury by vehicle, fleeing or attempting to elude an officer).

Expunging Felony Convictions

Felony convictions require:

1) applying and receiving a pardon for the convicted offense; and

2) petitioning the court for expungement.

While expunging a felony is a more difficult process, many felonies are available for expungement. However, crimes such as murder, armed robbery, rape, child molestation, sexual exploitation of a minor, and some others can never be expunged.

If you are seeking to restrict and seal a prior conviction, The McPhillip Firm can help. Call us 24 hours/7 days a week at (404) 999-5LAW.

You can also visit us online at

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