|September 25, 2012|
O.C.G.A. 35-3-37(d)(1) provides the rules for when expungment is possible. If your case is dismissed prior to being formally charged by accusation, indictment, etc. or if the prosecutor consents you can seek to expunge your arrest record. Under current law, actual convictions cannot be expunged.
Step 1 Start with the Correct Form
First you need to obtain a Request To Expunge Arrest Record form. This is a three-page form that can be downloaded from the website of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the link is included with this guide. You may also contact your local law enforcement agency or local prosecutor’s office to gain access to the correct the form. Make sure to obtain the written instructions for use with the form.
Step 2 Carefully Read the Instructions and Complete the Form Properly
Be sure to read and understand the instructions included with the form. Accurately and carefully complete the first page of the form with your identifying information, including the date of your arrest. You will be required to sign and date the form at the bottom of the first page.
Step 3 Submitting the Form
Take the form to the arresting agency, almost always a county sheriff or municipal police department, or the Georgia State Patrol, and request that the arresting agency complete pages 2 and 3 of the form. The arresting agency may want to collect a $25 filing fee payable to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (you will have to pay this fee at some point in the process). The arresting agency is also permitted to charge an administrative fee to complete the form. These fees vary from agency to agency somewhat. It is always best to contact the agency ahead of time to make certain what the exact fee is and how it is to be paid.
Step 4 Your Request to Expunge Goes to the Prosecutor
After the arresting agency completes page 2 of the form, the arresting agency will forward the form to the appropriate prosecuting attorney's office. This office is responsible for responding to the form, considering the request and hopefully, completing page 3 approving the request. O.C.G.A. §35-3-37(d) provides for the expungement of certain criminal history records when approved by the prosecuting attorney.
Step 5 The Prosecuting Agency's Role
O.C.G.A. 35-3-37(d)(1) provides in part that “An individual who was: (A) Arrested for an offense under the laws of this state but subsequent to such arrest is released by the arresting agency without such offense being referred to the prosecuting attorney for prosecution; or (B) After such offense referred to the proper prosecuting attorney, and the prosecuting attorney dismisses the charges without seeking an indictment or filing an accusation may request the original agency in writing to expunge the records of such arrest...”If the prosecuting attorney’s office denies your request, the form will be returned to you and your request will be denied and you will have to return to square one and either accept their no as the answer or possibly consult an attorney.
Step 6 Prosecution Approval/Success
Once approved by the prosecutor, the arresting agency may return the approved Request form to the applicant who will be responsible for forwarding the approved Request Form and $25.00 fee to GCIC. If the arresting agency collects the GCIC fee from the applicant at the time the request is received, the arresting agency may forward the Request Form and $25.00 fee to GCIC on behalf of the applicant. If the request is approved or by the prosecutor, the form will be sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for expungement of your arrest record from the records maintained by Georgia Crime Information Center.
The proceedures vary a lot by State but the above guide will assist you in your self-help efforts in the State of Georgia. For more information see the attached link and also O.C.G.A. §35-3-37(d).
Request to Expunge Form