In addition to juvenile delinquency cases, where juveniles can seek to seal their record, Georgia also permits "youthful offenders" (persons under 21) to restict records of convictions under certain circumstances. This category of record sealing deals with cases that were handled in adult, not juvenile court, and only applies to certain misdemeanor charges.
Under Georgia law, you must have successfully completed your sentence, and since the completion of the sentence, cannot have been arrested for any offense for 5 years (other than minor traffic violations). Moreover, restriction is not available for all offenses. The list below provides some examples of offenses that are not eligible for restriction:
In making the decision to restrict your record, the court will focus on 2 things:
1. The nature of your conduct since your conviction, and
2. The public's interest in having access to the record.
A person seeking to have this conviction restricted can demonstrate how they have moved forward in a positive manner. This can be demonstrated by providing documentary and character evidence, as well as through bringing character witnesses to court. If you think you or child might be a candidate for this type of restriction, I suggest first running a criminal background or locating your court paperwork to determine if the specific charge falls under this category for restriction.
Kathryn Boortz has a passion for working with youth and their families. She is the founder of Boortz Law, a law firm that focuses on juvenile defense.