Does a misdemeanor stay on your record forever?

On Behalf of | May 20, 2021 | Criminal defense

Even though everyone makes mistakes, some mistakes lead to criminal charges. If you have a misdemeanor conviction on your record, it may plague you for years. After all, employers can typically find misdemeanor convictions when performing background checks.  

In Georgia, misdemeanors are criminal offenses that typically have a maximum penalty of up to one year in county jail. Fortunately, because of a new law, it may be possible to remove your misdemeanor conviction from your public record.  

Georgia’s misdemeanor expungement law

Georgia’s misdemeanor expungement law, which took effect on January 1, 2021, allows individuals to ask a court to seal certain criminal records. To qualify for expungement, at least four years must have passed since you completed your sentence for a nonviolent offense. The law allows you to expunge as many as two qualifying misdemeanor convictions.  

The expungement process

The expungement law does not automatically restrict and seal criminal records. To keep your misdemeanor conviction private, you must file a petition with the court. A judge must then decide whether to seal your record. Even if a judge approves your petition, your misdemeanor conviction remains visible to members of law enforcement.  

Your second chance

Everyone deserves a second chance. If you have certain misdemeanor convictions in your past, though, you may have a difficult time landing your dream job. If you are successful with your expungement petition, prospective employers may not find out about your criminal history. This may allow you to build the foundation for a meaningful future.  

Whether you qualify for an expungement ultimately depends on many factors. Nevertheless, if you are tired of bumping into the consequences of your old misdemeanor conviction, exploring your expungement options may be a good idea.