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Can Violent Crimes Be Expunged in Georgia?

Posted by Brett Willis | Jun 24, 2024 | 0 Comments

In Georgia, clearing a criminal record, especially for violent crimes, involves navigating a complex legal framework. The term "expunged" has become outdated, replaced by "record restriction" to more accurately describe the process of limiting public access to certain criminal records. This blog post explores the specific conditions under which violent crimes can undergo record restriction in Georgia, based on the detailed stipulations of Title 35-3-37, amended most recently in 2021.

Understanding Record Restriction in Georgia

The Evolution from Expungement to Record Restriction

Georgia's shift from the term "expungement" to "record restriction" signifies a move towards more precise legal language and a nuanced approach to criminal justice. Record restriction accurately defines the process, which does not erase a criminal record but rather makes it inaccessible to the public under specific conditions.

Navigating the Legal Framework: Title 35-3-37

The legal foundation for understanding record restriction in Georgia, particularly for violent crimes, is laid out in Title 35-3-37. This statute is intricate, detailing the conditions under which criminal records can be made private. The 2021 amendment to this statute has refined these conditions, emphasizing the importance for individuals seeking this relief to understand its requirements thoroughly.

Conditions for Record Restriction for Violent Crimes

Circumstances Under Which Record Restriction is Possible

In Georgia, the ability to restrict records of violent crimes is conditional upon a set of specific situations, each providing a pathway for individuals to potentially shield their records from public view. These conditions include:

  • Non-Indictment: Cases where an arrest did not lead to indictment by a prosecuting attorney.
  • Lack of Prosecutorial Action: Instances where the police did not forward the case to the District Attorney's office.
  • Double "No Bill" by Grand Jury: A rare occurrence where a grand jury declines to indict the case twice.
  • Dismissal or Charge Reduction: Cases that were dismissed (nolle prosequi) or reduced to a violation of a local ordinance after indictment.
  • Participation in Special Courts: Involvement in mental health court, veterans court, or drug court programs related to the offense.
  • Acquittal: Being found not guilty of all charges at trial. 

These pathways highlight the legal avenues available for the record restriction of violent crimes in Georgia, each with its own legal challenges and prerequisites.

Key Takeaways and the Importance of Legal Guidance

The Complexity of Record Restriction

The process for obtaining record restriction in Georgia, especially concerning violent crimes, is intricate and filled with legal challenges. Understanding the difference between indicted and non-indicted cases, along with the qualifying conditions for record restriction, is crucial for navigating this legal area effectively.

Seeking Professional Legal Advice

Due to the complex nature of Title 35-3-37 and the broader legal landscape regarding record restriction, obtaining professional legal advice is essential. A skilled attorney can navigate the statute's complexities, offering the best chance for individuals eligible for record restriction to achieve their legal goals.


For those looking to restrict access to records of violent crimes in Georgia, the legal process offers a path forward, albeit one that requires careful navigation of a complex legal framework. By understanding the specific conditions under which record restriction may be granted and seeking qualified legal assistance, individuals can approach this process with informed confidence, aiming to move past their legal hurdles toward a clearer future. If you're in this position and need guidance or support, do not hesitate to contact Brett Willis Law today. Our team is ready to assist you in navigating these complex legal waters and helping you achieve the fresh start you deserve.

About the Author

Brett Willis

When the government has charged you with a crime, Brett Willis is the man to see. Brett has been winning the most difficult and serious cases since 2005.


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