When someone has criminal charges filed against them, documents are created that can be accessed by the public. A criminal record is any criminal history compiled by state, local, or federal law enforcement agencies. By sealing a criminal record, the official information about the crime will be removed from public view, and with some limited exceptions, will not be available to employers.
Regardless of whether a charge is dismissed or convicted, it is best to have the court seal the file so that it is no longer accessible to the public, including possible employers. The process to seal either a dismissed case or a convicted case is the same, however there are restrictions on the number and type of convicted cases that can be sealed and a convicted case must be concluded for at least one year before a petition to seal can be filed.
NOTE: If you were convicted of a minor misdemeanor for possession of marijuana, you should seal it as soon as possible because it makes you ineligible for federally subsidized student loans.
The following downloads are the petitions that the Athens Municipal Court accepts to seal criminal records. Multiple dismissed cases can be listed on the same petition for dismissal and multiple convicted cases can be listed on the same petition for conviction. A dismissed case and a convicted case can not be listed on the same form. The Athens Municipal Court charges $50 fee each petition.
If you have questions about which petition to use, how to complete the petition, or other questions about sealing a criminal record, please schedule an appointment to speak with an attorney.