As of January 1, 2021, individuals in Georgia now have the ability to restrict and seal some convictions in their criminal record. Now, individuals with certain convictions can petition a sentencing court to restrict and seal those convictions from their public records.
The new law allows individuals to restrict and seal up to two misdemeanor convictions four years after they complete their sentence as long as they have not been convicted of a new offense during that time and they have no pending charges. Not all convictions are eligible for restriction and sealing, however; specifically excluded from the law include, among other crimes, family violence simple assault, family violence simple batter, child molestation, enticing a child for indecent purposes, improper sexual contact by an employee, public indecency, imping, sexual batter, obstructing or hindering someone in making an emergency telephone call, peeping toms, crimes against minors, some theft crimes, and some DUI offenses.
Before the law was effective, convictions of all kinds in Georgia could appear forever on employment background reports, as the Fair Credit Reporting Act does not limit the time for which a conviction can be reported by a private background reporting company. With the new law, individuals can restrict and seal some convictions, which means that a private background reporting company likely will not find and report those convictions to prospective employers when the employer runs a background check.