Expungement is the process by which all the records associated with your arrest are “destroyed” and taken off of your history. When negotiating a dismissal in a case, our office generally requests that the State allow for an expungement as well. Generally, there is no objection from the State allowing this to happen. However, at least once a month our office gets a call from someone that took a plea in a case many years prior asking if we can help them with an expungement. Most often, what happens is the person didn’t contemplate the impact that a conviction could have on their future and when they hit the roadblock years later, they want the problem fixed. So, can a conviction be expunged later? The answer to this question is almost always NO and there is an easy explanation as to why this is the case.
Expungement is an extraordinary remedy. When you apply for an expungement, there is a three part request that it submitted. There is one section that is filled out by the Defendant that is requesting the expungement. Once that is filled out, the paperwork is handed over to the arresting agency for them to fill out all appropriate information that the GBI will need to complete the expungement, if it is approved. Finally, the paperwork is sent by the arresting agency over to the prosecutor’s office for approval. Long story short, there is not a prosecutor office that we are aware of that would approve the expungement of a case where a Defendant accepted responsibility for the offense and was convicted of the crime. It simply does not make sense. Further, it makes no sense to expunge the arrest of an offense that a Defendant was convicted of. There is no valid reason to eliminate the criminal history of a person who admitted to what they did.
Therefore, if you are charged with a crime, don’t take the “path of least resistance” and plead guilty in to your case in the hopes that you will be able to “get it expunged later.” Ninety-nine percent of the time, there is no post conviction relief to get a charge off your record. Contact our office immediately so that we can ensure you exercise all options that may be available to you.