I speak to almost 100 people charged with various misdemeanor traffic offenses every week. At least 10% of the calls come from people who have already resolved their cases, sometimes years earlier. Many of those callers didn't have an attorney when their case was still open.
Invariably their criminal conviction has prevented the caller from seeking employment or a government license, and as a result the caller is interested in hiring an attorney to have their record expunged or sealed. I then have to give them the bad news that a misdemeanor conviction cannot be removed from their record in Georgia.
Interestingly, Felons can apply to the pardon and parole board to be considered for a pardon. It's rare but does happen occasionally, however for misdemeanor offenses there is no mechanism in Georgia to seal a criminal conviction.
The moral of the story is to seek competent legal counsel when your case is still pending. Many low-level offenses qualify for diversion, conditional discharge, or first offender treatment. These offenses include but are not limited to:
- Minor in Possession of Alcohol
- Possession of Less Than One Ounce of Marijuana
- Petty Theft
- Simple Battery
- Open Container
- Public Drunk
- Disorderly Conduct
- Pedestrian Under the Influence
If properly handled by an attorney, none of these offenses have to go on a person's permanent criminal record. Having a clean criminal record is a tremendous advantage for anyone in the work place today. Furthermore, in cases involving alcohol or drugs, a favorable outcome can save a person's privilege to drive as well. Most people are unaware that a 6-month driver's license suspension is part of the penalty for Possession of Marijuana and Minor in Possession of Alcohol.
Finally, even with affective counsel, the accused must make serious life changes in order to complete a diversion, conditional discharge, or first offender program. People in those programs are usually subjected to random testing for use of prohibited alcohol and drugs.
If participants test positive for prohibited substances they are removed from the program and prosecuted accordingly. Depending on the structure of the sentence, it can include revocation of probation and a permanent criminal record.
So, if you have been charged with any crime in Georgia, call an experienced attorney that knows how to defend you and seek the best outcome while the case is pending. Our Atlanta DUI Lawyers and Atlanta Traffic Ticket Lawyers are here 24/7 to help you with your case.
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