A joint effort between the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office and other agencies will be available to help people who are trying to get their arrest or criminal records restricted from public access.
The idea behind the initiative is to give non-violent offenders and those who have been arrested for but never formally charged with a criminal offense the opportunity to obtain a job and other opportunities.
Many employers, landlords and others will steer clear of doing business with people who have records which can be located. This is true even if a Georgia resident just made a one-time mistake that did not involve violence.
The end result is an accused person can never really move on with life even after he or she has served a sentence successfully.
Figuring out what records can and cannot be restricted is a complicated process
The Second Chance Desk initiative will allow people who have a criminal history, including arrest records, to get a consultation on whether any of their records can be restricted, or, as some may refer to the process, expunged.
If they are eligible, the staff of the Desk will also guide visitors on how to go about getting their records restricted.
A restricted record is only available for access by law enforcement officers and prosecutors. To would-be employers and others, once a record is restricted, it is as if the record does not exist.
Georgia’s process for restricting criminal records can be complicated. For one, a person must fall within at least one of several criteria to be eligible. Furthermore, restricting the court’s records and restricting arrest records involve two separate processes.
Hopefully, the Second Chance Desk will provide eligible people with an opportunity to restrict their criminal records. However, the Desk may not be able to reach everyone who could benefit from it. Thus far, it is the only such initiative in Georgia.
Those who live in Gwinnett County or some other part of the Atlanta metro area may want to consider speaking an experienced defense attorney about how to restrict their records.