Criminal Records Expungements and Pardons FAQ

I’ve been arrested, but the charges were dropped or the case was never prosecuted. Is there anything I can do to have those charges expunged so they can’t be accessed by employers, landlords, educational institutions, etc.?

Yes, at least in Georgia. Under Georgia law, criminal charges that do not result in a conviction can often be expunged from your record.


I was under 21 years of age when I was arrested or convicted of a crime. Can I have those records sealed?

Generally speaking, yes, at least in Georgia. Under Georgia law, people who are convicted of a crime before turning 21 can have their records sealed by filing a Youthful Offender Petition in the Superior Court of the county in which the conviction was obtained. Not all convictions, however, can be sealed.


I was an adult at the time I was convicted of a crime. Can I get a pardon?

Under Georgia law, your age at time of conviction has no impact on your ability to obtain a pardon.


What are my chances of getting a pardon?

The Georgia Justice Project reports that 38% of applications for pardon are approved in Georgia.


Can felony convictions be pardoned?

In theory, under Georgia law, yes. There are certain conditions that you must meet to be eligible for a pardon. We can review these conditions with you.


What does it cost to seek a pardon of my conviction?

You don’t have to have a lawyer to seek a pardon, but the process can be frustrating and time-consuming for non-lawyers. We handle pardon applications at a discounted hourly rate or, under appropriate circumstances, as a public service. The total cost depends upon the complexity of the matter.


How long does it take to obtain a pardon?

According to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, the average processing time is six to nine months.


What does it cost to have my criminal record expunged?

You don’t have to have a lawyer to seek expungement, but the process can be frustrating and time-consuming for non-lawyers. We handle expungements for a small fee or, under appropriate circumstances, as a public service.


How long does it take to have criminal records expunged?

Unfortunately, that depends on the county in which you have to apply. The government is allowed ninety (90) days in which to respond to your petition, but that doesn’t always happen.


What if I’ve been told that I have a criminal record, but I don’t?

Chances are that you’re the victim of an inaccurate criminal background check. The error rate on these checks is surprisingly high. Go to our FAQs for background checks to find out how to fix yours.


The Georgia Justice Project also has helpful information on its website about criminal record expungement and pardons. Go to www.gjp.org/programs/criminal-records/.

Similarly, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has helpful information on its website. Go to www.pap.georgia.gov.