The consequences of being accused of criminal activity can go beyond those imposed by a court. While incarceration and fines are what most people think of when they consider the effects of criminal charges, there are other harmful consequences that can affect the rest of your life.
Criminal background checks are used by a white variety of organizations and companies when considering a candidate for membership or employment. The internet has made background checks even easier. Unfortunately, this means that any interaction with law enforcement, warranted or not, can seriously affect the person involved. Because arrest records often remain open even when an individual is not convicted of a crime, an arrest on your record can have long-term consequences.
Georgia’s Expungement Law
Expunging a record legally erases it; in some cases, the record is physically destroyed. Except in limited cases, such as application for public office or some professional license applications, it becomes as though the arrest or conviction never happened in the eyes of the law. This means that a person can truthfully say that they have never been charged with or convicted of a crime in job applications, etc.
In most states, juvenile records are expunged or sealed automatically upon reaching a certain age, but adults must file a written application to have an arrest or conviction expunged. Every state has its own requirements for expungement; many states require that all confinement or probation has been served and all fines have been paid before a request for expungement can be made.
A person with additional convictions, previous expungements, or who has an arrest pending is more likely to have their request to expunge a record denied. In most states, first-time misdemeanors or nonviolent felonies are eligible for expungement, while serious, violent felonies cannot be expunged or sealed.
Because of the penalties that may result from having a violent criminal record, those dealing with accusations of perpetrating a violent crime may wish to consider contacting an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney.
Expunging a DUI in Georgia
The state of Georgia does not allow DUI convictions to be expunged. Even if the DUI was a first-time criminal offense, the conviction will remain on your criminal record forever. Pleading guilty to a DUI charge may seem like the fastest way to leave the matter behind you and return to your everyday life.
However, your everyday life will be changed from the moment that conviction goes on your record. Many employers will hesitate to hire someone with a DUI on their record, and a criminal record of any kind can preclude a person from achieving top secret security clearance.
If you have access to a company car through your current job, you probably will no longer be covered by the insurance required to drive it. Your personal insurance rates could double or even triple now that you are considered a “high-risk” driver. Rental car agencies generally do not rent to someone with a DUI conviction. International travel can also be impacted by a criminal record.
Because a DUI cannot be expunged in Georgia, it is crucial that you exercise your right to defend yourself against the charge. Even if it seems like the prosecution has an unbeatable case, remember that no one is automatically guilty.
An experienced DUI attorney can review your case and identify potential defenses, as well as ways you might be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed entirely. A reckless driving conviction is certainly preferable to a DUI. You also have rights that law enforcement must observe; if the arresting officer failed to follow the correct procedure or improperly administered a field sobriety test, the DUI charge may be dropped. A DUI will become a permanent part of your record in Georgia and cannot be expunged, so seek the counsel of a lawyer before you make any decisions regarding your case.
Don’t risk you livelihood or your driving privileges with a criminal conviction. Give us a call today at 770-887-1209 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation at either our Cumming or Buford office.