2016 Georgia Code
Title 42 - Penal Institutions
Chapter 8 - Probation
Article 3 - First Offenders
§ 42-8-62.1. Limiting public access to first offender status; petitioning; sealing record

GA Code § 42-8-62.1 (2016) What's This?

(a) As used in this Code section, the term:

(1) "Criminal history record information" shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 35-3-30.

(2) "Prosecuting attorney" shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 35-3-37.

(3) "Restrict," "restricted," or "restriction" shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 35-3-37.

(b) (1) At the time of sentencing, the defendant may seek to limit public access to his or her first offender sentencing information, and the court may, in its discretion, order any of the following:

(A) Restrict dissemination of the defendant's first offender records;

(B) The criminal file, docket books, criminal minutes, final record, all other records of the court, and the defendant's criminal history record information in the custody of the clerk of court, including within any index, be sealed and unavailable to the public; and

(C) Law enforcement agencies, jails, or detention centers to restrict the defendant's criminal history record information of arrest, including any fingerprints or photographs taken in conjunction with such arrest.

(2) When considering the defendant's request under this subsection, the court shall weigh the public's interest in the defendant's criminal history record information being publicly available and the harm to the defendant's privacy and issue written findings of fact thereupon.

(3) The court shall specify the date that such prohibited dissemination, sealing, and restrictions will take effect.

(c) An individual who has been exonerated of guilt and discharged pursuant to this article, including those individuals exonerated of guilt and discharged prior to July 1, 2016, may petition the court that granted such discharge for an order to seal and make unavailable to the public the criminal file, docket books, criminal minutes, final record, all other records of the court, and the defendant's criminal history record information in the custody of the clerk of court, including within any index. Notice of such petition shall be sent to the clerk of court and the prosecuting attorney. A notice sent by registered or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery shall be sufficient notice.

(d) Within 90 days of the filing of a petition pursuant to subsection (c) of this Code section, the court shall order the criminal file, docket books, criminal minutes, final record, all other records of the court, and the defendant's criminal history record information in the custody of the clerk of court, including within any index, to be sealed and made unavailable to the public if the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that:

(1) An exoneration of guilt and discharge has been granted pursuant to this article; and

(2) The harm otherwise resulting to the privacy of the individual outweighs the public interest in the criminal history record information being publicly available.

(e) Within 60 days of the filing of the court's order under subsection (d) of this Code section, the clerk of court shall cause every document in connection with such individual's case, physical or electronic, in its custody, possession, or control to be sealed.

(f) When a court orders sealing of court records under subsection (d) of this Code section, the court may also order that records maintained by law enforcement agencies, jails, and detention centers be restricted and unavailable to the public. Such entities shall comply with such restriction within 30 days of receiving a copy of such order.

(g) (1) Information sealed or restricted pursuant to this Code section shall always be available for inspection, copying, and use:

(A) As provided in subsection (c) of Code Section 42-8-65;

(B) By the Judicial Qualifications Commission;

(C) By a prosecuting attorney or public defender who submits a sworn affidavit to the clerk of court that attests that such information is relevant to a criminal proceeding;

(D) Pursuant to a court order; and

(E) By an individual who is the subject of sealed court files or restricted criminal history record information upon court order.

(2) The confidentiality of such information shall be maintained insofar as practical.

Disclaimer: These codes may not be the most recent version. Georgia may have more current or accurate information. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to on the state site. Please check official sources.