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Georgia’s Criminal History Record Information Statute Applies Retroactively

On January 19, 2016, the Georgia Supreme Court issued a ruling that upheld the retroactive application of Georgia’s criminal history record information statute, O.C.G.A. § 35-3-37, as amended in 2012.  In Mosley v. Lowe (https://www.gasupreme.us/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/s15a1722.pdf), the State high court concluded that an arrest from 1996 was eligible for restriction under the current version of O.C.G.A. § 35-3-37, even though the provisions of the modified statute did not take effect until July 1, 2013, some 17 years later.  Consequently, the arrestee’s record will be restricted, so that the arrest no longer appears on a non- governmental background check.  This ruling is significant, because it allows individuals who were arrested prior to July 1, 2013, to avail themselves of the expanded provisions of O.C.G.A. § 35-3-37, which were not in place at the time of their arrests.

For practical purposes, I suggest anyone who falls into this category to obtain a copy of their criminal history and contact an attorney, to see if they qualify for this restriction.  Given the propensity of prospective employers to run background checks, it makes tremendous sense for people with old arrests to “clean up” their records where applicable.  A clean record can mean the difference between securing a better, higher paying job, or not.  Feel free to contact my office for assistance with this process.