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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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This question is regarding the First Offender Act in the state

Customer Question

This question is regarding the First Offender Act in the state of Georgia. I am currently serving a probation sentence of 5 years for a felony possession with intent marijuana charge. I plead to a lesser defense of felony possession of more than one ounce with first offender and 250 hours community service and 5 years probation. Can employers hold this against me? I remind you, I have completed my community service but still serving my probation.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 years ago.
Hi Jacustomer,

Your felony does not get sealed unless/until you have already successfully completed all of your sentencing requirements. While it is still ongoing, it is theoretically possible that you could do something to cost your your first offender status.

So yes, at this point, this offense would show on your RAP sheet, and an employer could certainly take it into consideration and deny you a job.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but short of possibly trying to get your probation terminated favorably early, which may or may not be a viable alternative, your case will have to run its course before you'll have any protection on a background check.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

After I complete my sentence can an employer deny me on the basis of this charge? Can I get the offense expunged after completion? I meant to ask these questions. You have been helpful and my evaluation will reflect that.

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

A Georgia first offender has the right to say that he has never been convicted of a crime. If it shows on your record at all, it should not be as a conviction. A First Offender disposition cannot be expunged, but it should still be clear from what turns up that you have no criminal convictions. After you successfully finish everything and your sentence is discharged, GCIC has to be notified, and then this gets sealed. Once sealed it should not turn up. You should make sure and get your lawyer to verify that that last step is taken so that it is sealed promptly.

There may be times when you will have to disclose this offense. If, you are applying for a professional license, for example, government can always see what other employers cannot. That would be true as well, however, with an expunged conviction.

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