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RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 11975
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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My son had a shoplifting offense in Savannah, GA for which

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My son had a shoplifting offense in Savannah, GA for which he was put on 1 year probation in a program that said it would be erased if he completed the program (800 in court fees, about the same in probation fees, 80 for an online course, call in each month, even paid 300 to the store for their court fees....for a 70 shirt that he didn't get). He goes to court in May for the final hearing, but today he got turned down for a job because the background check showed this offense in GA. Why is it on the record? Is that normal? Will it be removed after he goes to court because completed the program? Should he have a lawyer...he lives in CT.
Thank you for your question.

This is normal, yes - it's still showing up on a background check because it's public record - there is a record of any arrest and/or court case. Once he completes the requirements, the case will be dismissed (and the record would be updated to show the charge and that the case was dismissed), and he can file for an expungement (what Georgia is going to start calling "restriction" beginning in July 2013). Expungement is a process through which information about an arrest and the result will be removed from a person's criminal history. Expunged arrests are not visible to employers, housing providers, or licensing agencies that are reviewing an official Georgia criminal history. However, expunged information will still be visible to law enforcement agencies, including prosecutors and courts should a person ever be charged with a new crime.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I need to mention that when he came back to CT, he had a DUI in May 2012...after probation in GA started. It wasn't adjudicated until Feb 2013. In the last 2 months of probation, they transferred probation in Savannah to another agency, but the supervisor said he was marked as "program completed." Here's the good news. He joined AA the day after the DUI and has been sober for 10 months. Truly a changed man. Should he have a lawyer to be sure that it gets expunged? If so, I don't know any GA lawyers and would ask how to find one who's good and also reasonable. Thanks

A person actually does not need an attorney to apply for expungement (it's not required, in other words). You can obtain the application at most clerk’s offices and arresting agencies. You may also obtain a copy online on the website for the Georgia Crime Information Center, which is a division of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation:

He should know what the arresting agency requires in addition to the application and that he includes all required documents and fees with the application. See Georgia Justice Project’s website,, for additional informatio.

A criminal attorney may be more familiar with the process and knowing how to file everything, but there is no guarantee that the charge will be expunged (that's always up to the court to decide). I don't think it's a bad idea for him to talk with a criminal defense lawyer about expungement (many offer free or low cost consultations) once the charge is dismissed. There's no obligation for him to use a lawyer if after speaking with one he feels there isn't any benefit.

Many county and local bar associations offer lawyer referral services to help people find a qualified lawyer. Here is a list of local and volunteer bar associations. Your son should contact the one in the county where he was charged (or the closest to him if there isn't one in the county where he was charged) about a lawyer referral.
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