Statute

Ga. Code Ann. § 17-10-21 & § 35-3-37(J)

As of July 1, 2020, survivors of both labor and sex trafficking may seek to vacate convictions and/or restrict access to their criminal history information, for any offense in Georgia that was a direct result of trafficking.

Georgia law offers many important protections to survivors, including making clear that confidentiality is important and all petitions for criminal record relief are filed under seal, meaning the information contained in the petitions is not publicly available. A hearing is only required if the prosecution objects to relief. The court may grant relief over the prosecutor’s objection.

The law also requires prosecutors to respond to a petition within 30 days, which should help to prevent unnecessary delay in resolving petitions. Official documentation creates a rebuttable presumption that the person seeking relief was a victim of trafficking, which is useful for survivors who have been certified or recognized by other government agencies.

Survivors must wait six months following conviction and sentencing for a misdemeanor offense or no earlier than one year following completion of the sentence for a felony offense. Survivors also must clear all outstanding warrants, in Georgia and anywhere else, before filing a petition.

If a petition is granted, the court also issues an order restricting access to the criminal history record information for the offense without charging the survivor a fee. Georgia law also explicitly makes clear that any fines or fees paid by the survivor must be refunded.

This webpage was produced by Freedom Network USA under Grant Number 2017-VT-BX-K018, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this document are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.