On January 1, 2021, Georgia, along with 41 other states, allowed a person to have certain convictions removed from their criminal records after a period of “conviction-free” years. With the passage of SB 288, a person of any age can petition their original criminal court to restrict and seal the record of a crime four years after their sentence has ended. The individual can file this petition as long as they have not been convicted of a new crime and have no pending charges in those four years.

In deciding whether or not to allow the petition, the court will weigh the harm to the individual against the public’s interest in knowing about the conviction. Accordingly, certain criminal offenses are excluded, e.g. B. Sex crimes against children, family violence battery, pimping, sexual battery, and DUI.

The law also provides substantial liability protection for employers who hire a “second chance”. With the passage of SB 288, Georgian employers who hire people with a history whose records have been restricted and sealed will be protected from a negligent recruitment or retention claim in a civil proceeding as long as the criminal record information does not have a direct relationship with the underlying proceeding. After sealing, an employee’s criminal record information is no longer available to private individuals or companies. Proponents of this new law appreciate that Georgia employers can now hire the most qualified candidate for the job without fear of liability.