Athens-Clarke County is holding a virtual arrest record restriction event on April 17 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. People interested must register by March 29 to attend the event and waive the usual $75 fee for restricting an arrest record.
As of March 23, 40 people were registered. Up to 100 people can register.
Only misdemeanor offenses that happened within the county are eligible to be restricted at the event, C.R. Chisholm said. Chisholm is the county’s solicitor general and decides on prosecution of all misdemeanor offenses that happen within ACC.
After registering for the event, participants must go to the solicitor’s office in the ACC Courthouse during weekdays between April 5-15 with an ID to retrieve their files and receive access to the virtual event, according to a news release about the event.
Restricting an arrest record doesn’t mean an offense is wiped from your criminal record, Chisholm said. Entities like police and other law enforcement, as well as certain employers, can still see any misdemeanors. However, restricting an arrest record can help when people are applying for things like jobs, housing or student loans.
“If you apply or submit the registration form, we will review the criminal history, no matter what,” Chisholm said. “And if there are things to restrict, we will restrict them.”
Although only misdemeanors that happened within the county are eligible for restriction, there will also be criminal defense lawyers at the event to give advice on how to handle felonies or charges that occurred outside county limits, Chisholm said. The district attorney’s office is responsible for prosecuting felonies.
Chisholm said people who want to talk with defense lawyers must submit a registration and pick up a copy of their criminal record, which requires going to the solicitor general’s office in person with a valid form of ID. During a private session, an attorney will go through the record and offer advice.
Restriction events usually happen twice a year, once in spring and once in the fall. This is the first year the restriction event will be held online, Chisholm said.
Chisholm said the event is an opportunity to help people get a clean start and he hopes to see more people take advantage of it. “It can only help,” he said.