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§ 17-3-1. Limitation on prosecutions -- Generally
(a) A prosecution for murder may be commenced at any time.
(b) Prosecution for other crimes punishable by death or life imprisonment must be commenced within seven years after the commission of the crime except as provided by subsection (c.1) of this Code section; provided, however, that prosecution for the crime of forcible rape must be commenced within 15 years after the commission of the crime.
(c) Prosecution for felonies other than those specified in subsections (a), (b), and (c.1) of this Code section must be commenced within four years after the commission of the crime, provided that prosecution for felonies committed against victims who are at the time of the commission of the offense under the age of 18 years must be commenced within seven years after the commission of the crime.
(c.1) A prosecution for the following offenses may be commenced at any time when deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) evidence is used to establish the identity of the accused:
(1) Armed robbery, as defined in Code Section 16-8-41;
(2) Kidnapping, as defined in Code Section 16-5-40;
(3) Rape, as defined in Code Section 16-6-1;
(4) Aggravated child molestation, as defined in Code Section 16-6-4;
(5) Aggravated sodomy, as defined in Code Section 16-6-2; or
(6) Aggravated sexual battery, as defined in Code Section 16-6-22.2; provided, however, that a sufficient portion of the physical evidence tested for DNA is preserved and available for testing by the accused and provided, further, that, if the DNA evidence does not establish the identity of the accused, the limitation on prosecution shall be as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this Code section.
(d) Prosecution for misdemeanors must be commenced within two years after the commission of the crime.
§ 17-3-2. Limitation on prosecutions -- Periods excluded
The period within which a prosecution must be commenced under Code Section 17-3-1 or other applicable statute does not include any period in which:
(1) The accused is not usually and publicly a resident within this state;
(2) The person committing the crime is unknown or the crime is unknown;
(3) The accused is a government officer or employee and the crime charged is theft by conversion of public property while such an officer or employee; or
(4) The accused is a guardian or trustee and the crime charged is theft by conversion of property of the ward or beneficiary.
§ 17-3-2.2. Statute of limitations
In addition to any periods excluded pursuant to Code Section 17-3-2, if the victim is a person who is 65 years of age or older, the applicable period within which a prosecution must be commenced under Code Section 17-3-1 or other applicable statute shall not begin to run until the violation is reported to or discovered by a law enforcement agency, prosecuting attorney, or other governmental agency, whichever occurs earlier. Such law enforcement agency or other governmental agency shall promptly report such allegation to the appropriate prosecuting attorney. Except for prosecutions for crimes for which the law provides a statute of limitations
longer than 15 years, prosecution shall not commence more than 15 years after the commission of the crime.
§ 17-3-3. Limitation on prosecutions -- Extension of period
If an indictment is found within the time provided for in Code Section 17-3-1 or 17-3-2, or other applicable statute, and is quashed or a nolle prosequi entered, the limitation shall be extended six months from the time the first indictment is quashed or the nolle prosequi entered.
Georgia Expungement Law
1. What is an expungement?
The process of legally destroying, obliterating or striking out records or information in files, computers and other depositories relating to criminal charges.
2. Do the records just "disappear"?
No. The records cannot be accessed for general law enforcement or civil use. The records are to be expunged by destroying the fingerprint cards, photographs, and documents relating exclusively to the person. Any material which cannot be physically destroyed or which the prosecuting attorney determines must be preserved for constitutional reasons shall be restricted by the agency and shall not be subject to disclosure to any person except by direction of the prosecuting attorney or as ordered by a court. Georgia Code § 35-3-37.
What records may be expunged?
Records of arrest, including any fingerprints or photographs of the individual taken in relation to the arrest. However, there will not be any destruction of incident reports or other records that a crime was committed or reported to law enforcement. Custodial records maintained by county or municipal jail or detention centers are not subject to expungement. Georgia Code § 35-3-37. DNA profiles of persons whose convictions are reversed and cases are dismissed may be expunged. Georgia Code § 24-4-65. Records of juveniles not adjudged to be guilty of delinquency may also be expunged. § Georgia Code 15-11-83.
3. Who is eligible for an expungement?
a. A person who can show their records are inaccurate or incomplete.
b. A person with no conviction because charges disposed of or dismissed, has no charges pending, and has been not convicted of anything in U.S. in last five years, excluding incarceration time.
c. A juvenile if a petition alleging delinquency is not filed, or the proceedings are dismissed after either a petition is filed, or the case is transferred to the juvenile court as provided in Code Section 15-11-30.4, or the child is adjudicated not to be a delinquent child.
A person is not eligible for expungement if:
a)charges were tolled, dead-docketed, or dismissed because of plea agreement resulting in conviction,
b)the government was barred from introducing material evidence,
c)a material witness refused to testify or was unavailable to testify without legal right to do so,
d)the attorney elected not to prosecute for reasons of judicial economy because defendant was incarcerated,
e) the person completed a pretrial diversion program, the terms of which did not specifically provide for expungement,
f) conduct which resulted in the arrest of the individual was part of a pattern of criminal activity which was prosecuted in another court, or
g) diplomatic, consular, or similar immunity prevented a conviction. Georgia Code § 35-3-37.
4. How do I get records expunged?
In the case of DNA profiles or juvenile records, the person who is the subject of such records must request expungement.
In the case of incomplete or inaccurate records, the subject of the records may request the agency having custody or control of the records to purge, modify, or supplement them and to notify the Georgia Criminal Information Center (GCIC) of such changes. The individual or his or her attorney may, within 30 days of such decision, enter an appeal of the agency’s decision to the superior court of the county of his or her residence or to the court in the county where the agency exists, with notice to the agency. The court shall conduct a hearing and may order such relief as it finds to be required by law. Notification of any deletion, amendment, and supplementary notation will be promptly given to any individuals or agencies, including the GCIC, to which the records in question have been communicated, as well as to the person whose records have been ordered altered.
In the case of a person arrested and not convicted, they may make a written request for expungement to the original agency having jurisdiction in the case. Upon receipt of the written request, the agency shall provide a copy of the request to the proper prosecuting attorney. The prosecuting attorney will then review the request to determine if it meets the criteria for expungement. If the request meets those criteria, the prosecuting attorney will then review the records of the arrest to determine if any of the material must be preserved in order to protect the constitutional rights of an accused. If the agency declines to expunge the arrest record, the individual may file an action in the superior court where the agency is located.