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· Lawyer and Gun Activist
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what is a "sealed record"

What is a "sealed" record? I am unfamiliar with such a thing, at least as concerned with criminal prosecutions of adults. I have heard of court records involving juveniles being sealed. 32 years ago, were you an adult or a minor? What kind of court handled your case?

In Georgia, we have such a thing as a "First Offender Plea." It's just like a guilty plea, but rather than resulting in conviction, it results in being put on "first offender probation." And the probation is actually not a "sentence" because you have to be "adjudicated guilty" before the court can "sentence" you. But the conditions of first offender probation are imposed on you by the judge (though with your consent and at your request) and they are binding on you. And if you successfully complete first offender probation with no violations, you are never "adjudicated guilty" and you have not been "convicted" of this offense.

But what the Legislature Giveth, the Legislature can Taketh Away. And they did, as far as pistol permits for drug-crime "first offenders" go. Georgia's law says that if you ever pled under first offender for any drug crime, even if you've never been "convicted" of it, you are ineligible for a firearms license. Even though you may not be prohibited from "owning" or "possessing" a firearm, you can't get a GFL under 16-11-129 to carry it.

Of course that applies to Georgia criminal proceedings under Georgia's first offender law. I am not sure how the Georgia courts would treat a Florida criminal case that ended in something like a "first offender" plea, a "nolo contendre" plea (in Florida, they do not consider nolos to be "convictions" unless some incarceration time was imposed, as contrasted with straight probation), or a "dead docket" or "conditional dismissal" agreement.

It might take an attorney licensed both in Florida and Georgia to answer this question for you. I'm not giving any legal advice; just spouting some ideas off the top of my head to be debated by the group here at this website.
 
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