How exactly does a record restriction work? Can I have my charges expunged?
In order to understand how record restriction works its important to have an idea of how criminal records are maintained and updated. Criminal Records are maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In order for you to have a criminal record you have to be fingerprinted. When someone is arrested they are fingerprinted and given a OLN (offender license number) and a FBI number. The FBI maintains a database using fingerprints and the database containing those assigned numbers are referred to as IAFIS database. The FBI authorizes users access to this database through their local state agencies (such as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation or GBI). That agency authorizes the state agencies to have access to the IAFIS database for tracking individuals and their arrests.
When someone is arrested they receive a cycle number for that arrest. There are two parts to every cycle, the arrest and the disposition. Generally, in order for the cycle to be visible to anyone running a criminal history, it needs to have a disposition to go with the cycle (which completes the cycle). One way to keep something off your record is to seek a record restriction. This will essentially make it so that only law enforcement can see the arrest and/or the disposition of your criminal charge.
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