Bar Rules

Rule 4-224. Expungement of Records

Ethics & Discipline / Current Rules / Part IV (After January 1 / 2001) - Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct (also includes Disciplinary Proceedings and Advisory Opinion rules) / CHAPTER 2 DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS

(a) The record of any grievance against a respondent under these rules which does not result in discipline against the respondent shall be expunged by the State Disciplinary Board in accordance with the following:

(1) those grievances closed by the Office of the General Counsel after screening pursuant to Rule 4-202(c) shall be expunged after one year;

(2) those grievances dismissed by the Investigative Panel of the State Disciplinary Board after a probable cause investigation pursuant to Rule 4-204 (a) shall be expunged after two years; and

(3) those complaints dismissed by the Supreme Court after formal proceedings shall be expunged after two years.

(b) Definition. The terms "expunge" and "expunction" shall mean that all records or other evidence of the existence of the complaint shall be destroyed.

(c) Effect of Expungement. After a file has been expunged, any agency response to an inquiry requiring a reference to the matter shall state that any record the agency may have had of such matter has been expunged pursuant to court rule and, in addition, shall state that no inference adverse to the respondent is to be drawn on the basis of the incident in question. The respondent may answer any inquiry requiring a reference to an expunged matter by stating that the grievance or formal complaint was dismissed and thereafter expunged pursuant to court rule.

(d) Retention of Records. Upon application to the State Disciplinary Board by bar counsel, for good cause shown and with notice to the respondent and opportunity to be heard, records which should otherwise be expunged under this Rule may be retained for such additional period of time not exceeding three years as the State Disciplinary Board deems appropriate. Counsel may seek a further extension of the period for which retention of the records is authorized whenever a previous application has been granted for the maximum period permitted hereunder.

(e) A lawyer may respond in the negative when asked if there are any complaints against the lawyer if the matter has been expunged pursuant to this rule. Before making a negative response to any such inquiry, the lawyer shall confirm the expunction of the record and shall not presume that any matter has been expunged.

(f) A lawyer may respond in the negative when asked if he has ever been professionally disciplined or determined to have violated any professional disciplinary rules if all grievances filed against the lawyer have either been dismissed or dismissed with a letter of instruction.

GO TO Rule 4-223. Advisory Opinions
GO TO Rule 4-225. Jurisdiction
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