What defines a Criminal Record in Georgia?
A criminal record is an official document that records an incident involving law enforcement or a violation of the law. These reports also include information on local, county and state jurisdictions, trial courts, courts of appeals, as well as county and state correctional facilities.
Georgia criminal records are stored online and available to the public or through more official means as a criminal background check. The number of criminal records presented on State Records will vary as the sources from which these records are obtained are responsible for their maintenance and their publicity.
These sources offer different levels of transparency, meaning that records that are public may become classified or redacted, and vice versa.
Criminal records in Georgia generally include the following subjects.
Georgia Arrest Records
An arrest record is a recording of an incident in which a suspected offender was taken into custody, fined, or questioned by a law enforcement agency associated with a government body. Crimes are sorted into three categories, known as felonies, misdemeanors, and infractions. An arrest
is when a person is apprehended and deprived of their freedom by a law enforcement agency.
Police officers in Georgia, due to the Miranda Rights
, are obligated to inform the target of an arrest that they are being arrested, share the reason for the arrest, notify the arrestee of their right to an attorney, and several other important pieces of information pertinent to the arrestee's rights.
In Georgia, a person can be arrested for an offense as minor as a misdemeanor breach of the peace, and be arrested on reasonable suspicion of committing a felony.
Georgia Arrest Warrants
An arrest warrant is a notification from a judge or magistrate calling for the arrest or apprehension of a person of interest. A warrant may also be used to authorize a law enforcement agency to search a person of interest’s home, dwelling, place of work, or property. In Georgia, the police can arrest a person for committing a crime without an arrest warrant
. This typically only happens in cases where a person commits a crime in a law enforcement officer’s presence.
A misdemeanor is a crime that is considered less severe than a felony, though like felonies, a misdemeanor charge designed to match the severity of the alleged crime.
Misdemeanors in Georgia are divided into two subcategories: misdemeanors, and misdemeanors of a high and aggravated nature
. Misdemeanors punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, and up to 12 months in county jail, while high and aggravated misdemeanors can be punishable by fines of up to $5,000, and up to 12 months imprisonment.
A felony is a crime that is considered quite serious and typically comes with punishments
including jail or prison time, and heavy fines. Felonies in Georgia are separated into categories like first degree, second degree, and third degree.
For example, arson is defined as intentionally causing damage, or by causing another individual to damage, property or structures through means of fire or explosives. A third-degree arson charge would be when personal property is damaged by more than $25,000. This is punishable by between one and five years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, or both. A second-degree arson felony is defined as an incident where the intentional fire caused damage to personal property and other types of property such as other building, vehicles, and more. This felony is punishable by between one and 10 years in prison, up to $25,000 in fines, or both. Finally, a first-degree arson charge involves situations where fire damages property where people live or if the property damaged has a special security interest, such as a prison or an office building. This is the most serious arson charge and can be punished with between one and 20 years in prison, up to $50,000 in fines, or both.
The most serious felonies are punishable by life in prison, or even death depending on the severity of the crime. These high punishment felonies usually involve premeditated murder or rape.
Georgia Sex Offender Listing
The sex offender registry
is a list of people convicted of committing a crime motivated by sexual interests. This registry is public by law, though whether or not a person is obligated to register on this list is at the discretion of the presiding judge during their trial.
A judge may require an offender to register on this list if the crime was sexually motivated, even if the crime itself was not a sex crime.
Georgia Serious traffic violation
Serious traffic violations
typically include instances of willful disregard for public safety, death, serious bodily injury, damage to property, or multiple minor traffic violations. In Georgia, a traffic ticket fine may vary depending on which county the offending driver received a citation. In addition to the fine, and accumulating points on the offender’s driving record, other fines and penalties may apply depending on the severity of the crime. The amount of time served imprisoned also varies on the nature of the crime committed.
Georgia Conviction Records
A conviction record is a document providing information on an offender who was found guilty, pleaded guilty, or pleaded no contest against criminal charges in a civil, criminal, or military court. Conviction records typically include the name of the person convicted, the sentence they received, the nature of their crime, and other pertinent information involved in the prosecution. A criminal conviction is usually rendered by a jury of peers or a judge in a court of law. A conviction does not include instances where the person convicted was pardoned or one who had their conviction reversed.
Georgia Jail and Inmate Records
Jail and inmate records involve information about an offenders current and past inmate status. A person who is in jail or considered an inmate has been deprived of their civil liberties while either awaiting trial or after being convicted. These people remain on an inmate database
that is searchable online. The Georgia Department of Corrections
accumulates records on inmates’ names, incarceration dates, expected release dates, convicted offenses, and photos, which can be obtained, though not necessarily directly from the institution itself.
Georgia Parole Information
Parole information includes details on the provisional release of a prisoner who agrees to certain restrictions in exchange for freedom from prison or jail. Parole
is often offered to any prisoner, except in extreme cases such as treason, an impeachment that results in imprisonment, and severe criminal activity. The governor of Georgia may issue an executive order to grant a pardon for an incarcerated individual, but the parole board must first review and recommend the pardon.
Georgia Probation Records
Probation records show when a person receives probation as an alternative to prison. It allows people convicted of a crime in Georgia to serve their sentences out of custody, as long as they follow the rules specified
at the beginning of their probation by the presiding judge and their probation officer.
Probation is issued in proportion to the crime, so the length and nature of probation differ from case to case. Probation typically falls into three categories: minimally supervised, supervised and intensive – an intensive probation is a form of very strict probation that emphasize punishment and control of the offender within the community.
Georgia Juvenile Criminal Records
A juvenile criminal record involves a crime committed by a person legally considered a child or underaged. Juveniles are not considered convicted of an adult crime but instead are found to be an adjudicated delinquent. These criminal records are often mistakenly believed to be expunged once a person becomes old enough to be tried as an adult, but actually remain unless successfully petitioned to be erased. If a person was found to be an adjudicated delinquent, they do not have to acknowledge the crime if asked, unless specifically asked about being an adjudicated delinquent.
Georgia History and Accuracy of Criminal Records
The accuracy of the data of criminal records depends on the recordkeeping and technological capabilities of the jurisdiction where the record was assembled and later digitized. Georgia criminal records archives usually tend to go back as far as the 1970s when criminal and arrest data starts to centralize and compile into an organized database much like we use today. Accuracy was more commonly affected by the human error in the past, but in the 1990s the quality and accuracy of record keeping improved exponentially due to the advent of the computer, so the information provides on StateRecords.org will vary from person to person.
Georgia Megan’s Law
Megan's Law is the term for state laws that create and keep up a sex offender registry, which provides information on registered sex offenders to the public. The first Megan's Law appeared after the rape and murder of 7-year-old New Jersey resident Megan Kanka by a sex offender who lived in the girl's own neighborhood. Soon after passage of this first Megan's Law, the federal government requires all states set up sex offender registries and offer the public with information about those registered. The O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is the central repository for Georgia's Violent Sexual Offender Registry, 42-1-12 State Sexual Offender Registry
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation makes every effort to make sure that the information contained in the Georgia Sex Offender Registry is correct, and provided by other agencies.