What is an Arrest Record?
In Georgia, arrest records are maintained by local law enforcement agencies and keep track of the arrests of specific individuals within their jurisdiction. What this means is that if you have been arrested in multiple counties in Georgia, each of those counties will have their own record of your arrests in their county. For people who are frequently involved in criminal behavior, there is no master record of all of their Georgia arrests. A person’s criminal history record is simply composed of disparate records that may be located in various jurisdictions. It can be difficult to compile all of this information in one place because local agencies keep their own records.
What is an Arrest Warrant?
A Georgia arrest warrant a document that authorizes police officers to arrest the person named in the warrant. A police man or woman does not need a warrant to arrest you if they personally witness you do something wrong. However, for incidents that officers do not witness, they must get a warrant from a judge. A judge will issue a warrant if there seems to be probable cause that an individual committed an offense. There must be evidence or witness information sworn under oath. When someone swears under oath that they saw a person commit a crime at a specific time and place, that is called an affidavit. The judge needs an affidavit to be able to create a warrant. Sometimes a police officer will have to submit an affidavit if there is only police-gathered evidence of the crime.
A warrant is called an active warrant in Georgia if it has not yet been delivered to the person who is getting arrested. A Georgia warrant will remain active until the person dies or is arrested. The warrant will become outstanding after a certain amount of time has passed and the person has not been taken into custody. Georgia outstanding warrants are commonly the result of individuals evading arrest and police officers not having adequate time and resources to capture all of the alleged criminals that are wanted. Oftentimes, a combination of these factors will result in GA warrants going undelivered. Georgia law enforcement officers are often forced to prioritize which warrants they will pursue due to the amount of warrants in their database. Felonies take priority over minor traffic offenses. There are also cases where people are unaware that there are warrants out for their arrest, so they are not necessarily evading arrest on purpose. Nevertheless, those GA warrants will remain active until they are served.
How to Search For an Inmate in the Georgia Prison System
To use the Georgia Department of Corrections Offender Search, you must first agree to a disclaimer at this webpage: dcor.state.ga.us/GDC/OffenderQuery/jsp/OffQryForm.jsp. The Georgia Department of Corrections makes available databases for both offenders who are currently serving time and parolees. You may search using a Georgia Department of Corrections number or a case number. If you don’t have this information, you can use the advanced search by selecting the button that says “I do not have a GDC ID or Case Number, use the Advanced Search.” From there, you may use a variety of search parameters. You may choose to see search results with or without photos of the offenders. Photos are not available for all Georgia offenders. You may even search by sentence status, most recent institution, primary offense, and conviction county.
The Georgia Department of Corrections cannot guarantee that all of the information on their website is up to date and accurate. Therefore, if you plan on visiting a GA inmate, you should contact the location where they are currently being held and make sure they are there. If you are a victim of a crime, you can also sign up to get updates on the incarceration status of particular offenders.
The Georgia Department of Corrections database only provides information about individuals being held in state institutions. It will not provide information about people in county jails. To find out about county jail inmates, you must contact the sheriff’s department in that particular county. When looking for a person in a GA county jail, it is helpful to know where the crime was committed because that is where they will be in jail. Individuals are not necessarily in jail in the counties where they reside. Each Georgia county keeps track of its inmates independently from the other counties, so your only option is to give the sheriff a call. You should ask for the records department, which is where they keep track of warrants, police reports, and other police business.
Who Can Search For Arrest Records and Warrants in Georgia?
Anyone can use the Georgia Department of Corrections database to find some information about arrest records. If a person has an active criminal record within the past five years, their information will still be on the database, along with a record of their past criminal activity.
There is no statewide database of active warrants, although some counties, such as Muskogee County, Georgia, do much such information available online. GA counties are not required to make warrant information public, but some counties choose to do so when they feel it may expedite the law enforcement process.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation makes felony information available to the public without the consent of felons. You can access the felon database here: gta.georgia.gov/00/channel_modifieddate/0,2096,1070969_116860501,00.html. For more information about criminal records checks in Georgia, you can visit this website: gbi.georgia.gov/00/channel_modifieddate/0,2096,67862954_67866875,00.html.
How to Request Records under the Georgia Open Records Act
For a comprehensive source of information about the Georgia Open Records Act, you can visit the Georgia Secretary of State’s website: sos.ga.gov/archives/who_are_we/rims/best_practices_resources/open_records_act.htm. The Georgia Open Records Act provides access to “all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, computer based or generated information, or similar material prepared and maintained or received in the course of the operation of a public office or agency.” To access these materials, you must simply make a request verbally or in writing at the agency in charge of the records you seek. The Georgia Secretary of State provides an exhaustive list of records that are exempt from public viewing.
How Long Does An Arrest Record or Warrant Stay On File In Georgia?
Arrest records remain on file indefinitely in the state of Georgia. They are even made available online for the three years following the completion of a Georgia state prison sentence. Warrant remain on file until the person named is the warrant has been arrested or is deceased.