In Georgia, your record is forever, with few exceptions. Actually, in Georgia you have 3 main sources of records and each has differences in its' visibility.
Georgia Criminal Record
Your Georgia criminal record, referred to as your GCIC record, is the official record kept by the State of Georgia. If you've ever been arrested, the arrest information will be on your record. When you go to court and close your case, your record is supposed to be updated with the disposition information, through from what I understand, Georgia's disposition reporting rates are pretty lousy.
A GCIC background is the most official record check, and what employers and legitimate pay services- like Experian, etc.- should use to come up with your background information. A GCIC check will reveal any arrest, the severity and exact charge, the relevant dates, as well as the final outcome and sometimes even the sentence of the court.
In Georgia, the only way to expunge or restrict your GCIC record is to meet the law's requirements to the letter. Some of the few ways a charge is eligible for restriction is if:
A couple of the most common ways a case maybe dropped, but not eligible for restriction include if your case is dismissed because a judge suppressed or excludes evidence, or if a key witness fails to appear, resulting in a dismissal of your case.
Georgia Driving Record (MVR Report)
A second source of records in Georgia is your DDS (Dept of Driver Services) record. Your DDS record contains all traffic offenses including certain serious driving offenses like reckless driving, hit and run, and driving under the influence.
Your DDS driving record is used by insurance companies, and sometimes employers, to make important decisions in your insurability or employability. DDS assigns points to all traffic offenses, and will reveal your points to anyone inquiring as well. All moving offenses are at least 3 points, while more serious offenses go up to 6 points. 15 points in any 2-year period will subject you to a point suspension in Georgia.
Unlike you GCIC record, your driving record ages after around 7 years. So, there is hope, though chances are a serious driving offense will severely impair your ability to obtain preferred rates. Unlike your criminal record, nothing is transferred to your driving record until your case is closed, so its crucial to hire an attorney to fight your case from the start.
Court and Jail Records / Third Party Sources
The third and final source of your personal arrest and traffic records is court and jail websites, which in turn share information with the world- including the less than savory mugshot publication sites. While Georgia law did not govern many of these sites and databases for years, there is now a process to request jail and court records be sealed from the public eye. Until recently, you could have a case restricted (or expunged), yet still have the information easily accessed through a court or jail database.
Even if you have had a case you know to was expunged and removed from your record, it's a good idea to go back and check whether or not the record is still showing up on other sites. While the county and state agencies in Georgia have all been very eager to follow the law and restrict and erase records where appropriate, private sites are somewhat of a free-for-all. While Georgia can (and has) passed laws in an effort to help citizens clean their information from these sites, many sites still are unresponsive, or want a fee to wash away your past transgressions.
If you have questions about your record, give us a call at (770) 676-1340 to discuss how we can help today. Our attorneys have years of criminal defense and record restoration experience and will lay out a winning plan.