Arrest Records in Georgia

Table of Contents

Georgia has a population of 10.52 million, which makes it the 8th most populated and 17th most densely populated state. Atlanta is the state’s capital and largest city, with a population of 486,290.  There are 159 counties, which is more than any other state except for Texas. The most populated county is Fulton, and the least populated county is Taliaferro County.

Despite elevated levels of crime in Georgia’s largest cities, overall, crime in the state is below the national average. The state’s 2018 violent crime rate was 3.27 per 1,000, which is 88.6% of the national rate. Georgia’s most dangerous city is East Point, which has a violent crime rate that’s over 3.5 times higher than the statewide rate.  The state doesn’t experience a particularly high concentration of arrests and is 31st in the nation in arrests per capita. 

Georgia Arrest and Crime Statistics

  • In 2018, there were 200,643 arrests in the state of Georgia, as reported by 258 law enforcement agencies. Of these arrests, 15,400 were of minors below the age of 18.
  • There were 7,920 arrests for violent crime, including 990 for robbery, 307 for murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, and 168 for rape.
  • Drug abuse violations were the leading identified cause of arrest, accounting for 37,291, followed by driving under the influence with 23,449 arrests, and larceny-theft with 18,597 arrests. 
  • “Other assaults’ was the leading identified cause of arrests for minors in the state, accounting for 2,451. 
  • Over 21,000 registered sex offenders live in Georgia.

Sources: FBI: 2018 Crime in the United States, Georgia Sex Offender Registry

What is a public arrest record?

An arrest record is a report produced by a law enforcement entity after the arrest or apprehension of an individual which contains the details of the incident, the individual’s personal information, and occasionally includes additional information about the individual’s criminal record.

An arrest record is often a key document in a criminal case and may play a significant role in an ensuing trial. The arrest record may remain in the public record for a long time regardless of whether the suspect is ultimately convicted of the crime(s) for which they were initially arrested. This means that it can be accessed by the general public.  

What is included in a public arrest record?

  • Description of the incident: An arrest record will include a chronological account of the alleged crime produced by the arresting officer that may utilize information provided by first-hand witnesses and/or victims of the alleged crime. 
  • Date and location of the arrest
  • Physical description: The height, weight, hair color, sex, and race of the arrested person, along with other distinguishing characteristics such as tattoos, scars, or birthmarks. 
  • Personal information: The name, age, date of birth, phone number, address, social security number, and other contact information of the arrested individual, as well as any other names the person may go by.
  • Photographs
  • Fingerprints
  • Criminal charges filed
  • Classification of the crime: Whether the alleged crime is a felony or a misdemeanor.
  • Bail
  • Court date
  • Police interrogation details

What are the types of charges that may appear on an arrest record?

Generally, charges are classified into three main categories:

  • Infraction – An infraction is a minor violation of the law that is regulated at the state level. Punishment for an infraction is typically a fine or a written warning, rather than a jail or prison sentence. Examples of infractions include minor traffic violations, public nuisance offenses, and littering. 
  • Misdemeanor – A misdemeanor is a crime that is more serious than an infraction, but less severe than a felony, and generally punishable by a term of imprisonment of less than a year, or a term of probation. An individual convicted of a misdemeanor is more likely to serve time in a county or local jail than a federal or state prison. Examples of misdemeanors include driving under the influence, most drug abuse violations, and petty theft.
  • Felony – A felony is the most serious type of crime and generally results in a term of imprisonment of more than one year in a state or federal prison. Having a felony on one’s record may result in limitations of employment and the acquisition of specialty licenses. Examples of felonies include rape, murder, and arson.  

Who can access arrest records?

As in most other states, arrest records (also known as arrest reports) are public records in Georgia and can be accessed by anyone upon request to a law enforcement agency, and may come up during a routine background check. 

Other examples of Georgia public records include:

  • vital records such as birth and death certificates
  • marriage licenses
  • mugshots
  • court records
  • voting records
  • property records 

Where are physical copies of arrest records kept in Georgia?

Arrest records are typically held by the law enforcement agency responsible for the arrest, usually a local police department or county sheriff’s office. They also may be kept in the archive of a state government agency, or circuit court. However, there is no official repository for arrest records. 

Why can’t I access an arrest record in Georgia?

There are a number of reasons why you may not be able to access an arrest record. Although the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires federal agencies to release arrest records and other public records, records that fall under certain exemptions can be withheld from the public.

The FOIA includes nine exemptions that allow agencies to withhold documents, such as arrest records, and not release them to the public. They are:

  1. The information is classified to protect natural security. 
  2. The information focuses on the internal rules and practices of the agency.
  3. Another federal law prohibits the release of the information.
  4. The information includes confidential trade secrets and/or commercial and financial information. 
  5. The information includes privileged, confidential communicative exchanges between two agencies. 
  6. The information could pose a danger to another person’s privacy if released.
  7. The information is reserved for law enforcement purposes in a court case or an investigation or could reveal a confidential source. 
  8. The information includes confidential information about financial institution supervision. 
  9. The information includes geographical information about wells.

Additionally, some state laws limit the availability of arrest records due to the fact that they are perceived as one-sided documents that do not include the arrested person’s account of the incident. 

What is the difference between an arrest record and a criminal record?

Compared to an arrest record, a criminal record is a more thorough document that details an individual’s entire criminal history, including arrest warrants, arrests, third party complaints, convictions, and even dropped cases. 

What is the difference between an arrest record and an arrest warrant?

An arrest warrant is a document issued by a judge or magistrate that grants law enforcement the authority to arrest an individual suspected of a crime or to search and seize the individual’s property, whereas an arrest record is a document of an arrest that is only created after an arrest or apprehension has already occurred.  

In order for a judge or magistrate to issue an arrest warrant, they must conclude that there is probable cause for an arrest. Probable cause must be backed by sworn testimony or an affidavit that provides sufficient information supporting the need for an arrest. An arrest warrant must also specify one individual that should be arrested, rather than a group of individuals or a rough description of a suspect. 

How many Americans have been arrested?

While crime has steadily dropped in the United States over the past several decades, arrests have gone up, particularly for younger age groups. Typically, law enforcement makes around 10 million arrests each year. Here are some key statistics on arrests in the United States:

  • In 2018, around 10.3 million arrests were made nationwide.
  • 73% of arrested persons in 2018 were males.
  • The more recent an American was born, the greater the likelihood that the individual has been arrested at least once. The following is the percentage of Americans in various age groups that have been arrested: 
    • 6.4% of Americans  born before 1949
    • 10.7% of Americans born between 1949 and 1958
    • 13.8% of Americans born between 1959 and 1968
    • 18.7% of Americans born between 1969 and 1978
    • 23% of Americans born between 1979-1988

Sources: Federal Bureau of Investigation, RAND Corporation

How to search for Arrest Records in Georgia

Unlike many other states, Georgia offers no way of searching a central online repository for criminal history records or arrest records, nor can one mail in a request to a central law enforcement agency for records. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation recommends that individuals visit a local sheriff’s office or police department in order to get a copy of their criminal history record. 

In order to obtain a copy of another person’s criminal history or arrest records, one must have the person’s signed consent and personal information listed on whichever form the visited agency uses to release records. Contact your local police department for more information. 

How can I search for a Georgia arrest record on the internet using a background check service?

Since tracking down physical copies of arrest records can prove challenging, searching for them online is a viable option. There is a wealth of online services that allow you to search and access Georgia arrest records and other public records via numerous government agency databases in exchange for a fee. 

However, despite the fact that users must pay to obtain an arrest record from an online service, it’s nevertheless a convenient means of getting these documents. The offices of government agencies are often marred by inconsistent service and take a long time to process requests to view documents. 

Sometimes it’s worth it to pay a fee to use an online background check service, rather than endure the extended delays typical of government offices.  

What can I do if my arrest record has a mistake?

In order to challenge incomplete or inaccurate information on your Georgia criminal history or arrest record, you should schedule an appointment with the Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC) by calling them at (404) 244-2600

If you are unable to visit the office, you may gather the following items and mail them in:

  1. A signed written request including an explanation of the inaccurate information and a complete return address
  2. Two completed applicant fingerprint cards and a set of 10 rolled fingerprints and eight flat finger impressions. These can be obtained at a local sheriff’s office or law enforcement agency.
  3. A certified check or money order for $10 (If the challenge is done by appointment, the fingerprinting can be done at the GCIC office and costs an additional $15)

Once all the required items are prepared, mail them to:

Georgia Crime Information Center

3121 Panthersville Road



If you’re worried that someone you know or love has a criminal record and maybe hiding it from you, run a quick background check online with Thanks to public records laws, almost all Georgia arrests, criminal and civil records are available online, as well as comprehensive background checks and secret data. You can even find Georgia marriage records, secret divorce records as well as birth and death records.

Violent Crime rate 

Property Crime rate 

Murder Crime rate 

Forcible Rape rate 

Robbery rate 

Assault rate 

Burglary rate 

Theft rate 

Motor Vehicle Theft rate