In Georgia, many offenses that are not crimes in every state, like traffic offenses, are considered criminal offenses. Because so many offenses that aren’t treated like crimes in every state are crimes, it’s important to know if your interaction with law enforcement constitutes an arrest in the State of Georgia.
Not every arrest will go on your criminal history. For an arrest to go on your Georgia criminal history or GCIC you must be fingerprinted and it must be reported to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. If you aren’t fingerprinted, that arrest should not show up on your criminal history. Lets talk about some specific instances and whether they constitute an arrest
Traffic citations are considered arrests in Georgia, but not in the traditional sense, and most likely do not have to be reported. If you are given a traffic citation and allowed to drive away, or given a citation by an officer on the street and allowed to leave, that is technically an arrest. But that arrest will not show up on your criminal history because you were never fingerprinted. A conviction for any traffic offense will show up on your driving history.
Traditional Arrest (Handcuffed, Taken to Jail, and Fingerprinted)
If you were handcuffed, taken to jail, and fingerprinted by any Georgia law enforcement officer, you should expect that arrest to show up on your criminal history. Most non-traffic offenses will result in arrest, but occasionally some minor misdemeanor offenses in Georgia like possession of marijuana less than an ounce, theft by shoplifting, minor in possession of alcohol, and disorderly conduct will not result in arrest. You may only be issued a citation. However, in these instances, you may be asked to be fingerprinted when your case is resolved, even if that resolution ends in dismissal.
Warrant Application Hearings
A warrant application hearing is different than the traditional arrest process. If a citizen believes you have committed a crime against them, they can go to the Magistrate Court in the county which the alleged crime occurred and file a warrant application. You would then be required to appear in front of a judge. The Judge would hear evidence bfrom both parties regarding the alleged criminal conduct and decide if a warrant should be issued. If the Judge grants a warrant, they can either ask you to turn yourself in and post a bond (often times just a signature bond) or ask the Sheriff to take you into custody. That is the Judge’s discretion. A warrant application may or may not go on your Georgia criminal history. Again, it depends on whether or not you are fingerprinted during the process.
We hope this knowledge assists you in understanding the warrant process. Our office is here for all your Georgia criminal law needs. Please call us today at 404-581-0999.