It is not impossible to move on from a history of criminal conviction(s). However, it can sometimes be a challenge when your criminal record is available for purposes of background checks.
While you may wish to think about your criminal history record as little as possible, it may be helpful to know exactly what it contains, who has access to it under what circumstances and what to do if it is incorrect.
1. Can you access your criminal record?
Yes, you can. However, the requirements you need to meet before you can obtain your criminal history record vary according to jurisdiction. Therefore, you should contact your local law enforcement agency, e.g., sheriff’s office, for information about how you can obtain a copy.
2. Who else can obtain access?
It depends, in part, on what your record contains. Felony records are available to the public upon request, with or without your consent. However, if your record does not contain felonies, the party seeking the record must obtain your consent before making a request. In either case, the requesting party has to provide some identifying information about you, such as your name and date of birth.
3. What data does your record contain?
Information contained in your criminal history record includes:
- Arrest data, e.g., date, charges, arresting agency
- Custodial information, e.g., history of incarceration
- Identifying data, e.g., name, height, weight, race, sex, date of birth, etc.
4. Is all the information in the record available to licensing agencies and potential employers?
The law restricts licensing agencies and potential employers, except for criminal justice agencies, from seeing some records. Sealed records, which included successfully completed First Offender Act sentences, and juvenile arrest records are also not available to employers and/or licensing agencies.
5. What happens if the record is incorrect?
It depends on whether the information is incomplete or inaccurate or if someone else’s record has somehow become attached to your identity. In the latter case, you need to submit your fingerprints to the Georgia Crime Information Center. In the former case, you must gain the authorization and documentation from the submitting agency. State government purposely makes it difficult to update to your record so that you cannot make changes for unlawful purposes.