Public records in Georgia include all generated information and data printed on papers, letters, documents, or photographs, and other digital data prepared and maintained by specific state government agencies.
The Georgian Open Records Act regulates the availability of public records and ensures all citizens can inspect or/and copy public records permissible by law. This article explores the various agencies where you can find public records in Georgia. It'll clarify some misconceptions about accessing public records.
Public Records Access in the State of Georgia
Public records in Georgia are open to citizens and non-citizens of the state. It was previously accessible to only state residents; however, general supreme court rulings amended the law to include nonresidents of the state. Moreover, no one needs to submit any reason for public records searches except if the data contains confidential information.
The law permits anyone to use the results of their public records to search for personal or official matters. It includes employee background checks, family genealogy research, or random searches on family members and neighbors.
Public Records in Georgia That Are Not Accessible
The Open Records Act (OPA) justifies access to many public records, but not all. Some of the non-confidential documents you can access under the law include:
● Divorce records
● Bankruptcy records
● Public inmate records
● Sex offender information
● Death records
● Vital records
● Court records
● Property records
To confirm the availability of a public record, you may conduct a public data search. This basic search involves accessing databases of government agencies or looking at the various characteristics of the records to know whether it is non-confidential. You may also place a call or send a mail to the agency to learn first-hand if the data is accessible.
How government agencies decide confidential public records
Most government agencies deny public search requests if the inquirer seeks to investigate documents containing:
● Personal data of government employees like social security numbers, work or home address, medical information, and other specific contact information
● Private data such as insurance information
● Sensitive government information
● Ongoing investigation by state and local law enforcement agencies in Georgia
● Confidential information relating to government witnesses
● Information on property appraisals that could impact future acquisitions
● Classified accident reports by the state's uniform motor vehicle accident unit
● Information on security systems and fire alarm systems in residential and commercial spaces
How to Find Public Records in Georgia
Locating public records in Georgia is a quick process that takes less than ten working days from start to finish. Although different rules exist for different public records custodians, here's a general approach that works for all.
Correctly identify the exact public record
There is multiple public information in Georgia that people seek access to. Streamline your search to one document category and research the basic information that would make the search easier. Such primary data includes the individual's name, address, booking number for criminal records, or court location for court records.
Streamlining your search reduces the possibility of request denials because the law permits agencies to defer search requests if they're too broad or vague. It also reduces the fees you may have to pay. The Georgian Public Records Act insists agencies can ask for advance payments for search requests on records whose production costs above $500.00.
Confirm the record holder
Every government agency handles a unique type of public record. Here is a list of popular Georgian government agencies and the type of records they maintain:
● Georgia Bureau of Information: Criminal records such as sex offenses and innate records.
● Georgia Superior Court: Civil, family, and criminal court records such as jury information and court judgments.
● Georgia Department of Public Health: Vital records such as birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates.
● Department of Driver Services (DDS): Driver's records such as license status and traffic violations.
Write a well-worded request
You may write an email or create a paper trail with regular mail. Ensure your request is streamlined and not too vague. Include vital information like:
● Your full name and contact information
● Concise details of the public record in question
● The type of record
● An exact or estimated date of the event
● Other relevant information that could quicken the search or reduce the burden on public office officials
You may include additional documentation like court orders permitting you to access confidential information.
The last important step in this process is submitting the request in person, online, or via mail. Don't forget to include the required fees for the public search as requested by each agency.
Contact Information of Relevant Public Records Custodians in Georgia
Georgia Bureau of Information
The Superior Court
Address: Nathan Deal Judicial Center, 330 Capitol Avenue, S.E., 1st Floor, Suite 1100, Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Fax: (404) 656-2253
Phone: (404) 656-3470
Online records request: find a court case
County offices: judicial councils
Georgia Department of Public Health
Department of Driver Services
Estimated Fees Relevant Public Records Searches in Georgia
Your fees depend on the records custodians' office, transmission methods, and the number of copies.
The Bureau of information charges $15 for certified copies of criminal history records but offers all sex offender registry information free. Meanwhile, the state's Supreme Court provides public records copies at $0.10 per page. It may rise to $0.50 in some counties.
For instance, the public health department offers birth and death certificates at $25 per copy, while additional copies may cost $5. Lastly, the department of driver services offers driving records at $7 per copy and charges $5 for each motor vehicle report (MVR).
Not everyone can afford the required fees for public record copies in Georgia state agencies and organizations. Truepeoplesearch.io offers a free, affordable, and perfect means to find public records in Georgia in minutes. Don't let costs or the longer time frame of receiving search results from record custodians stop you from running that background check.
You can use Truepeoplesearch.io instead; it is available to you 24/7, and you are not required to submit requests or any other information. You can perform a search in seconds, and get access to public records in Georgia, and in any other state.