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What are The Differences Between Federal and Georgia State Crimes?

Federal Crimes in the USA are offenses that violate federal laws. Law enforcement agencies including the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), Secret Service, IRS (Internal Revenue Service), SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), and many more are tasked with investigating such crimes. Federal crimes involve inter-state connections and hence, require more in-depth investigation and resources that are beyond state and local jurisdictions.

Examples of offenses regarded as federal crimes include:

  • Computer-related crimes such as hacking and email Scams
  • Drug trafficking
  • Weapon charges
  • Crimes related to internet sex
  • Financial or white-collar crimes
  • Counterfeiting
  • Bank robbery

In Georgia, misdemeanors and felonies that violate the Georgia Criminal Code are known asState crimes. An offense is regarded as a state crime when it occurs within the state’s borders and legislative authority. Such crimes are investigated and prosecuted by state law enforcement agencies such as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), Georgia Department of Public Safety (DPS), Georgia State Patrol.

Common examples of Georgia state crimes are:

  • Homicide and murder
  • Voluntary and involuntary manslaughter
  • Kidnapping
  • Simple and aggravated assault
  • Arson
  • Rape
  • Theft
  • Burglary

How Does the Georgia Court System Differ From the Federal Court System?

The significant difference between federal courts and Georgia state courts lies in the types of cases handled and jurisdiction in which they operate. Nevertheless, the justice procedures practiced by both state and federal courts are similar. Federal court judges are appointed for life by the U.S. president and validated by the United States Congress. These judges decide cases questioning the United States laws, prosecute federal violations, and handle suits involving citizens of different states. Other cases brought before a federal court are copyright cases, bankruptcy cases, or any crime listed in the U.S. criminal code. Federal court judges serve in the various U.S district courts in Georgia and in other states as well. The U.S Attorney General reserves the privilege of appointing assistant attorneys to prosecute federal court cases.

As stipulated under the Article VI of the Georgia Constitution, the Georgia court system is divided into three tiers. The Georgia Supreme Court is the court of last instance and its decision is final. The Court of Appeal serves as an intermediate appellate court responsible for reviewing cases assigned to it by the Supreme Court. The trial-level courts have original, limited, and/or overlapping jurisdictions over varying degrees of cases.

Georgia state judges are selected via non-partisan elections or assisted appointments made by the State Governor with recommendations from a board or commission. All appellate court judges in the state serve 6-year terms after which they may run re-elections to retain their offices. On the other hand, the 202 superior court judges serve 4-year terms.

How Many Federal Courts Are There In Georgia?

There are three federal district courts located in the State of Georgia. These include:

  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia
  • United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia

1. The Northern District court in Georgia, otherwise referred to as GAND, is located in four counties: Atlanta, Gainesville, Newnan, and Rome.

Richard B. Russell Federal Building

2211 United States Courthouse

75 Ted Turner Drive, SW

Atlanta, GA 30303–3309

Phone: (404) 215–1600

Lewis R. Morgan Federal Building

18 Greenville Street

Newnan, GA 30263–2789

Phone: (678) 423–3060

Sidney O. Smith Federal Building

121 Spring Street S. E. Room 201

Gainesville, GA 30501–3789

Phone: (678) 450–2760

United States Courthouse in Rome

600 East First Street

Rome, GA 30161–3149

Phone: (706) 378–4060

2. The Southern District court in Georgia, also known as GASD, has seven locations in Augusta, Brunswick, Dublin, Savannah, Waycross, and Statesboro.

Tomochichi Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Savannah

125 Bull Street

Savannah, GA 31401

Phone: (912) 650–4020

Frank M. Scarlett Federal Building in Brunswick

801 Gloucester Street

Brunswick, GA 31520

Phone: (912) 280–1330

Augusta Division

600 James Brown Blvd.

Augusta, GA 30901

Phone: (706) 849–4400

Dublin Division

100 North Franklin Street

Dublin, Georgia 31021

Phone: (478) 272–2121

Waycross Division

601 Tebeau Street

Waycross, Georgia 31501

Phone: (912) 283–2870

Statesboro Division

52 North Main Street

Statesboro, Georgia 30458

Phone: (912) 764–3276

3. The Middle District Courts in Georgia (GAMD) has five locations in Macon, Albany, Athens, Columbus, and Valdosta.

William Augustus Bootle Federal Building

475 Mulberry Street

Macon, GA 31201

Phone: (478) 752–3497

Albany US Courthouse

201 West Broad Avenue

Albany, Georgia 31701

Phone: (229) 430–8432

Athens US Courthouse

115 East Hancock Avenue

Athens, Georgia 30601

Phone: (706) 227–1094

Columbus US Courthouse

120 12th Street

Columbus, GA 31902

Phone: (706) 649–7816

Valdosta U.S. Courthouse

401 North Patterson Street

Valdosta, GA 31601

Phone: (229) 242–3616

Are Federal Cases Public Records?

Federal court records are case files containing docket sheets, transcript of court proceedings and all other documents filed in federal cases. In reference to the Nixon v. Warner Communications, Inc. case, federal court records are open to the public for inspection and copying. However, not all case files are accessible to the public. While a judge seals some case files due to sensitive information violating personal privacy, others are restricted by state statutes.

Apart from sensitive personal and financial information, other details included in case files that are not available to the public are:

  • Trial exhibits that are not part of the evidence
  • Notes written by court personnel or judges
  • Information about informants, witnesses, victims, and special intelligence

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How To Find Federal Court Records Online

Federal court records in Georgia are available online through PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records). It is created by the federal judiciary to provide easy access to case files and docket information to the public through a centralized system. The nationwide electronic filing system is accessible using a PACER login. Users of PACER can gain access to:

  • The names of all the parties and participants, including judges, attorneys, and trustees
  • Compiled case-related information, such as causes of action, nature of the suit, and fines
  • The docket listing the case events by date
  • Claims registry
  • Listing of new cases each day
  • Court opinions
  • Case status and final judgments
  • Types of documents filed for certain cases
  • Images of documents

Each district court in Georgia holds and updates its records locally. As a result, some courts may not have the records requested by interested individuals. It is advisable to contact the Court before making a request and paying fees. Alternatively, requesters can use the PACER Case Locator for case files whose locations are unknown. Questions on how to use the federal e-filing are available on the FAQ page of the website.

How To Find Federal Court Records In Georgia?

In Georgia, interested parties can obtain federal court records by visiting, mailing, or contacting the relevant clerk of the federal district courts. It is important to note that each district court Requesters should note that each federal district court maintains records of cases handled within its jurisdiction. As such, queries must be directed to the particular district that handled the case of interest. Below are the physical addresses, mailing addresses, and contact details of each U.S district court clerk in Georgia:

Clerk of Court of the Northern District in Georgia

Richard B. Russell Federal Building

75 Ted Turner Dr NW #2211

Atlanta, GA 30303

Phone: (404) 215–1600

Clerk of Court of the Southern District in Georgia

125 Bull Street

Savannah, GA 31401

Phone: (912) 650–4020

Phone 2: (706) 849–4400

Clerk of Court of the Middle District in Georgia

PO Box 128

Macon, GA 31202

Phone: (478) 752–3497

Fax: (478) 752–3496


Archives and older federal records can be accessed by querying the Federal Records Center. The center charges $64.00 for the first archived court record requested. Each additional box or file attracts a fee of $39.00. Generally, the total costs to be covered is determined by the size and content of the documents of interest.

Can Federal Crimes Be Dismissed In Georgia?

It is possible to get a criminal case dismissed in Georgia. This may occur when a defendant is acquitted of a crime, there is an error in the investigation, or the evidence that brought the defendant to court is insufficient. Cases qualified for dismissal are those that have passed the trial and prosecution processes. Prior to arraignment, there is no motion to get a federal crime dismissed in the state of Georgia as well as in other states in the United States.

Dismissed cases are not expunged. This means that cases with insufficient proof may be reopened following new evidence. Whenever a case loses facts and data, the presiding judge may be prompted to dismiss and postpone the case indefinitely. In such scenarios, case files are moved to dead dockets by the clerk of court, pending when it is rendered active again by the judge.

How Do I Clear My Federal Criminal Record?

A criminal record can limit a person’s access to housing, employment, public assistance, and civic engagement. Statutes allow members of the public to access federal criminal records. However, some records are either sealed or expunged by federal law or court rule, thereby keeping the public from gaining access to such criminal history files. Sealing federal criminal records is different from expungement, but the results are often similar.

Generally, a criminal record is sealed or restricted once the defendant is found not guilty. Sealing a record after conviction is rare, and the federal judge will determine if such action is in the best interest of the law. The judge is compelled to seal a criminal record if the convict’s representative provide justification showing that:

  • the record will not be useful in any future investigations
  • the record might be misused in the future
  • the record may put the society at risk

Based on the U.S. Federal First Offender Act, an individual with no prior convictions but found guilty of possessing a controlled substance can have the charges and conviction completely expunged provided that he is below 21 years old. Any other juvenile records may also be restricted or sealed if appealed under U.S. Code § 5038. Also, once a conviction is found to be unconstitutional, or due to government misconduct, the record will be dismissed by the Attorney General and sealed by the judge.

Federal ex-convicts in Georgia wishing to seal or expunge their federal criminal records are required to petition a federal licensed judge in writing.

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