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Statutes: Georgia

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

The statutes are current through acts passed during the 2019 Session of the General Assembly. Please check to make sure there have been no changes since this time. You can find these and additional statutes online at the Georgia General Assembly website.

Title 15. Courts

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

Chapter 6. Superior Courts

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

Article 2. Clerks of Superior Courts

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

15-6-77. Costs and fees enumerated

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) The clerks of the superior courts of this state shall be entitled to charge and collect the sums enumerated in this Code section.

<Text of subsec. (b) effective until January 1, 2020>

(b) All sums as provided for in this Code section shall be inclusive of the sums that the clerks of the superior courts may be required to collect pursuant to Code Section 15-6-77.4. The sums provided in this Code section are exclusive of costs for service of process or other additional sums as may be provided by law.

<Text of subsec. (b) effective January 1, 2020>

(b) All sums as provided for in this Code section shall be inclusive of the sums that the clerks of the superior courts may be required to collect pursuant to Code Section 15-6-61, 15-6-77.4, 15-6-98, 45-17-4, or 47-14-51, or as otherwise provided by law as a deduction from the applicable fee. The sums provided in this Code section are exclusive of costs for service of process or other additional sums as may be provided by law.

<Text of subsec. (c) effective until January 1, 2020>

(c) In all counties in this state where the clerk of the superior court is paid or compensated on a salary basis, the fees provided for in this Code section shall be paid into the county treasury less and except such sums as are otherwise directed to be paid pursuant to Code Section 15-6-61 and such sums as are collected pursuant to Code Section 36-15-9 and Code Section 15-6-77.4, which sums shall be remitted to such authorities as provided by law. Fees, sums, or other remuneration for the performance of duties provided for under the laws of the United States or regulations promulgated pursuant to such laws shall be as provided in such laws or regulations as personal compensation to the clerk of the superior court for the performance of such duties.

<Text of subsec. (c) effective January 1, 2020>

(c) Any fees received as provided for in this Code section shall be paid into the county treasury less and except such sums as are otherwise directed to be paid by the clerk to another entity according to some other general law expressly providing for same, including, but not limited to, any sums pursuant to Code Section 15-6-61 and such sums as are collected pursuant to Code Section 15-6-77.4, 15-6-98, 36-15-9, 45-17-4 or 47-14-51, which sums shall be remitted to such authorities as provided by law. Fees, sums, or other remuneration for the performance of duties provided for under the laws of the United States or regulations promulgated pursuant to such laws shall be as provided in such laws or regulations as personal compensation to the clerk of the superior court for the performance of such duties.

(d) Except for the filing of civil cases in which the filing party is indigent as provided in subsection (e) of this Code section, all sums specified in this Code section shall be paid to the clerk at the time of filing or other service.

(e) Costs in civil cases:

(1) As used in this subsection, the term “civil cases” shall include all actions, cases, proceedings, motions, or filings civil in nature, including but not limited to actions for divorce, domestic relations actions, modifications on closed civil cases, adoptions, condemnation actions, and actions for the validation and confirmation of revenue bonds. Any postjudgment proceeding filed more than 30 days after judgment or dismissal in an action shall be considered as a new case for the purposes of this Code section and shall be given a new case number by the clerk of the superior court; provided, however, that such new case number shall not subject a party to any fee other than provided for in this Code section.

(2) Except as provided in paragraphs (3) and (4) of this subsection, the total sum for all services rendered by the clerk of the superior court through entry of judgment in civil cases shall be $58.00. Such sum shall not be required if the party desiring to file such case or proceeding is unable, because of indigence, to pay such sum and such party files with the clerk an affidavit to such effect, as provided by law. Nothing contained in this subsection shall be deemed to require advance payment of such sum by the state, its agencies, or political subdivisions.

(3) In all cases involving condemnations or the validation and confirmation of revenue bonds, the following additional sums shall be charged at the conclusion of the action:

(A)

Validation and confirmation of revenue bonds pursuant to Code Section 36-82-79, first 500 bonds, each

$1.00

All bonds over 500, each

.50

(B)

Recording on final record, per page

1.50

<Text of subsec. (e)(4) effective until January 1, 2020>

(4) No fee or cost shall be assessed for any service rendered by the clerk of superior court through entry of judgment in family violence cases under Chapter 13 of Title 19 or in connection with the filing, issuance, registration, or service of a protection order or a petition for a prosecution order to protect a victim of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault. A petitioner seeking a temporary protective order or a respondent involved in a temporary protective order hearing under the provisions of Code Section 19-13-3 or 19-13-4 shall be provided with a foreign language or sign language interpreter when necessary for the hearing on the petition. The reasonable cost of the interpreter shall be paid by the local victim assistance funds as provided by Article 8 of Chapter 21 of this title. The provisions of this paragraph shall control over any other conflicting provisions of law and shall specifically control over the provisions of Code Sections 15-6-77.1, 15-6-77.2, and 15-6-77.3.

<Text of subsec. (e)(4) effective January 1, 2020>

(4) No fee or cost shall be assessed for any service rendered by the clerk of superior court through entry of judgment in family violence cases under Chapter 13 of Title 19 or in connection with the filing, issuance, registration, or service of a protection order or a petition for a prosecution order to protect a victim of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault. A petitioner seeking a temporary protective order or a respondent involved in a temporary protective order hearing under the provisions of Code Section 19-13-3 or 19-13-4 shall be provided with a foreign language or sign language interpreter when necessary for the hearing on the petition. The reasonable cost of the interpreter shall be paid by the local victim assistance funds as provided by Article 8 of Chapter 21 of this title. The provisions of this paragraph shall control over any other conflicting provisions of law.

(5) Nothing contained in this Code section shall be construed so as to prohibit the collection of any other costs authorized by law for postjudgment proceedings or for any other services which the clerk or the sheriff shall perform. Nothing contained in this Code section shall be construed to affect in any way the power and authority of the superior courts from taxing costs in accordance with law, but no costs shall be refunded by the clerk unless and until the same have been paid to the clerk by the losing party.

<Text of subsec. (f) effective until January 1, 2020>

(f) Sums for filing documents, instruments, etc., pertaining to real estate or personal property, such sums to include recording and returning where applicable, shall be as follows:

(1)(A)(i) Filing all instruments pertaining to real estate including deeds, deeds of trust, affidavits, releases, notices and certificates, and cancellation of deeds, first page

$ 9.50

Each page, after the first

2.00

(ii) Filing all instruments pertaining to real estate and personal property including liens on real estate and personal property, notice filings for Uniform Commercial Code related real estate, tax liens, hospital liens, writs of fieri facias, notices of lis pendens, written information on utilities, cancellations of liens, and writs of fieri facias, first page

4.50

Each page, after the first

2.00

(B) Filing and indexing financing statements, amendments to financing statements, continuation statements, termination statements, release of collateral, or other filing pursuant to Article 9 of Title 11, first page

10.00

Each page, after the first

2.00

(2) Filing maps or plats, each page

7.50

(3) For processing an assignment of a security deed, for each deed assigned

4.50

<Text of subsec. (f) effective January 1, 2020>

(f) Sums for filing documents, instruments, etc., pertaining to real estate or personal property, such sums to include recording and returning where applicable, shall be as follows and shall continue to be subject to the remittance requirements to be paid by the clerk pursuant to Code Section 15-6-61, 15-6-98, or 47-14-51:

(1)(A)(i) Filing each instrument pertaining to real estate including, but not limited to, each deed, deed of trust, affidavit, release, notice, certificate, cancellation, assignment, notice filing for Uniform Commercial Code related real estate, and assignment of a security deed or mortgage

$

25.00

For any instrument that includes a request for cancellation, satisfaction, release, or assignment of more than one instrument, the filing fee specified in this division shall be submitted and paid for each such instrument which is to be canceled, satisfied, released, or assigned

(ii) Filing an instrument pertaining to real estate and personal property including a lien on real estate and personal property, hospital lien, notice of lis pendens, written information on utilities, cancellation of a lien, and writ of fieri facias

25.00

For any instrument that includes a request for cancellation, satisfaction, release, or assignment of more than one instrument, the filing fee specified in this division shall be submitted and paid for each such instrument which is to be canceled, satisfied, released, or assigned

(iii) Filing of a tax lien by a state or local government agency

5.00

Each page, after the first page

2.00

For each tax cancellation, satisfaction, release, notice, withdrawal, or other document referencing a previously filed tax lien, an additional sum for each previous tax lien referenced

2.00

(B) Filing a financing statement, amendment to a financing statement, continuation statement, termination statement, release of collateral, or other filing pursuant to Article 9 of Title 11

25.00

(2) Filing maps or plats, each page

10.00

(g) Miscellaneous fees:

(1) Recording any instrument or writing, fee not otherwise specified, first page

$ 5.00

Each page, after the first

2.00

(2) Uncertified copies of documents, if no assistance is required from the office of the clerk of superior court, per page

.50

Uncertified copies, if assistance is required

1.00

Uncertified copies, if transmitted telephonically or electronically, first page

2.50

Each page, after the first

1.00

(3) Uncertified copies of documents, drawings, or plats, copy larger than 8.5 x 14 inches

2.00

(4) Certification or exemplification of record, including certificates and seals, first page

2.50

Each page, after the first

.50

(5) Clerk’s certificate

1.00

(6) Court’s seal

1.00

(7) The clerk may provide computer data or computer generated printouts of public records subject to disclosure maintained on computer by, or available to, the clerk, for each page or partial page of printed data or copies of such or its equivalent

2.50

Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to require any clerk to provide computer generated reports nor shall any clerk be required to prepare custom or individualized computer compilations or reports for any person or entity which would require preparation of a computer program which is not a standard existing computer program in use by the clerk. The clerk shall not be required to permit access to, or to provide copies of, copyrighted computer programs or any other computer programs in violation of any software license agreement or containing confidential records otherwise excluded or exempted by this Code section or any other applicable law.

(8) Issuing certificate of pending or unsatisfied judgment, as provided in Code Section 40-9-40

3.00

(9) Issuing certificate of appointment and reappointment to notaries public, as provided by Code Section 45-17-4

20.00

(10) Registering and filing trade names pursuant to Code Section 10-1-490

15.00

(11) Issuing subpoena, signed and sealed, notwithstanding subsection (e) of this Code section, each

5.00

(12) Preparation of record and transcript to the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, per page

1.00

Where a transcript of the evidence and proceedings is filed with the clerk and does not require recopying, the clerk shall not receive the fee herein prescribed with respect to such transcript but shall receive, for filing and transmission of such transcript, a fee of

35.00

(13) Reserved.

(14) Reserved.

(15) For performing the duties required of them by Article 2 of Chapter 2 of Title 44, the clerks shall receive the same sums as in civil cases.

(16) For performing the duties required of them by Article 1 of Chapter 9A of Title 14, the “Uniform Limited Partnership Act,” and for filing statements of partnership pursuant to Code Section 14-8-10.1, the clerks shall receive the sums as in civil cases.

(h) Fees in criminal cases:

(1) Entering and docketing bills of indictment, presentments, no- bills, accusations

$ 3.00

(2) Reserved.

(3) Reserved.

(4) Reserved.

(5) Reserved.

(6) Preparation and furnishing copy of the record of appeal in criminal cases where the accused was convicted of capital felony, except when provided in accordance with subsection (b) of Code Section 5-6-43, per page

1.00

Clerk’s certificate

1.00

The clerk shall not receive compensation for the transcript of evidence and proceedings.

(7) When costs are assessed by the court the minimum amount assessed as court costs in the disposition of any criminal case in the superior court shall be $100.00. Any surcharge provided for by law shall be in addition to such sum.

(i) No fees shall be charged for the following:

(1) Recording discharge certificates of veterans, as provided in Code Section 15-6-78;

(2) Filing a petition as provided in Code Section 42-8-66;

(3) Recording and certifying documents in connection with admission to practice law; and

(4) Costs associated with the filing of criminal charges by an alleged victim of a violation of Code Section 16-5-90, 16-5-91, 16-6-1, 16-6-2, 16-6-3, 16-6-4, 16-6- 5.1, 16-6-22.1, or 16-6-22.2 or an alleged victim of any domestic violence offense or for the issuance or service of a warrant, protective order, or witness subpoena arising from the violation of Code Section 16-5-90, 16-5-91, 16-6-1, 16-6-2, 16-6-3, 16-6-4, 16-6- 5.1, 16-6-22.1, or 16-6-22.2 or the incident of domestic violence.

(j) All laws in force in this state which provide compensation for clerks of the superior courts for the discharge of duties not enumerated in this Code section nor in conflict with this Code section shall remain in full force and effect.

(k) No fees, assessments, or other charges may be assessed or collected except as authorized in this Code section or some other general law expressly providing for same.

(l) The clerk of superior court may provide such additional services for which there is no fee specified by statute in connection with the operation of the clerk’s offices as may be requested by the public and agreed to by the clerk. Any charges for such additional services shall be as agreed to between the clerk and the party making the request. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to require any clerk to provide any such service not otherwise required by law.

(m) The sheriffs of this state shall not be required to pay recording fees for criminal bonds and writs of fieri facias issued on criminal bond forfeitures.

(n) The clerk of superior court shall not be required to refund excess sums tendered to the clerk as payment of costs or fees enumerated in this Code section when such payment exceeds the amount required by this Code section by less than $15.00.

<Text of subsec. (o) effective until January 1, 2020>

(o) In addition to the fees required by this Code section:

(1) When any instrument that is statutorily required to be cross-indexed, canceled, satisfied, or released or when a party requests the clerk to cross-index an instrument that is not otherwise required by law to be cross-indexed to any other previously recorded or affected document, the clerk of superior court shall charge an additional fee of $2.00 for each additional cross-indexed entry;

(2) For recording any instrument that includes a request for cancellation, satisfaction, or release of more than one instrument as described in division (f)(1)(A)(i) of this Code section, the filing fee specified in division (f)(1)(A)(i) of this Code section shall be charged for each such instrument which is to be canceled, satisfied, or released;

(3) For recording any instrument that includes a request for cancellation, satisfaction, or release of more than one instrument as described in division (f)(1)(A)(ii) of this Code section, the filing fee specified in division (f)(1)(A)(ii) of this Code section shall be charged for each such instrument which is to be canceled, satisfied, or released;

(4) For any instrument that includes a request for the clerk to cross-index the instrument to a previously recorded or affected instrument but for which cross-indexing is not otherwise required by law, the clerk shall file, index, record, and cross-index each such instrument for which a request has been made upon receiving payment from the requesting party as specified by paragraph (1) of this subsection and written information specifying accurately the instrument to be cross-indexed;

(5) With respect to any instrument that includes a request for cancellation, satisfaction, or release of any instrument described in division (f)(1)(A)(i) or (f)(1)(A)(ii) of this Code section, the clerk shall file, index, and record the cancellation of each such instrument identified and requested to be canceled provided that the requesting party pays the filing fee specified by paragraph (2) or (3) of this subsection, as applicable, and that such instrument accurately identifies the recording information for such instrument to be canceled, satisfied, or released; and

(6) For the purposes of this subsection and any other Code section requiring the clerk of superior court to cross-index, cross-reference, or make any other notation affecting any instrument filed in the clerk’s office, including, but not limited to, real estate, personal property, liens, plats, and any other instruments, the clerk shall be authorized to make such entry or notation through electronic or automated means in lieu of entering such information manually in paper books or dockets.

<Text of subsec. (o) effective January 1, 2020>

(o) In addition to the fees required by this Code section:

(1) With respect to any instrument that includes a request for cancellation, satisfaction, or release of any instrument described in division (f)(1)(A)(i) or (f)(l)(A)(ii) of this Code section, the clerk shall file, index, and record the cancellation of each such instrument identified and requested to be canceled, provided that the requesting party pays the applicable filing fee and that such instrument accurately identifies the recording information for such instrument to be canceled, satisfied, or released; and

(2) For the purposes of this subsection and any other Code section requiring the clerk of superior court to cross-index, cross-reference, or make any other notation affecting any instrument filed in the clerk’s office, including, but not limited to, real estate, personal property, liens, plats, and any other instruments, the clerk shall be authorized to make such entry or notation through electronic or automated means in lieu of entering such information manually in paper books or dockets.

(p) Notwithstanding any provision of this Code section to the contrary, the filing fee for an application to be appointed as a certified process server pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection (h) of Code Section 9-11-4.1 shall be $58.00.

Title 16. Crimes and Offenses

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

Chapter 5. Crimes Against the Person

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

Article 2. Assault and Battery

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

16-5-20. Simple assault

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) A person commits the offense of simple assault when he or she either:

(1) Attempts to commit a violent injury to the person of another; or

(2) Commits an act which places another in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury.

(b) Except as provided in subsections (c) through (h) of this Code section, a person who commits the offense of simple assault shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(c) Any person who commits the offense of simple assault in a public transit vehicle or station shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. For purposes of this Code section, “public transit vehicle” means a bus, van, or rail car used for the transportation of passengers within a system which receives a subsidy from tax revenues or is operated under a franchise contract with a county or municipality of this state.

(d) If the offense of simple assault is committed between past or present spouses, persons who are parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, or other persons excluding siblings living or formerly living in the same household, the defendant shall be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. In no event shall this subsection be applicable to corporal punishment administered by a parent or guardian to a child or administered by a person acting in loco parentis.

(e) Any person who commits the offense of simple assault against a person who is 65 years of age or older shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.

(f) Any person who commits the offense of simple assault against an employee of a public school system of this state while such employee is engaged in official duties or on school property shall, upon conviction of such offense, be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. For purposes of this Code section, “school property” shall include public school buses and stops for public school buses as designated by local school boards of education.

(g) Any person who commits the offense of simple assault against a female who is pregnant at the time of the offense shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.

(h) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to permit the prosecution of:

(1) Any person for conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or person authorized by law to act on her behalf, has been obtained or for which such consent is implied by law;

(2) Any person for any medical treatment of the pregnant woman or her unborn child; or

(3) Any woman with respect to her unborn child.

For the purposes of this subsection, the term “unborn child” means a member of the species homo sapiens at any stage of development who is carried in the womb.

16-5-21. Aggravated assault

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) A person commits the offense of aggravated assault when he or she assaults:

(1) With intent to murder, to rape, or to rob;

(2) With a deadly weapon or with any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in serious bodily injury;

(3) With any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in strangulation; or

(4) A person or persons without legal justification by discharging a firearm from within a motor vehicle toward a person or persons.

(b) Except as provided in subsections (c) through (k) of this Code section, a person convicted of the offense of aggravated assault shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 20 years.

(c)(1) A person who knowingly commits the offense of aggravated assault upon a public safety officer while he or she is engaged in, or on account of the performance of, his or her official duties shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished as follows:

(A) When such assault occurs by the discharge of a firearm by a person who is at least 17 years of age, such person shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than ten nor more than 20 years and shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of ten years and no portion of the mandatory minimum sentence imposed shall be suspended, stayed, probated, deferred, or withheld by the sentencing court; provided, however, that in the court’s discretion, the court may depart from such mandatory minimum sentence when the prosecuting attorney and defendant have agreed to a sentence that is below such mandatory minimum;

(B) When such assault does not involve the discharge of a firearm by a person who is at least 17 years of age, and does not involve only the use of the person’s body, such person shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than five nor more than 20 years and, for persons who are at least 17 years of age, shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of three years and no portion of the mandatory minimum sentence imposed shall be suspended, stayed, probated, deferred, or withheld by the sentencing court; provided, however, that in the court’s discretion, the court may depart from such mandatory minimum sentence when the prosecuting attorney and defendant have agreed to a sentence that is below such mandatory minimum; or

(C) When such assault occurs only involving the use of the person’s body, by imprisonment for not less than five nor more than 20 years.

(2) A person convicted under this subsection shall be punished, in addition to any term of imprisonment imposed, by a fine as provided by law which shall be at least $2,000.00. With respect to $2,000.00 of the fine imposed, after distributing the surcharges and deductions required by Chapter 21 of Title 15, Code Sections 36-15-9 and 42-8-34, and Title 47, it shall be earmarked for the Georgia State Indemnification Fund for purposes of payment of indemnification for death or disability as provided for in Part 1 of Article 5 of Chapter 9 of Title 45.

(3) As used in this subsection, the term “firearm” means any handgun, rifle, shotgun, or similar device or weapon which will or can be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or electrical charge.

(d) Any person who commits the offense of aggravated assault against a person who is 65 years of age or older shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than three nor more than 20 years.

(e) Any person who commits the offense of aggravated assault in a public transit vehicle or station shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than three nor more than 20 years.

(f) Any person who commits the offense of aggravated assault upon a person in the course of violating Code Section 16-8-2 where the property that was the subject of the theft was a vehicle engaged in commercial transportation of cargo or any appurtenance thereto, including without limitation any such trailer, semitrailer, container, or other associated equipment, or the cargo being transported therein or thereon, shall upon conviction be punished by imprisonment for not less than five nor more than 20 years, a fine not less than $50,000.00 nor more than $200,000.00, or both such fine and imprisonment. For purposes of this subsection, the term “vehicle” includes without limitation any railcar.

(g) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, a person convicted of an offense described in paragraph (4) of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than five nor more than 20 years.

(h) Any person who commits the offense of aggravated assault involving the use of a firearm upon a student or teacher or other school personnel within a school safety zone as defined in Code Section 16-11-127.1 shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than five nor more than 20 years.

(i) If the offense of aggravated assault is committed between past or present spouses, persons who are parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, or other persons excluding siblings living or formerly living in the same household, the defendant shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than three nor more than 20 years.

(j) Any person who commits the offense of aggravated assault with intent to rape against a child under the age of 14 years shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than 25 nor more than 50 years. Any person convicted under this subsection shall, in addition, be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Section 17-10-6.2.

(k) A person who knowingly commits the offense of aggravated assault upon an officer of the court while such officer is engaged in, or on account of the performance of, his or her official duties shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than five nor more than 20 years.

16-5-23. Simple battery

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) A person commits the offense of simple battery when he or she either:

(1) Intentionally makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with the person of another; or

(2) Intentionally causes physical harm to another.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in subsections (c) through (i) of this Code section, a person convicted of the offense of simple battery shall be punished as for a misdemeanor.

(c) Any person who commits the offense of simple battery against a person who is 65 years of age or older or against a female who is pregnant at the time of the offense shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.

(d) Any person who commits the offense of simple battery in a public transit vehicle or station shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. For purposes of this Code section, “public transit vehicle” has the same meaning as in subsection (c) of Code Section 16-5-20.

(e) Any person who commits the offense of simple battery against a police officer, correction officer, or detention officer engaged in carrying out official duties shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.

(f) If the offense of simple battery is committed between past or present spouses, persons who are parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, or other persons excluding siblings living or formerly living in the same household, the defendant shall be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. In no event shall this subsection be applicable to corporal punishment administered by a parent or guardian to a child or administered by a person acting in loco parentis.

(g) A person who is an employee, agent, or volunteer at any facility licensed or required to be licensed under Code Section 31-7-3, relating to long-term care facilities, or Code Section 31-7-12.2, relating to assisted living communities, or Code Section 31-7-12, relating to personal care homes, or who is required to be licensed pursuant to Code Section 31-7-151 or 31-7-173, relating to home health care and hospices, who commits the offense of simple battery against a person who is admitted to or receiving services from such facility, person, or entity shall be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.

(h) Any person who commits the offense of simple battery against a sports official while such sports official is officiating an amateur contest or while such sports official is on or exiting the property where he or she will officiate or has completed officiating an amateur contest shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. For the purposes of this Code section, the term “sports official” means any person who officiates, umpires, or referees an amateur contest at the collegiate, elementary or secondary school, or recreational level.

(i) Any person who commits the offense of simple battery against an employee of a public school system of this state while such employee is engaged in official duties or on school property shall, upon conviction of such offense, be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. For purposes of this Code section, “school property” shall include public school buses and stops for public school buses as designated by local school boards of education.

16-5-23.1. Battery

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) A person commits the offense of battery when he or she intentionally causes substantial physical harm or visible bodily harm to another.

(b) As used in this Code section, the term “visible bodily harm” means bodily harm capable of being perceived by a person other than the victim and may include, but is not limited to, substantially blackened eyes, substantially swollen lips or other facial or body parts, or substantial bruises to body parts.

(c) Except as provided in subsections (d) through (k) of this Code section, a person who commits the offense of battery is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(d) Upon the second conviction for battery against the same victim, the defendant shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than ten days nor more than 12 months, by a fine not to exceed $1,000.00, or both. The minimum sentence of ten days for a second offense shall not be suspended, probated, deferred, stayed, or withheld; provided, however, that it is within the authority and discretion of the sentencing judge to:

(1) Allow the sentence to be served on weekends by weekend confinement or during the nonworking hours of the defendant. A weekend shall commence and shall end in the discretion of the sentencing judge, and the nonworking hours of the defendant shall be determined in the discretion of the sentencing judge; or

(2) Suspend, probate, defer, stay, or withhold the minimum sentence where there exists clear and convincing evidence that imposition of the minimum sentence would either create an undue hardship upon the defendant or result in a failure of justice.

(e) Upon a third or subsequent conviction for battery against the same victim, the defendant shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years. The minimum sentence provisions contained in subsection (d) of this Code section shall apply to sentences imposed pursuant to this subsection.

(f)(1) As used in this subsection, the term “household member” means past or present spouses, persons who are parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, or other persons living or formerly living in the same household.

(2) If the offense of battery is committed between household members, it shall constitute the offense of family violence battery and shall be punished as follows:

(A) Upon a first conviction of family violence battery, the defendant shall be guilty of and punished for a misdemeanor; provided, however, that if the defendant has previously been convicted of a forcible felony committed between household members under the laws of this state, of the United States, including the laws of its territories, possessions, or dominions, or any of the several states, or of any foreign nation recognized by the United States, which if committed in this state would have constituted a forcible felony committed between household members, he or she shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years; and

(B) Upon a second or subsequent conviction of family violence battery against the same or another victim, the defendant shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.

(3) In no event shall this subsection be applicable to reasonable corporal punishment administered by parent to child.

(g) Any person who commits the offense of battery in a public transit vehicle or station shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. For purposes of this Code section, “public transit vehicle” has the same meaning as in subsection (c) of Code Section 16-5-20.

(h) Any person who commits the offense of battery against a female who is pregnant at the time of the offense shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.

(i) Any person who commits the offense of battery against a teacher or other school personnel engaged in the performance of official duties or while on school property shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years or a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both. For purposes of this Code section, “school property” shall include public school buses and public school bus stops as designated by local school boards of education.

(j) A person who is an employee, agent, or volunteer at any facility licensed or required to be licensed under Code Section 31-7-3, relating to long-term care facilities, or Code Section 31-7-12.2, relating to assisted living communities, or Code Section 31-7-12, relating to personal care homes, or who is required to be licensed pursuant to Code Section 31-7-151 or 31-7-173, relating to home health care and hospices, who commits the offense of battery against a person who is admitted to or receiving services from such facility, person, or entity shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years, or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.(k) Any person who commits the offense of battery against a sports official while such sports official is officiating an amateur contest or while such sports official is on or exiting the property where he or she will officiate or has completed officiating an amateur contest shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. For purposes of this Code section, the term “sports official” means any person who officiates, umpires, or referees an amateur contest at the collegiate, elementary or secondary school, or recreational level.

16-5-24. Aggravated battery

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) A person commits the offense of aggravated battery when he or she maliciously causes bodily harm to another by depriving him or her of a member of his or her body, by rendering a member of his or her body useless, or by seriously disfiguring his or her body or a member thereof.

(b) Except as provided in subsections (c) through (g) of this Code section, a person convicted of the offense of aggravated battery shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 20 years.

(c)(1) A person who knowingly commits the offense of aggravated battery upon a public safety officer while the public safety officer is engaged in, or on account of the performance of, his or her official duties shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than ten nor more than 20 years; provided, however, that for persons who are at least 17 years of age, a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of three years shall be imposed and no portion of the mandatory minimum sentence shall be suspended, stayed, probated, deferred, or otherwise withheld by the sentencing court; provided, however, that in the court’s discretion, the court may depart from such mandatory minimum sentence when the prosecuting attorney and defendant have agreed to a sentence that is below such mandatory minimum.

(2) A person convicted under this subsection shall be punished, in addition to any term of imprisonment imposed, by a fine as provided by law which shall be at least $2,000.00. With respect to $2,000.00 of the fine imposed, after distributing the surcharges and deductions required by Chapter 21 of Title 15, Code Sections 36-15-9 and 42-8-34, and Title 47, it shall be earmarked for the Georgia State Indemnification Fund for purposes of payment of indemnification for death or disability as provided for in Part 1 of Article 5 of Chapter 9 of Title 45.

(d) Any person who commits the offense of aggravated battery against a person who is 65 years of age or older shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than five nor more than 20 years.

(e) Any person who commits the offense of aggravated battery in a public transit vehicle or station shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than five nor more than 20 years.

(f) Any person who commits the offense of aggravated battery upon a student or teacher or other school personnel within a school safety zone as defined in Code Section 16-11-127.1 shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than five nor more than 20 years.

(g) If the offense of aggravated battery is committed between past or present spouses, persons who are parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, or other persons excluding siblings living or formerly living in the same household, the defendant shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than three nor more than 20 years.

Article 3. Kidnapping, False Imprisonment, and Related Offenses

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

16-5-40. Kidnapping

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) A person commits the offense of kidnapping when such person abducts or steals away another person without lawful authority or warrant and holds such other person against his or her will.

(b)(1) For the offense of kidnapping to occur, slight movement shall be sufficient; provided, however, that any such slight movement of another person which occurs while in the commission of any other offense shall not constitute the offense of kidnapping if such movement is merely incidental to such other offense.

(2) Movement shall not be considered merely incidental to another offense if it:

(A) Conceals or isolates the victim;

(B) Makes the commission of the other offense substantially easier;

(C) Lessens the risk of detection; or

(D) Is for the purpose of avoiding apprehension.

(c) The offense of kidnapping shall be considered a separate offense and shall not merge with any other offense.

(d) A person convicted of the offense of kidnapping shall be punished by:

(1) Imprisonment for not less than ten nor more than 20 years if the kidnapping involved a victim who was 14 years of age or older;

(2) Imprisonment for life or by a split sentence that is a term of imprisonment for not less than 25 years and not exceeding life imprisonment, followed by probation for life, if the kidnapping involved a victim who is less than 14 years of age;

(3) Life imprisonment or death if the kidnapping was for ransom; or

(4) Life imprisonment or death if the person kidnapped received bodily injury.

(e) Any person convicted under this Code section shall, in addition, be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Sections 17-10-6.1 and 17-10-7.

(f) The offense of kidnapping is declared to be a continuous offense, and venue may be in any county where the accused exercises dominion or control over the person of another.

16-5-41. False imprisonment

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) A person commits the offense of false imprisonment when, in violation of the personal liberty of another, he arrests, confines, or detains such person without legal authority.

(b) A person convicted of the offense of false imprisonment shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years.

(c) Any person convicted under this Code section wherein the victim is not the child of the defendant and the victim is less than 14 years of age shall, in addition, be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Section 17-10-6.2.

16-5-45. Interference with custody

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) As used in this Code section, the term:

(1) “Child” means any individual who is under the age of 17 years or any individual who is under the age of 18 years who is alleged to be a dependent child or a child in need of services as such terms are defined in Code Section 15-11-2.

(2) “Committed person” means any child or other person whose custody is entrusted to another individual by authority of law.

(3) “Lawful custody” means that custody inherent in the natural parents, that custody awarded by proper authority as provided in Code Section 15-11-133, or that custody awarded to a parent, guardian, or other person by a court of competent jurisdiction.

(4) “Service provider” means an entity that is registered with the Department of Human Services pursuant to Article 7 of Chapter 5 of Title 49 or a child welfare agency as defined in Code Section 49-5-12 or an agent or employee acting on behalf of such entity or child welfare agency.

(b)(1) A person commits the offense of interference with custody when without lawful authority to do so, the person:

(A) Knowingly or recklessly takes or entices any child or committed person away from the individual who has lawful custody of such child or committed person;

(B) Knowingly harbors any child or committed person who has absconded; provided, however, that this subparagraph shall not apply to a service provider that notifies the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child’s location and general state of well being as soon as possible but not later than 72 hours after the child’s acceptance of services; provided, further, that such notification shall not be required if:

(i) The service provider has reasonable cause to believe that the minor has been abused or neglected and makes a child abuse report pursuant to Code Section 19-7-5;

(ii) The child will not disclose the name of the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian, and the Division of Family and Children Services within the Department of Human Services is notified within 72 hours of the child’s acceptance of services; or

(iii) The child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian cannot be reached, and the Division of Family and Children Services within the Department of Human Services is notified within 72 hours of the child’s acceptance of services; or

(C) Intentionally and willfully retains possession within this state of the child or committed person upon the expiration of a lawful period of visitation with the child or committed person.

(2) A person convicted of the offense of interference with custody shall be punished as follows:

(A) Upon conviction of the first offense, the defendant shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than $200.00 nor more than $500. 00 or shall be imprisoned for not less than one month nor more than five months, or both fined and imprisoned;

(B) Upon conviction of the second offense, the defendant shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than $400.00 nor more than $1,000.00 or shall be imprisoned for not less than three months nor more than 12 months, or both fined and imprisoned; and

(C) Upon the conviction of the third or subsequent offense, the defendant shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.

(c)(1) A person commits the offense of interstate interference with custody when without lawful authority to do so the person knowingly or recklessly takes or entices any minor or committed person away from the individual who has lawful custody of such minor or committed person and in so doing brings such minor or committed person into this state or removes such minor or committed person from this state.

(2) A person also commits the offense of interstate interference with custody when the person removes a minor or committed person from this state in the lawful exercise of a visitation right and, upon the expiration of the period of lawful visitation, intentionally retains possession of the minor or committed person in another state for the purpose of keeping the minor or committed person away from the individual having lawful custody of the minor or committed person. The offense is deemed to be committed in the county to which the minor or committed person was to have been returned upon expiration of the period of lawful visitation.

(3) A person convicted of the offense of interstate interference with custody shall be guilty of a felony and shall be imprisoned for not less than one year nor more than five years.

Article 7. Stalking

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

16-5-90. Stalking

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a)(1) A person commits the offense of stalking when he or she follows, places under surveillance, or contacts another person at or about a place or places without the consent of the other person for the purpose of harassing and intimidating the other person. For the purpose of this article, the terms “computer” and “computer network” shall have the same meanings as set out in Code Section 16-9-92; the term “contact” shall mean any communication including without being limited to communication in person, by telephone, by mail, by broadcast, by computer, by computer network, or by any other electronic device; and the place or places that contact by telephone, mail, broadcast, computer, computer network, or any other electronic device is deemed to occur shall be the place or places where such communication is received. For the purpose of this article, the term “place or places” shall include any public or private property occupied by the victim other than the residence of the defendant. For the purposes of this article, the term “harassing and intimidating” means a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes emotional distress by placing such person in reasonable fear for such person’s safety or the safety of a member of his or her immediate family, by establishing a pattern of harassing and intimidating behavior, and which serves no legitimate purpose. This Code section shall not be construed to require that an overt threat of death or bodily injury has been made.

(2) A person commits the offense of stalking when such person, in violation of a bond to keep the peace posted pursuant to Code Section 17-6-110, standing order issued under Code Section 19-1-1, temporary restraining order, temporary protective order, permanent restraining order, permanent protective order, preliminary injunction, or permanent injunction or condition of pretrial release, condition of probation, or condition of parole in effect prohibiting the harassment or intimidation of another person, broadcasts or publishes, including electronic publication, the picture, name, address, or phone number of a person for whose benefit the bond, order, or condition was made and without such person’s consent in such a manner that causes other persons to harass or intimidate such person and the person making the broadcast or publication knew or had reason to believe that such broadcast or publication would cause such person to be harassed or intimidated by others.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, a person who commits the offense of stalking is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(c) Upon the second conviction, and all subsequent convictions, for stalking, the defendant shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than ten years.

(d) Before sentencing a defendant for any conviction of stalking under this Code section or aggravated stalking under Code Section 16-5-91, the sentencing judge may require psychological evaluation of the offender and shall consider the entire criminal record of the offender. At the time of sentencing, the judge is authorized to issue a permanent restraining order against the offender to protect the person stalked and the members of such person’s immediate family, and the judge is authorized to require psychological treatment of the offender as a part of the sentence, or as a condition for suspension or stay of sentence, or for probation.

16-5-91. Aggravated stalking.

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) A person commits the offense of aggravated stalking when such person, in violation of a bond to keep the peace posted pursuant to Code Section 17-6- 110, temporary restraining order, temporary protective order, permanent restraining order, permanent protective order, preliminary injunction, good behavior bond, or permanent injunction or condition of pretrial release, condition of probation, or condition of parole in effect prohibiting the behavior described in this subsection, follows, places under surveillance, or contacts another person at or about a place or places without the consent of the other person for the purpose of harassing and intimidating the other person.

(b) Any person convicted of a violation of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years and by a fine of not more than $ 10,000.00. The provisions of subsection (d) of Code Section 16- 5-90 apply to sentencing for conviction of aggravated stalking.

16-5-92. Exceptions.

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

The provisions of Code Sections 16-5-90 and 16-5-91 shall not apply to persons engaged in activities protected by the Constitution of the United States or of this state or to persons or employees of such persons lawfully engaged in bona fide business activity or lawfully engaged in the practice of a profession.

16-5-93. Victims entitled to notice of release from custody of person arrested for and charged with stalking or aggravated stalking

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) The victim of stalking or aggravated stalking shall be entitled to notice of the release from custody of the person arrested for and charged with the offense of stalking or aggravated stalking and to notice of any hearing on the issue of bail for such person. No such notice shall be required unless the victim provides a landline telephone number other than a pocket pager or electronic communication device number to which such notice can be directed.

(b) The law enforcement agency, prosecutor, or court directly involved with the victim at the outset of a criminal prosecution for the offense of stalking or aggravated stalking shall advise the victim of his or her right to notice and of the requirement of the victim’s providing a landline telephone number other than a pocket pager or electronic communication device number to which the notice of custodial release or bail hearing can be directed. Such victim shall transmit the telephone number described in this subsection to the court and custodian of the person charged with stalking or aggravated stalking.

(c) Upon receipt of the telephone number, the custodian of the person charged with stalking or aggravated stalking shall take reasonable and necessary steps under the circumstances to notify the victim of the person’s release from custody. Such notice shall, at a minimum, include:

(1) Prior to the person’s release, placing a telephone call to the number provided by the victim and giving notice to the victim or any person answering the telephone who appears to be sui juris or by leaving an appropriate message on a telephone answering machine; and

(2) Following the person’s release, if the custodian is unable to notify the victim by the method provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection, telephoning the number provided by the victim no less than two times in no less than 15 minute intervals within one hour of custodial release and giving notice to the victim or to any person answering the telephone who appears to be sui juris or by leaving an appropriate message on a telephone answering machine.

(d) Upon receipt of the telephone number, the court conducting a hearing on the issue of bail shall take reasonable and necessary steps under the circumstances to notify the victim of any scheduled hearing on the issue of bail. Such notice shall, at a minimum, include placing a telephone call to the number provided by the victim prior to any scheduled hearing on the issue of bail.

(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Code section, a scheduled bail hearing or the release of the person charged with stalking or aggravated stalking shall not be delayed solely for the purpose of effectuating notice pursuant to this Code section for a period of more than 30 minutes.

(f) Upon the person’s release or escape from custody after conviction and service of all or a portion of a sentence, notification to the victim shall be provided by the State Board of Pardons and Paroles as set forth in Code Sections 42-9-46 and 42-9-47.

(g) This Code section shall not apply to a custodian who is transferring a person charged with stalking or aggravated stalking to another custodian in this state.

(h) As used in this Code section, the term “custodian” means a warden, sheriff, jailer, deputy sheriff, police officer, officer or employee of the Department of Juvenile Justice, or any other law enforcement officer having actual custody of an inmate.

(i) A custodian or his or her employing agency shall not be liable in damages for a failure to provide the notice required by this Code section, but the custodian shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action including termination for such failure.


16-5-94. Restraining orders, protective orders, and approval of consent orders to prevent recurrence of stalking

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) A person who is not a minor who alleges stalking by another person may seek a restraining order by filing a petition alleging conduct constituting stalking as defined in Code Section 16-5-90. A person who is not a minor may also seek relief on behalf of a minor by filing such a petition.

(b) Jurisdiction for such a petition shall be the same as for family violence petitions as set out in Code Section 19-13-2.

(c) Upon the filing of a verified petition in which the petitioner alleges with specific facts that probable cause exists to establish that stalking by the respondent has occurred in the past and may occur in the future, the court may order such temporary relief ex parte as it deems necessary to protect the petitioner or a minor of the household from stalking. If the court issues an ex parte order, a copy of the order shall be immediately furnished to the petitioner.

(d) The court may grant a protective order or approve a consent agreement to bring about a cessation of conduct constituting stalking. Orders or agreements may:

(1) Direct a party to refrain from such conduct;

(2) Order a party to refrain from harassing or interfering with the other;

(3) Award costs and attorney’s fees to either party; and

(4) Order either or all parties to receive appropriate psychiatric or psychological services as a further measure to prevent the recurrence of stalking.

(e) The provisions of subsections (c) and (d) of Code Section 19-13-3, subsections (b), (c), and (d) of Code Section 19-13-4, and Code Section 19-13-5, relating to family violence petitions, shall apply to petitions filed pursuant to this Code section, except that the clerk of court may provide forms for petitions and pleadings to persons alleging conduct constituting stalking and to any other person designated by the superior court pursuant to this Code section as authorized to advise persons alleging conduct constituting stalking on filling out and filing such petitions and pleadings.

16-5-95. Violation of family violence order

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) As used in this Code section, the term:

(1) “Civil family violence order” means any temporary protective order or permanent protective order issued pursuant to Article 1 of Chapter 13 of Title 19.

(2) “Criminal family violence order” means:

(A) Any order of pretrial release issued as a result of an arrest for an act of family violence; or

(B) Any order for probation issued as a result of a conviction or plea of guilty, nolo contendere, or first offender to an act of family violence.

(3) “Family violence” shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 19-13-1.

(b) A person commits the offense of violating a civil family violence order or criminal family violence order when such person knowingly and in a nonviolent manner violates the terms of such order issued against that person, which:

(1) Excludes, evicts, or excludes and evicts the person from a residence or household;

(2) Directs the person to stay away from a residence, workplace, or school;

(3) Restrains the person from approaching within a specified distance of another person; or

(4) Restricts the person from having any contact, direct or indirect, by telephone, pager, facsimile, e-mail, or any other means of communication with another person, except as specified in such order.

(c) Any person convicted of a violation of subsection (b) of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(d) Nothing contained in this Code section shall prohibit a prosecution for the offense of stalking or aggravated stalking that arose out of the same course of conduct; provided, however, that, for purposes of sentencing, a violation of this Code section shall be merged with a violation of any provision of Code Section 16-5-90 or 16-5-91 that arose out of the same course of conduct.

16-5-96. Notice of conviction; publication

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) The clerk of the court in which a person is convicted of a second or subsequent violation of Code Section 16-5-90 or 16-5-91 shall cause to be published a notice of conviction for such person. Such notice of conviction shall be published in the manner of legal notices in the legal organ of the county in which such person resides or, in the case of nonresidents, in the legal organ of the county in which the person was convicted. Such notice of conviction shall be one column wide by two inches long and shall contain the photograph taken by the arresting law enforcement agency at the time of arrest; the name and address of the convicted person; the date, time, and place of arrest; and the disposition of the case and shall be published once in the legal organ of the appropriate county in the second week following such conviction or as soon thereafter as publication may be made.

(b) The convicted person for which a notice of conviction is published pursuant to this Code section shall be assessed $25.00 for the cost of publication of such notice and such assessment shall be imposed at the time of conviction in addition to any other fine imposed.

(c) The clerk of the court, the publisher of any legal organ which publishes a notice of conviction, and any other person involved in the publication of an erroneous notice of conviction shall be immune from civil or criminal liability for such erroneous publication, provided that such publication was made in good faith.

Chapter 6. Sexual Offenses

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

16-6-1. Rape

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) A person commits the offense of rape when he has carnal knowledge of:

(1) A female forcibly and against her will; or

(2) A female who is less than ten years of age.

Carnal knowledge in rape occurs when there is any penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ. The fact that the person allegedly raped is the wife of the defendant shall not be a defense to a charge of rape.

(b) A person convicted of the offense of rape shall be punished by death, by imprisonment for life without parole, by imprisonment for life, or by a split sentence that is a term of imprisonment for not less than 25 years and not exceeding life imprisonment, followed by probation for life. Any person convicted under this Code section shall, in addition, be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Sections 17-10-6.1 and 17-10-7.

(c) When evidence relating to an allegation of rape is collected in the course of a medical examination of the person who is the victim of the alleged crime, the Georgia Crime Victims Emergency Fund, as provided for in Chapter 15 of Title 17, shall be responsible for the cost of the medical examination to the extent that expense is incurred for the limited purpose of collecting evidence.

16-6-2. Sodomy; aggravated sodomy

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a)(1) A person commits the offense of sodomy when he or she performs or submits to any sexual act involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another.

(2) A person commits the offense of aggravated sodomy when he or she commits sodomy with force and against the will of the other person or when he or she commits sodomy with a person who is less than ten years of age. The fact that the person allegedly sodomized is the spouse of a defendant shall not be a defense to a charge of aggravated sodomy.

(b)(1) Except as provided in subsection (d) of this Code section, a person convicted of the offense of sodomy shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 20 years and shall be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Section 17-10-6.2.

(2) A person convicted of the offense of aggravated sodomy shall be punished by imprisonment for life or by a split sentence that is a term of imprisonment for not less than 25 years and not exceeding life imprisonment, followed by probation for life. Any person convicted under this Code section of the offense of aggravated sodomy shall, in addition, be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Sections 17-10-6.1 and 17-10-7.

(c) When evidence relating to an allegation of aggravated sodomy is collected in the course of a medical examination of the person who is the victim of the alleged crime, the Georgia Crime Victims Emergency Fund, as provided for in Chapter 15 of Title 17, shall be financially responsible for the cost of the medical examination to the extent that expense is incurred for the limited purpose of collecting evidence.

(d) If the victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years of age and the person convicted of sodomy is 18 years of age or younger and is no more than four years older than the victim, such person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall not be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Section 17-10-6.2.

16-6-3. Statutory rape

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) A person commits the offense of statutory rape when he or she engages in sexual intercourse with any person under the age of 16 years and not his or her spouse, provided that no conviction shall be had for this offense on the unsupported testimony of the victim.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, a person convicted of the offense of statutory rape shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 20 years; provided, however, that if the person so convicted is 21 years of age or older, such person shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than ten nor more than 20 years. Any person convicted under this subsection of the offense of statutory rape shall, in addition, be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Section 17-10-6.2.

(c) If the victim is at least 14 but less than 16 years of age and the person convicted of statutory rape is 18 years of age or younger and is no more than four years older than the victim, such person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

16-6-5.1. Improper sexual contact

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) As used in this Code section, the term:

(1) “Agent” means an individual authorized to act on behalf of another, with or without compensation.

(2) “Child welfare and youth services” shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 49-5-3.

(3) “Disability” shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 37-1-1.

(4) “Employee” means an individual who works for salary, wages, or other remuneration for an employer.

(5) “Intimate parts” means the genital area, groin, inner thighs, buttocks, or breasts of a person.

(6) “Psychotherapy” means the professional treatment or counseling of a mental or emotional illness, symptom, or condition.

(7) “School” means any educational institution, public or private, providing elementary or secondary education to children at any level, kindergarten through twelfth grade, or the equivalent thereof if grade divisions are not used, including extracurricular programs of such institution.

(8) “Sensitive care facility” means any facility licensed or required to be licensed under Code Section 31-7-3, 31-7-12, or 31-7-12.2 or who is required to be licensed pursuant to Code Section 31-7-151 or 31-7-173.

(9) “Sexual contact” means any contact involving the intimate parts of either person for the purpose of sexual gratification of either person.

(10) “Sexually explicit conduct” shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 16-12-100.

(b) An employee or agent commits the offense of improper sexual contact by employee or agent in the first degree when such employee or agent knowingly engages in sexually explicit conduct with another person whom such employee or agent knows or reasonably should have known is contemporaneously:

(1) Enrolled as a student at a school of which he or she is an employee or agent;

(2) Under probation, parole, accountability court, or pretrial diversion supervision of the office or court of which he or she is an employee or agent;

(3) Being detained by or is in the custody of any law enforcement agency of which he or she is an employee or agent;

(4) A patient in or at a hospital of which he or she is an employee or agent;

(5) In the custody of a correctional facility, juvenile detention facility, facility providing services to a person with a disability, or a facility providing child welfare and youth services of which he or she is an employee or agent;

(6) The subject of such employee or agent’s actual or purported psychotherapy treatment or counseling; or

(7) Admitted for care at a sensitive care facility of which he or she is an employee or agent.

(c) A person commits the offense of improper sexual contact by employee or agent in the second degree when such employee or agent knowingly engages in sexual contact, excluding sexually explicit conduct, with another person whom such employee or agent knows or reasonably should have known is contemporaneously:

(1) Enrolled as a student at a school of which he or she is an employee or agent;

(2) Under probation, parole, accountability court, or pretrial diversion supervision of the office or court of which he or she is an employee or agent;

(3) Being detained by or is in the custody of a law enforcement agency of which he or she is an employee or agent;

(4) A patient in or at a hospital of which he or she is an employee or agent;

(5) In the custody of a correctional facility, juvenile detention facility, facility providing services to a person with a disability, or facility providing child welfare and youth services of which he or she is an employee or agent;

(6) The subject of such employee or agent’s actual or purported psychotherapy treatment or counseling; or

(7) Admitted for care at a sensitive care facility of which he or she is an employee or agent.

(d) Consent of the victim shall not be a defense to a prosecution under this Code section.

(e)(1) This Code section shall not apply to sexually explicit conduct or sexual contact between individuals lawfully married to each other.

(2) This Code section shall not apply to a student who is enrolled at the same school as the victim.

(f) A person convicted of improper sexual contact by employee or agent in the first degree shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 25 years or by a fine not to exceed $100,000.00, or both; provided, however, that:

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, any person convicted of the offense of improper sexual contact by employee or agent with a child under the age of 16 years shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than 25 nor more than 50 years or a fine not to exceed $100,000.00, or both, and shall, in addition, be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Section 17-10-6.2; and

(2) If at the time of the offense the victim of the offense is at least 14 years of age but less than 21 years of age and the person is 21 years of age or younger and is no more than 48 months older than the victim, such person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall not be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Section 17-10-6.2.

(g) A person convicted of improper sexual contact by employee or agent in the second degree shall be punished as for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature and shall not be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Section 17-10-6.2; provided, however, that:

(1) Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this subsection, any person convicted of the offense of improper sexual contact by employee or agent in the second degree with a child under the age of 16 years shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than five nor more than 25 years or by a fine not to exceed $25,000.00, or both, and shall, in addition, be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Section 17-10-6.2;

(2) If at the time of the offense the victim of the offense is at least 14 years of age but less than 21 years of age and the person is 21 years of age or younger and is no more than 48 months older than the victim, such person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall not be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Section 17-10-6.2; and(3) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, upon a second or subsequent conviction of the offense of improper sexual contact by employee or agent in the second degree, the person shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than five years and shall be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Section 17-10-6.2.

16-6-22.1. Sexual battery

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) For the purposes of this Code section, the term “intimate parts” means the primary genital area, anus, groin, inner thighs, or buttocks of a male or female and the breasts of a female.

(b) A person commits the offense of sexual battery when he or she intentionally makes physical contact with the intimate parts of the body of another person without the consent of that person.

(c) Except as otherwise provided in this Code section, a person convicted of the offense of sexual battery shall be punished as for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.

(d) A person convicted of the offense of sexual battery against any child under the age of 16 years shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.

(e) Upon a second or subsequent conviction under subsection (b) of this Code section, a person shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned for not less than one nor more than five years and, in addition, shall be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Section 17-10-6.2.

16-6-22.2. Aggravated sexual battery

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) For the purposes of this Code section, the term “foreign object” means any article or instrument other than the sexual organ of a person.

(b) A person commits the offense of aggravated sexual battery when he or she intentionally penetrates with a foreign object the sexual organ or anus of another person without the consent of that person.

(c) A person convicted of the offense of aggravated sexual battery shall be punished by imprisonment for life or by a split sentence that is a term of imprisonment for not less than 25 years and not exceeding life imprisonment, followed by probation for life, and shall be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Sections 17-10-6.1 and 17-10-7.

Chapter 7. Damage to and Intrusion Upon Property

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

Article 2. Criminal Trespass and Damage to

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

Part 1. General Provisions

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

16-7-21. Criminal trespass

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) A person commits the offense of criminal trespass when he or she intentionally damages any property of another without consent of that other person and the damage thereto is $ 500.00 or less or knowingly and maliciously interferes with the possession or use of the property of another person without consent of that person.

(b) A person commits the offense of criminal trespass when he or she knowingly and without authority:

(1) Enters upon the land or premises of another person or into any part of any vehicle, railroad car, aircraft, or watercraft of another person for an unlawful purpose;

(2) Enters upon the land or premises of another person or into any part of any vehicle, railroad car, aircraft, or watercraft of another person after receiving, prior to such entry, notice from the owner, rightful occupant, or, upon proper identification, an authorized representative of the owner or rightful occupant that such entry is forbidden; or

(3) Remains upon the land or premises of another person or within the vehicle, railroad car, aircraft, or watercraft of another person after receiving notice from the owner, rightful occupant, or, upon proper identification, an authorized representative of the owner or rightful occupant to depart.

(c) For the purposes of subsection (b) of this Code section, permission to enter or invitation to enter given by a minor who is or is not present on or in the property of the minor’s parent or guardian is not sufficient to allow lawful entry of another person upon the land, premises, vehicle, railroad car, aircraft, or watercraft owned or rightfully occupied by such minor’s parent or guardian if such parent or guardian has previously given notice that such entry is forbidden or notice to depart.

(d) A person who commits the offense of criminal trespass shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(e) A person commits the offense of criminal trespass when he or she intentionally defaces, mutilates, or defiles any grave marker, monument, or memorial to one or more deceased persons who served in the military service of this state, the United States of America or any of the states thereof, or the Confederate States of America or any of the states thereof, or a monument, plaque, marker, or memorial which is dedicated to, honors, or recounts the military service of any past or present military personnel of this state, the United States of America or any of the states thereof, or the Confederate States of America or any of the states thereof if such grave marker, monument, memorial, plaque, or marker is privately owned or located on land which is privately owned.

Chapter 9. Forgery and Fraudulent Practices

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

Article 8. Identity Fraud

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

16-9-120. Definitions

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

As used in this article, the term:

(1) “Attorney General” means the Attorney General or his or her designee.

(2) “Business victim” means any individual or entity that provided money, credit, goods, services, or anything of value to someone other than the intended recipient where the intended recipient has not given permission for the actual recipient to receive it and the individual or entity that provided money, credit, goods, services, or anything of value has suffered financial loss as a direct result of the commission or attempted commission of a violation of this article.

(3) “Consumer victim” means any individual whose personal identifying information has been obtained, compromised, used, or recorded in any manner without the permission of that individual.

(4) “Health care records” means records however maintained and in whatever form regarding an individual’s health, including, but not limited to, doctors’ and nurses’ examinations and other notes, examination notes of other medical professionals, hospital records, rehabilitation facility records, nursing home records, assisted living facility records, results of medical tests, X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, vision examinations, pharmacy records, prescriptions, hospital charts, surgical records, mental health treatments and counseling, dental records, and physical therapy notes and evaluations.

(5) “Identifying information” shall include, but not be limited to:

(A) Current or former names;

(B) Social security numbers;

(C) Driver’s license numbers;

(D) Checking account numbers;

(E) Savings account numbers;

(F) Credit and other financial transaction card numbers;

(G) Debit card numbers;

(H) Personal identification numbers;

(I) Electronic identification numbers;

(J) Digital or electronic signatures;

(K) Medical identification numbers;

(L) Birth dates;

(M) Mother’s maiden name;

(N) Selected personal identification numbers;

(O) Tax identification numbers;

(P) State identification card numbers issued by state departments;

(Q) Veteran and military medical identification numbers; and

(R) Any other numbers or information which can be used to access a person’s or entity’s resources or health care records.

(6) “Resources” includes, but is not limited to:

(A) A person’s or entity’s credit, credit history, credit profile, and credit rating;

(B) United States currency, securities, real property, and personal property of any kind;

(C) Credit, charge, and debit accounts;

(D) Loans and lines of credit;

(E) Documents of title and other forms of commercial paper recognized under Title 11;

(F) Any account, including a safety deposit box, with a financial institution as defined by Code Section 7-1-4, including a national bank, federal savings and loan association, or federal credit union or a securities dealer licensed by the Secretary of State or the federal Securities and Exchange Commission;

(G) A person’s personal history, including, but not limited to, records of such person’s driving records; criminal, medical, or insurance history; education; or employment; and

(H) A person’s health insurance, health savings accounts, health spending accounts, flexible spending accounts, medicare accounts, Medicaid accounts, dental insurance, vision insurance, and other forms of health insurance and health benefit plans.

16-9-121. Elements of offense

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) A person commits the offense of identity fraud when he or she willfully and fraudulently:

(1) Without authorization or consent, uses or possesses with intent to fraudulently use identifying information concerning a person;

(2) Uses identifying information of an individual under 18 years old over whom he or she exercises custodial authority;

(3) Uses or possesses with intent to fraudulently use identifying information concerning a deceased individual;

(4) Creates, uses, or possesses with intent to fraudulently use any counterfeit or fictitious identifying information concerning a fictitious person with intent to use such counterfeit or fictitious identification information for the purpose of committing or facilitating the commission of a crime or fraud on another person; or

(5) Without authorization or consent, creates, uses, or possesses with intent to fraudulently use any counterfeit or fictitious identifying information concerning a real person with intent to use such counterfeit or fictitious identification information for the purpose of committing or facilitating the commission of a crime or fraud on another person.

(b) A person commits the offense of identity fraud by receipt of fraudulent identification information when he or she willingly accepts for identification purposes identifying information which he or she knows to be fraudulent, stolen, counterfeit, or fictitious. In any prosecution under this subsection it shall not be necessary to show a conviction of the principal thief, counterfeiter, or fraudulent user.

(c) The offenses created by this Code section shall not merge with any other offense.

(d) This Code section shall not apply to a person under the age of 21 who uses a fraudulent, counterfeit, or other false identification card for the purpose of obtaining entry into a business establishment or for purchasing items which he or she is not of legal age to purchase.

16-9-121.1. Offense of aggravated identity fraud

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) A person commits the offense of aggravated identity fraud when he or she willfully and fraudulently uses any counterfeit or fictitious identifying information concerning a real, fictitious, or deceased person with intent to use such counterfeit or fictitious identifying information for the purpose of obtaining employment.

(b) The offense created by this Code section shall not merge with any other offense.

Chapter 11. Offenses Against Public Order and Safety

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

Article 2. Offenses Against Public Order

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

16-11-37. Terroristic threats and acts

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) As used in this Code section, the term “hazardous substance” shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 12-8-92.

(b)(1) A person commits the offense of a terroristic threat when he or she threatens to :

(A) Commit any crime of violence;

(B) Release any hazardous substance; or

(C) Burn or damage property.

(2) Such terroristic threat shall be made:

(A) With the purpose of terrorizing another;

(B) With the purpose of causing the evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation;

(C) With the purpose of otherwise causing serious public inconvenience; or

(D) In reckless disregard of the risk of causing the terror, evacuation, or inconvenience described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of this paragraph.

(3) No person shall be convicted under this subsection on the uncorroborated testimony of the party to whom the threat is communicated.

(c) A person commits the offense of a terroristic act when:

(1) He or she uses a burning or flaming cross or other burning or flaming symbol or flambeau with the intent to terrorize another or another’s household;

(2) While not in the commission of a lawful act, he or she shoots at or throws an object at a conveyance which is being operated or which is occupied by passengers; or

(3) He or she releases any hazardous substance or any simulated hazardous substance under the guise of a hazardous substance :

(A) For the purpose of terrorizing another;

(B) For the purpose of causing the evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation;

(C) For the purpose of otherwise causing serious public inconvenience; or

(D) In reckless disregard of the risk of causing the terror, evacuation, or inconvenience described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of this paragraph.

(d)(1) A person convicted of the offense of a terroristic threat shall be punished as a misdemeanor; provided, however, that if the threat suggested the death of the threatened individual, the person convicted shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000.00, imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years, or both.

(2) A person convicted of the offense of a terroristic act shall be punished by a fine of not more than $5,000.00, imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years, or both; provided, however, that if any person suffers a serious physical injury as a direct result of an act giving rise to a conviction under subsection (b) of this Code section, the person so convicted shall be punished by a fine of not more than $250,000.00, imprisonment for not less than five nor more than 40 years, or both.

(e) A person who commits or attempts to commit a violation of subsection (b) or (c) of this Code section shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of not less than $50,000.00, imprisonment for not less than five nor more than 20 years, or both, when such act is done with the intent to retaliate against any person for or intimidate or threaten any person from:

(1) Attending a judicial or administrative proceeding as a witness, attorney, judge, clerk of court, deputy clerk of court, court reporter, community supervision officer, county or Department of Juvenile Justice juvenile probation officer, probation officer serving pursuant to Article 6 of Chapter 8 of Title 42, or party or producing any record, document, or other object in a judicial or official proceeding; or

(2) Providing to a law enforcement officer, community supervision officer, county or Department of Juvenile Justice juvenile probation officer, probation officer serving pursuant to Article 6 of Chapter 8 of Title 42, prosecuting attorney, or judge any information relating to the commission or possible commission of an offense under the laws of this state or of the United States or a violation of conditions of bail, pretrial release, probation, or parole.

16-11-39.1. Harassing communications

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) A person commits the offense of harassing communications if such person :

(1) Contacts another person repeatedly via telecommunication, e-mail, text messaging, or any other form of electronic communication for the purpose of harassing, molesting, threatening, or intimidating such person or the family of such person;

(2) Threatens bodily harm via telecommunication, e-mail, text messaging, or any other form of electronic communication;

(3) Telephones another person and intentionally fails to hang up or disengage the connection; or

(4) Knowingly permits any device used for telecommunication, e-mail, text messaging, or any other form of electronic communication under such person’s control to be used for any purpose prohibited by this subsection.

(b) Any person who commits the offense of harassing communications shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(c) The offense of harassing communications shall be considered to have been committed in the county where:

(1) The defendant was located when he or she placed the telephone call or transmitted, sent, or posted an electronic communication; or

(2) The telephone call or electronic communication was received.

(d) Any violation of this Code section shall constitute a separate offense and shall not merge with any other crimes set forth in this title.

(e) This Code section shall not apply to constitutionally protected speech.

16-11-40.1. Identification of minor as the individual in an obscene depiction

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) As used in this Code section, the term:

(1) “Minor” means an individual who is under the age of 18 years.

(2) “Nudity” shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 16-11-90.

(3) “Obscene depiction” means a visual depiction of an individual displaying nudity or sexually explicit conduct.

(4) “Sexually explicit conduct” shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 16-12-100.

(b) No person shall intentionally cause a minor to be identified as the individual in an obscene depiction in such a manner that a reasonable person would conclude that the image depicted was that of such minor. Such identification shall include, without limitation, the minor’s name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, username, or other electronic identification. Such identification shall also include the electronic imposing of the facial image of a minor onto an obscene depiction.

(c) Any person convicted of violating this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor; provided, however, that upon a second or subsequent violation of this Code section, he or she shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment of not less than one nor more than five years, a fine of not more than $100,000.00, or both.

(d) A person shall be subject to prosecution in this state pursuant to Code Section 17-2-1 for any conduct made unlawful by this Code section in which such person engages while:

(1) Either within or outside of this state if, by such conduct, the person commits a violation of this Code section which involves an individual who resides in this state; or

(2) Within this state if, by such conduct, the person commits a violation of this Code section which involves an individual who resides within or outside this state.

(e) The provisions of subsection (b) of this Code section shall not apply to:

(1) The activities of law enforcement and prosecution agencies in the investigation and prosecution of criminal offenses; or

(2) An image and identification made pursuant to or in anticipation of a civil action.

(f) Any violation of this Code section shall constitute a separate offense and shall not merge with any other crimes set forth in this title.

Article 3. Invasions of Privacy

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

Part 1. Wiretapping, Eavesdropping, Surveillance, and Related Offenses

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

16-11-60. Definitions

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

As used within this part, the term:

(1) “Device” means an instrument or apparatus used for overhearing, recording, intercepting, or transmitting sounds or for observing, photographing, videotaping, recording, or transmitting visual images and which involves in its operation electricity, electronics, or infrared, laser, or similar beams. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the term “device” shall specifically include any camera, photographic equipment, video equipment, or other similar equipment or any electronic, mechanical, or other apparatus which can be used to intercept a wire, oral, or electronic communication other than:

(A) Any telephone or telegraph instrument, equipment, or facility or any component thereof:

(i) Furnished to the subscriber or user by a provider of wire or electronic communication service in the ordinary course of its business and being used by the subscriber or user in the ordinary course of its business or furnished by such subscriber or user for connection to the facilities of such service and used in the ordinary course of its business; or

(ii) Being used by a provider of wire or electronic communication service in the ordinary course of its business or by an investigative or law enforcement officer in the ordinary course of his or her duties; or

(B) A hearing aid or similar device being used to correct subnormal hearing to not better than normal;

(C) Focusing, lighting, or illuminating equipment, optical magnifying equipment; and

(D) A “pen register” or “trap and trace device” as defined in this Code section.

(2) “Pen register” means a device or process which records or decodes dialing, routing, addressing, or signaling information transmitted by an instrument or facility from which a wire or electronic communication is transmitted; provided, however, that such information shall not include the contents of any communication; but such term does not include any device or process used by a provider or customer of a wire or electronic communication service for billing, or recording as an incident to billing, for communications services provided by such provider or any device or process used by a provider or customer of a wire communication service for cost accounting or other like purposes in the ordinary course its business.

(3) “Private place” means a place where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.

(4) “Trap and trace device” means a device or process which captures the incoming electronic or other impulses which identify the originating number or other dialing, routing, addressing, and signaling information reasonably likely to identify the source of a wire or electronic communication; provided, however, that such information shall not include the contents of any communication.

16-11-61. “Peeping Tom”

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to be a “peeping Tom” on or about the premises of another or to go about or upon the premises of another for the purpose of becoming a “peeping Tom.”

(b) As used in this Code section, the term “peeping Tom” means a person who peeps through windows or doors, or other like places, on or about the premises of another for the purpose of spying upon or invading the privacy of the persons spied upon and the doing of any other acts of a similar nature which invade the privacy of such persons.

16-11-62. Unlawful eavesdropping or surveillance

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

It shall be unlawful for:

(1) Any person in a clandestine manner intentionally to overhear, transmit, or record or attempt to overhear, transmit, or record the private conversation of another which shall originate in any private place;

(2) Any person, through the use of any device, without the consent of all persons observed, to observe, photograph, or record the activities of another which occur in any private place and out of public view; provided, however, that it shall not be unlawful:

(A) To use any device to observe, photograph, or record the activities of persons incarcerated in any jail, correctional institution, or other facility in which persons who are charged with or who have been convicted of the commission of a crime are incarcerated, provided that such equipment shall not be used while the prisoner is discussing his or her case with his or her attorney;

(B) For an owner or occupier of real property to use for security purposes, crime prevention, or crime detection any device to observe, photograph, or record the activities of persons who are on the property or an approach thereto in areas where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy;

(C) To use for security purposes, crime prevention, or crime detection any device to observe, photograph, or record the activities of persons who are within the curtilage of the residence of the person using such device. A photograph, videotape, or record made in accordance with this subparagraph, or a copy thereof, may be disclosed by such resident to the district attorney or a law enforcement officer and shall be admissible in a judicial proceeding, without the consent of any person observed, photographed, or recorded; or

(D) For a law enforcement officer or his or her agent to use a device in the lawful performance of his or her official duties to observe, photograph, videotape, or record the activities of persons that occur in the presence of such officer or his or her agent;

(3) Any person to go on or about the premises of another or any private place, except as otherwise provided by law, for the purpose of invading the privacy of others by eavesdropping upon their conversations or secretly observing their activities;

(4) Any person intentionally and secretly to intercept by the use of any device, instrument, or apparatus the contents of a message sent by telephone, telegraph, letter, or by any other means of private communication;

(5) Any person to divulge to any unauthorized person or authority the content or substance of any private message intercepted lawfully in the manner provided for in Code Section 16-11-65;

(6) Any person to sell, give, or distribute, without legal authority, to any person or entity any photograph, videotape, or record, or copies thereof, of the activities of another which occur in any private place and out of public view without the consent of all persons observed; or

(7) Any person to commit any other acts of a nature similar to those set out in paragraphs (1) through (6) of this Code section which invade the privacy of another.

16-11-66. Consent; telephonic conversations to which child under age of 18 years is a party

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) Nothing in Code Section 16-11-62 shall prohibit a person from intercepting a wire, oral, or electronic communication where such person is a party to the communication or one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to such interception.

(b) After obtaining the consent required by this subsection, the telephonic conversations or electronic communications to which a child under the age of 18 years is a party may be recorded and divulged, and such recording and dissemination may be done by a private citizen, law enforcement agency, or prosecutor’s office. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to require that the recording device be activated by the child. Consent for the recording or divulging of the conversations of a child under the age of 18 years conducted by telephone or electronic communication shall be given only by order of a judge of a superior court upon written application, as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, or by a parent or guardian of said child as provided in subsection (d) of this Code section. Said recording shall not be used in any prosecution of the child in any delinquency or criminal proceeding. An application to a judge of the superior court made pursuant to this Code section need not comply with the procedures set out in Code Section 16-11-64.

(c) A judge to whom a written application has been made shall issue the order provided by subsection (b) of this Code section only:

(1) Upon finding probable cause that a crime has been committed;

(2) Upon finding that the child understands that the conversation is to be recorded and that such child agrees to participate; and

(3) Upon determining that participation is not harmful to such child.

A true and correct copy of the recording provided for in subsection (b) of this Code section shall be returned to the superior court judge who issued the order and such copy of the recording shall be kept under seal until further order of the court.

(d) The provisions of this article shall not be construed to prohibit a parent or guardian of a child under 18 years of age, with or without the consent of such minor child, from monitoring or intercepting telephonic conversations of such minor child with another person by use of an extension phone located within the family home, or electronic or other communications of such minor child from within the family home, for the purpose of ensuring the welfare of such minor child. If the parent or guardian has a reasonable or good faith belief that such conversation or communication is evidence of criminal conduct involving such child as a victim or an attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to involve such child in criminal activity affecting the welfare or best interest of such child, the parent or guardian may disclose the content of such telephonic conversation or electronic communication to the district attorney or a law enforcement officer. A recording or other record of any such conversation or communication made by a parent or guardian in accordance with this subsection that contains evidence of criminal conduct involving such child as a victim or an attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to involve such child in criminal activity shall be admissible in a judicial proceeding except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) of this Code section.

Part 3. Invasion of Privacy

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

16-11-90. Transmission of photography or video depicting nudity or sexually explicit conduct of an adult

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) As used in this Code section, the term:

(1) “Harassment” means engaging in conduct directed at a depicted person that is intended to cause substantial emotional harm to the depicted person.

(2) “Nudity” means:

(A) The showing of the human male or female genitals, pubic area, or buttocks without any covering or with less than a full opaque covering;

(B) The showing of the female breasts without any covering or with less than a full opaque covering; or

(C) The depiction of covered male genitals in a discernibly turgid state.

(3) “Sexually explicit conduct” shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 16-12-100.

(b) A person violates this Code section if he or she, knowing the content of a transmission or post, knowingly and without the consent of the depicted person:

(1) Electronically transmits or posts, in one or more transmissions or posts, a photograph or video which depicts nudity or sexually explicit conduct of an adult when the transmission or post is harassment or causes financial loss to the depicted person and serves no legitimate purpose to the depicted person; or

(2) Causes the electronic transmission or posting, in one or more transmissions or posts, of a photograph or video which depicts nudity or sexually explicit conduct of an adult when the transmission or post is harassment or causes financial loss to the depicted person and serves no legitimate purpose to the depicted person.

(c) Any person who violates this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature; provided, however, that upon a second or subsequent violation of this Code section, he or she shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment of not less than one nor more than five years, a fine of not more than $100,000.00, or both.

(d) A person shall be subject to prosecution in this state pursuant to Code Section 17-2-1 for any conduct made unlawful by this Code section which the person engages in while:

(1) Either within or outside of this state if, by such conduct, the person commits a violation of this Code section which involves an individual who resides in this state; or

(2) Within this state if, by such conduct, the person commits a violation of this Code section which involves an individual who resides within or outside this state.

(e) The provisions of subsection (b) of this Code section shall not apply to:

(1) The activities of law enforcement and prosecution agencies in the investigation and prosecution of criminal offenses;

(2) Legitimate medical, scientific, or educational activities;

(3) Any person who transmits or posts a photograph or video depicting only himself or herself engaged in nudity or sexually explicit conduct;

(4) The transmission or posting of a photograph or video that was originally made for commercial purposes;

(5) Any person who transmits or posts a photograph or video depicting a person voluntarily engaged in nudity or sexually explicit conduct in a public setting; or

(6) A transmission that is made pursuant to or in anticipation of a civil action.

(f) There shall be a rebuttable presumption that an information service, system, or access software provider that provides or enables computer access by multiple users to a computer server, including specifically a service or system that provides access to the Internet, for content provided by another person, does not know the content of an electronic transmission or post.

(g) Any violation of this Code section shall constitute a separate offense and shall not merge with any other crimes set forth in this title.

Article 4. Dangerous Instrumentalities and Practices

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

Part 3. Carrying and Possession of Firearms

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

16-11-127. Carrying a weapon in unauthorized locations

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) As used in this Code section, the term:

(1) “Courthouse” means a building occupied by judicial courts and containing rooms in which judicial proceedings are held.

(2) “Government building” means:

(A) The building in which a government entity is housed;

(B) The building where a government entity meets in its official capacity; provided, however, that if such building is not a publicly owned building, such building shall be considered a government building for the purposes of this Code section only during the time such government entity is meeting at such building; or

(C) The portion of any building that is not a publicly owned building that is occupied by a government entity.

(3) “Government entity” means an office, agency, authority, department, commission, board, body, division, instrumentality, or institution of the state or any county, municipal corporation, consolidated government, or local board of education within this state.

(4) “Parking facility” means real property owned or leased by a government entity, courthouse, jail, prison, or place of worship that has been designated by such government entity, courthouse, jail, prison, or place of worship for the parking of motor vehicles at a government building or at such courthouse, jail, prison, or place of worship.

(b) Except as provided in Code Section 16-11-127.1 and subsection (d) or (e) of this Code section, a person shall be guilty of carrying a weapon or long gun in an unauthorized location and punished as for a misdemeanor when he or she carries a weapon or long gun while:

(1) In a government building as a nonlicense holder;

(2) In a courthouse;

(3) In a jail or prison;

(4) In a place of worship, unless the governing body or authority of the place of worship permits the carrying of weapons or long guns by license holders;

(5) In a state mental health facility as defined in Code Section 37-1-1 which admits individuals on an involuntary basis for treatment of mental illness, developmental disability, or addictive disease; provided, however, that carrying a weapon or long gun in such location in a manner in compliance with paragraph (3) of subsection (d) of this Code section shall not constitute a violation of this subsection;

(6) On the premises of a nuclear power facility, except as provided in Code Section 16-11-127.2, and the punishment provisions of Code Section 16-11-127.2 shall supersede the punishment provisions of this Code section; or

(7) Within 150 feet of any polling place when elections are being conducted and such polling place is being used as a polling place as provided for in paragraph (27) of Code Section 21-2-2, except as provided in subsection (i) of Code Section 21-2-413.

(c) A license holder or person recognized under subsection (e) of Code Section 16-11-126 shall be authorized to carry a weapon as provided in Code Section 16-11-135 and in every location in this state not listed in subsection (b) or prohibited by subsection (e) of this Code section; provided, however, that private property owners or persons in legal control of private property through a lease, rental agreement, licensing agreement, contract, or any other agreement to control access to such private property shall have the right to exclude or eject a person who is in possession of a weapon or long gun on their private property in accordance with paragraph (3) of subsection (b) of Code Section 16-7-21, except as provided in Code Section 16-11-135. A violation of subsection (b) of this Code section shall not create or give rise to a civil action for damages.

(d) Subsection (b) of this Code section shall not apply:

(1) To the use of weapons or long guns as exhibits in a legal proceeding, provided such weapons or long guns are secured and handled as directed by the personnel providing courtroom security or the judge hearing the case;

(2) To a license holder who approaches security or management personnel upon arrival at a location described in subsection (b) of this Code section and notifies such security or management personnel of the presence of the weapon or long gun and explicitly follows the security or management personnel’s direction for removing, securing, storing, or temporarily surrendering such weapon or long gun; and

(3) To a weapon or long gun possessed by a license holder which is under the possessor’s control in a motor vehicle or is in a locked compartment of a motor vehicle or one which is in a locked container in or a locked firearms rack which is on a motor vehicle and such vehicle is parked in a parking facility.

(e)(1) A license holder shall be authorized to carry a weapon in a government building when the government building is open for business and where ingress into such building is not restricted or screened by security personnel. A license holder who enters or attempts to enter a government building carrying a weapon where ingress is restricted or screened by security personnel shall be guilty of a misdemeanor if at least one member of such security personnel is certified as a peace officer pursuant to Chapter 8 of Title 35; provided, however, that a license holder who immediately exits such building or immediately leaves such location upon notification of his or her failure to clear security due to the carrying of a weapon shall not be guilty of violating this subsection or paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of this Code section. A person who is not a license holder and who attempts to enter a government building carrying a weapon shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(2) Any license holder who violates subsection (b) of this Code section in a place of worship shall not be arrested but shall be fined not more than $100.00. Any person who is not a license holder who violates subsection (b) of this Code section in a place of worship shall be punished as for a misdemeanor.

(f) Nothing in this Code section shall in any way operate or be construed to affect, repeal, or limit the exemptions provided for under Code Section 16-11-130.

16-11-126. Possessing or carrying a handgun or long gun

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry on his or her person a weapon or long gun on his or her property or inside his or her home, motor vehicle, or place of business without a valid weapons carry license.

(b) Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry on his or her person a long gun without a valid weapons carry license, provided that if the long gun is loaded, it shall only be carried in an open and fully exposed manner.

(c) Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry any handgun provided that it is enclosed in a case and unloaded.

(d) Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun who is eligible for a weapons carry license may transport a handgun or long gun in any private passenger motor vehicle; provided, however, that private property owners or persons in legal control of private property through a lease, rental agreement, licensing agreement, contract, or any other agreement to control access to such private property shall have the right to exclude or eject a person who is in possession of a weapon or long gun on their private property in accordance with paragraph (3) of subsection (b) of Code Section 16-7-21, except as provided in Code Section 16-11-135.

(e)(1)(A) Any person licensed to carry a weapon in any other state whose laws recognize and give effect to a license issued pursuant to this part shall be authorized to carry a weapon in this state, but only while the licensee is not a resident of this state; provided, however, that:

(i) Such licensee licensed to carry a weapon in any other state shall carry the weapon in compliance with the laws of this state; and

(ii) No other state shall be required to recognize and give effect to a license issued pursuant to this part that is held by a person who is younger than 21 years of age.

(B) The Attorney General shall create and maintain on the Department of Law’s website a list of states whose laws recognize and give effect to a license issued pursuant to this part.

(2) Any person who is not a weapons carry license holder in this state and who is licensed to carry a weapon in any other state whose laws recognize and give effect to a license issued pursuant to this part shall be authorized to carry a weapon in this state for 90 days after he or she becomes a resident of this state; provided, however, that such person shall carry the weapon in compliance with the laws of this state, shall as soon as practicable submit a weapons carry license application as provided for under Code Section 16-11-129, and shall remain licensed in such other state for the duration of time that he or she is a resident of this state but not a weapons carry license holder in this state.

(f)(1) Any person with a valid hunting or fishing license on his or her person, or any person not required by law to have a hunting or fishing license, who is engaged in legal hunting, fishing, or sport shooting when the person has the permission of the owner of the land on which the activities are being conducted may have or carry on his or her person a weapon or long gun without a valid weapons carry license while hunting, fishing, or engaging in sport shooting.

(2) Any person with a valid hunting or fishing license on his or her person, or any person not required by law to have a hunting or fishing license, who is otherwise engaged in legal hunting, fishing, or sport shooting on recreational or wildlife management areas owned by this state may have or carry on his or her person a knife without a valid weapons carry license while engaging in such hunting, fishing, or sport shooting.

(g) Notwithstanding Code Sections 12-3-10, 27-3-1.1, 27-3-6, and 16-12-122 through 16-12-127, any person with a valid weapons carry license may carry a weapon in all parks, historic sites, or recreational areas, as such term is defined in Code Section 12-3-10, including all publicly owned buildings located in such parks, historic sites, and recreational areas, in wildlife management areas, and on public transportation; provided, however, that a person shall not carry a handgun into a place where it is prohibited by federal law.

(h)(1) No person shall carry a weapon without a valid weapons carry license unless he or she meets one of the exceptions to having such license as provided in subsections (a) through (g) of this Code section.

(2) A person commits the offense of carrying a weapon without a license when he or she violates the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(i) Upon conviction of the offense of carrying a weapon without a valid weapons carry license, a person shall be punished as follows:

(1) For the first offense, he or she shall be guilty of a misdemeanor; and

(2) For the second offense within five years, as measured from the dates of previous arrests for which convictions were obtained to the date of the current arrest for which a conviction is obtained, and for any subsequent offense, he or she shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned for not less than two years and not more than five years.

(j) Nothing in this Code section shall in any way operate or be construed to affect, repeal, or limit the exemptions provided for under Code Section 16-11-130.

16-11-129. License to weapons carry

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) Application for weapons carry license or renewal license; term.

(1) The judge of the probate court of each county shall, on application under oath, on payment of a fee of $30.00, and on investigation of the applicant pursuant to subsections (b) and (d) of this Code section, issue a weapons carry license or renewal license valid for a period of five years to any person whose domicile is in that county or who is on active duty with the United States armed forces and who is not a domiciliary of this state but who either resides in that county or on a military reservation located in whole or in part in that county at the time of such application. Such license or renewal license shall authorize that person to carry any weapon in any county of this state notwithstanding any change in that person’s county of residence or state of domicile.

(2)(A) As used in this paragraph, the term “service member” means an active duty member of the regular or reserve component of the United States Army, United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, United States Coast Guard, United States Air Force, United States National Guard, Georgia Army National Guard, or Georgia Air National Guard.

(B) Any service member whose weapons carry license or renewal license expired while such service member was serving on active duty outside this state shall be authorized to carry any weapon in accordance with such expired license for a period of six months from the date of his or her discharge from active duty or reassignment to a location within this state. When carrying a weapon pursuant to Code Section 16-11-137, the service member shall also have in his or her immediate possession a copy of the official military orders or a written verification signed by such service member’s commanding officer which shall evidence that such service member is authorized to carry any weapon in accordance with such expired license for a period of six months from the date of his or her discharge from active duty or reassignment to a location within this state.

(3)(A) Applicants shall submit the application for a weapons carry license or renewal license to the judge of the probate court on forms prescribed and furnished free of charge to persons wishing to apply for the license or renewal license.

(B)(i) An application shall be considered to be for a renewal license if the applicant has a weapons carry license or renewal license with 90 or fewer days remaining before the expiration of such weapons carry license or renewal license or 30 or fewer days since the expiration of such weapons carry license or renewal license regardless of the county of issuance of the applicant’s expired or expiring weapons carry license or renewal license.

(ii) An application of any service member whose weapons carry license or renewal license expired while such service member was serving on active duty outside this state shall be considered to be for a renewal license if such service member applies within six months from the date of his or her discharge from active duty or reassignment to a location within this state as provided for in a copy of such service member’s official military orders or a written verification signed by such service member’s commanding officer as provided by the service member.

(iii) An applicant who is not a United States citizen shall provide sufficient personal identifying data, including without limitation his or her place of birth and United States issued alien or admission number, as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation may prescribe by rule or regulation. An applicant who is in nonimmigrant status shall provide proof of his or her qualifications for an exception to the federal firearm prohibition pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 922(y). Forms shall be designed to elicit information from the applicant pertinent to his or her eligibility under this Code section, including citizenship, but shall not require data which is nonpertinent or irrelevant, such as serial numbers or other identification capable of being used as a de facto registration of firearms owned by the applicant. The Department of Public Safety shall furnish application forms and license forms required by this Code section. The forms shall be furnished to each judge of each probate court within this state at no cost.

(a.1) Gun safety information.

(1) Upon receipt of an application for a weapons carry license or renewal license, the judge of the probate court may provide applicants printed information on gun safety that is produced by any person or organization that, in the discretion of the judge of the probate court, offers practical advice for gun safety. The source of such printed information shall be prominently displayed on such printed information.

(2) The Department of Natural Resources shall maintain on its principal, public website information, or a hyperlink to information, which provides resources for information on hunter education and classes and courses in this state that render instruction in gun safety. No person shall be required to take such classes or courses for purposes of this Code section where such information shall be provided solely for the convenience of the citizens of this state.

(3) Neither the judge of the probate court nor the Department of Natural Resources shall be liable to any person for personal injuries or damage to property arising from conformance to this subsection.

(b) Licensing exceptions.

(1) As used in this subsection, the term:

(A) “Armed forces” means active duty or a reserve component of the United States Army, United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, United States Coast Guard, United States Air Force, United States National Guard, Georgia Army National Guard, or Georgia Air National Guard.

(B) “Controlled substance” means any drug, substance, or immediate precursor included in the definition of controlled substances in paragraph (4) of Code Section 16-13-21.

(C) “Convicted” means an adjudication of guilt. Such term shall not include an order of discharge and exoneration pursuant to Article 3 of Chapter 8 of Title 42.

(D) “Dangerous drug” means any drug defined as such in Code Section 16-13-71.

(2) No weapons carry license shall be issued to:

(A) Any person younger than 21 years of age unless he or she:

(i) Is at least 18 years of age;

(ii) Provides proof that he or she has completed basic training in the armed forces of the United States; and

(iii) Provides proof that he or she is actively serving in the armed forces of the United States or has been honorably discharged from such service;

(B) Any person who has been convicted of a felony by a court of this state or any other state; by a court of the United States, including its territories, possessions, and dominions; or by a court of any foreign nation and has not been pardoned for such felony by the President of the United States, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles, or the person or agency empowered to grant pardons under the constitution or laws of such state or nation;

(C) Any person against whom proceedings are pending for any felony;

(D) Any person who is a fugitive from justice;

(E) Any person who is prohibited from possessing or shipping a firearm in interstate commerce pursuant to subsections (g) and (n) of 18 U.S.C. Section 922;

(F) Any person who has been convicted of an offense arising out of the unlawful manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance or other dangerous drug;

(G) Any person who has had his or her weapons carry license revoked pursuant to subsection (e) of this Code section within three years of the date of his or her application;

(H) Any person who has been convicted of any of the following:

(i) Carrying a weapon without a weapons carry license in violation of Code Section 16-11-126; or

(ii) Carrying a weapon or long gun in an unauthorized location in violation of Code Section 16-11-127

and has not been free of all restraint or supervision in connection therewith and free of any other conviction for at least five years immediately preceding the date of the application;

(I) Any person who has been convicted of any misdemeanor involving the use or possession of a controlled substance and has not been free of all restraint or supervision in connection therewith or free of:

(i) A second conviction of any misdemeanor involving the use or possession of a controlled substance; or

(ii) Any conviction under subparagraphs (E) through (G) of this paragraph

for at least five years immediately preceding the date of the application;

(J) Except as provided for in subsection (b.1) of this Code section, any person who has been hospitalized as an inpatient in any mental hospital or alcohol or drug treatment center within the five years immediately preceding the application. The judge of the probate court may require any applicant to sign a waiver authorizing any mental hospital or treatment center to inform the judge whether or not the applicant has been an inpatient in any such facility in the last five years and authorizing the superintendent of such facility to make to the judge a recommendation regarding whether the applicant is a threat to the safety of others and whether a license to carry a weapon should be issued. When such a waiver is required by the judge, the applicant shall pay a fee of $3.00 for reimbursement of the cost of making such a report by the mental health hospital, alcohol or drug treatment center, or the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, which the judge shall remit to the hospital, center, or department. The judge shall keep any such hospitalization or treatment information confidential. It shall be at the discretion of the judge, considering the circumstances surrounding the hospitalization and the recommendation of the superintendent of the hospital or treatment center where the individual was a patient, to issue the weapons carry license or renewal license;

(K) Except as provided for in subsection (b.1) of this Code section, any person who has been adjudicated mentally incompetent to stand trial; or

(L) Except as provided for in subsection (b.1) of this Code section, any person who has been adjudicated not guilty by reason of insanity at the time of the crime pursuant to Part 2 of Article 6 of Chapter 7 of Title 17.

(b.1) Petitions for relief from certain licensing exceptions.

(1) Persons provided for under subparagraphs (b)(2)(J), (b)(2)(K), and (b)(2)(L) of this Code section may petition the court in which such adjudication, hospitalization, or treatment proceedings, if any, under Chapter 3 or 7 of Title 37 occurred for relief. A copy of such petition for relief shall be served as notice upon the opposing civil party or the prosecuting attorney for the state, as the case may be, or their successors, who appeared in the underlying case. Within 30 days of the receipt of such petition, such court shall hold a hearing on such petition for relief. Such prosecuting attorney for the state may represent the interests of the state at such hearing.

(2) At the hearing provided for under paragraph (1) of this subsection, the court shall receive and consider evidence in a closed proceeding concerning:

(A) The circumstances which caused the person to be subject to subparagraph (b)(2)(J), (b)(2)(K), or (b)(2)(L) of this Code section;

(B) The person’s mental health and criminal history records, if any. The judge of such court may require any such person to sign a waiver authorizing the superintendent of any mental hospital or treatment center to make to the judge a recommendation regarding whether such person is a threat to the safety of others. When such a waiver is required by the judge, the applicant shall pay a fee of $3.00 for reimbursement of the cost of making such a report by the mental health hospital, alcohol or drug treatment center, or the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, which the judge shall remit to the hospital, center, or department;

(C) The person’s reputation which shall be established through character witness statements, testimony, or other character evidence; and

(D) Changes in the person’s condition or circumstances since such adjudication, hospitalization, or treatment proceedings under Chapter 3 or 7 of Title 37.

The judge shall issue an order of his or her decision no later than 30 days after the hearing.

(3) The court shall grant the petition for relief if such court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the person will not likely act in a manner dangerous to public safety in carrying a weapon and that granting the relief will not be contrary to the public interest. A record shall be kept of the hearing; provided, however, that such records shall remain confidential and be disclosed only to a court or to the parties in the event of an appeal. Any appeal of the court’s ruling on the petition for relief shall be de novo review.

(4) If the court grants such person’s petition for relief, the applicable subparagraph (b)(2)(J), (b)(2)(K), or (b)(2)(L) of this Code section shall not apply to such person in his or her application for a weapons carry license or renewal; provided, however, that such person shall comply with all other requirements for the issuance of a weapons carry license or renewal license. The clerk of such court shall report such order to the Georgia Crime Information Center immediately, but in no case later than ten business days after the date of such order.

(5) A person may petition for relief under this subsection not more than once every two years. In the case of a person who has been hospitalized as an inpatient, such person shall not petition for relief prior to being discharged from such treatment.

(c) Fingerprinting. Following completion of the application for a weapons carry license, the judge of the probate court shall require the applicant to proceed to an appropriate law enforcement agency in the county or to any vendor approved by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for fingerprint submission services with the completed application so that such agency or vendor can capture the fingerprints of the applicant. The law enforcement agency shall be entitled to a fee of $5.00 from the applicant for its services in connection with fingerprinting and processing of an application. Fingerprinting shall not be required for applicants seeking temporary renewal licenses or renewal licenses.

(d) Investigation of applicant; issuance of weapons carry license; renewal.

(1)(A) For weapons carry license applications, the judge of the probate court shall within five business days following the receipt of the application or request direct the law enforcement agency to request a fingerprint based criminal history records check from the Georgia Crime Information Center and Federal Bureau of Investigation for purposes of determining the suitability of the applicant and return an appropriate report to the judge of the probate court. Fingerprints shall be in such form and of such quality as prescribed by the Georgia Crime Information Center and under standards adopted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation may charge such fee as is necessary to cover the cost of the records search.

(B) For requests for license renewals, the presentation of a weapons carry license issued by any probate judge in this state shall be evidence to the judge of the probate court to whom a request for license renewal is made that the fingerprints of the weapons carry license holder are on file with the judge of the probate court who issued the weapons carry license, and the judge of the probate court to whom a request for license renewal is made shall, within five business days following the receipt of the request, direct the law enforcement agency to request a nonfingerprint based criminal history records check from the Georgia Crime Information Center and Federal Bureau of Investigation for purposes of determining the suitability of the applicant and return an appropriate report to the judge of the probate court to whom a request for license renewal is made.

(2) For both weapons carry license applications and requests for license renewals, the judge of the probate court shall within five business days following the receipt of the application or request also direct the law enforcement agency, in the same manner as provided for in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) of this subsection, to conduct a background check using the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System and return an appropriate report to the probate judge.

(3) When a person who is not a United States citizen applies for a weapons carry license or renewal of a license under this Code section, the judge of the probate court shall direct the law enforcement agency to conduct a search of the records maintained by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement and return an appropriate report to the probate judge. As a condition to the issuance of a license or the renewal of a license, an applicant who is in nonimmigrant status shall provide proof of his or her qualifications for an exception to the federal firearm prohibition pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 922(y).

(4) The law enforcement agency shall report to the judge of the probate court within 20 days, by telephone and in writing, of any findings relating to the applicant which may bear on his or her eligibility for a weapons carry license or renewal license under the terms of this Code section. When no derogatory information is found on the applicant bearing on his or her eligibility to obtain a license or renewal license, a report shall not be required. The law enforcement agency shall return the application directly to the judge of the probate court within such time period. Not later than ten days after the judge of the probate court receives the report from the law enforcement agency concerning the suitability of the applicant for a license, the judge of the probate court shall issue such applicant a license or renewal license to carry any weapon unless facts establishing ineligibility have been reported or unless the judge determines such applicant has not met all the qualifications, is not of good moral character, or has failed to comply with any of the requirements contained in this Code section. The judge of the probate court shall date stamp the report from the law enforcement agency to show the date on which the report was received by the judge of the probate court. The judge of the probate court shall not suspend the processing of the application or extend, delay, or avoid any time requirements provided for under this paragraph.

(e) Revocation, loss, or damage to license.

(1) If, at any time during the period for which the weapons carry license was issued, the judge of the probate court of the county in which the license was issued shall learn or have brought to his or her attention in any manner any reasonable ground to believe the licensee is not eligible to retain the license, the judge may, after notice and hearing, revoke the license of the person upon a finding that such person is not eligible for a weapons carry license pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section or an adjudication of falsification of application, mental incompetency, or chronic alcohol or narcotic usage. The judge of the probate court shall report such revocation to the Georgia Crime Information Center immediately but in no case later than ten days after such revocation. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess a license which has been revoked pursuant to this paragraph, and any person found in possession of any such revoked license, except in the performance of his or her official duties, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(2) If a person is convicted of any crime or otherwise adjudicated in a matter which would make the maintenance of a weapons carry license by such person unlawful pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section, the judge of the superior court or state court hearing such case or presiding over such matter shall inquire whether such person is the holder of a weapons carry license. If such person is the holder of a weapons carry license, then the judge of the superior court or state court shall inquire of such person the county of the probate court which issued such weapons carry license, or if such person has ever had his or her weapons carry license renewed, then of the county of the probate court which most recently issued such person a renewal license. The judge of the superior court or state court shall notify the judge of the probate court of such county of the matter which makes the maintenance of a weapons carry license by such person to be unlawful pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section. The Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia and The Council of State Court Judges of Georgia shall provide by rule for the procedures which judges of the superior court and the judges of the state courts, respectively, are to follow for the purposes of this paragraph.

(3) Loss of any license issued in accordance with this Code section or damage to the license in any manner which shall render it illegible shall be reported to the judge of the probate court of the county in which it was issued within 48 hours of the time the loss or damage becomes known to the license holder. The judge of the probate court shall thereupon issue a replacement for and shall take custody of and destroy a damaged license; and in any case in which a license has been lost, he or she shall issue a cancellation order. The judge shall charge the fee specified in subsection (k) of Code Section 15-9-60 for such services.

(4) Any person, upon petition to the judge of the probate court, who has a weapons carry license or renewal license with more than 90 days remaining before the expiration of such weapons carry license or renewal license and who has had a legal name change, including, but not limited to, on account of marriage or divorce, or an address change shall be issued a replacement weapons carry license for the same time period of the weapons carry license or renewal license being replaced. Upon issuance and receipt of such replacement weapons carry license, the license holder shall surrender the weapons carry license being replaced to the judge of the probate court and such judge shall take custody of and destroy the weapons carry license being replaced. The judge of the probate court shall provide for the updating of any records as necessary to account for the license holder’s change of name or address. The judge of the probate court shall charge the fee specified in paragraph (13) of subsection (k) of Code Section 15-9-60 for services provided under this paragraph.

(f) Weapons carry license specifications.

(1) Weapons carry licenses issued prior to January 1, 2012, shall be in the format specified by the former provisions of this paragraph as they existed on June 30, 2013.

(2) On and after January 1, 2012, newly issued or renewal weapons carry licenses shall incorporate overt and covert security features which shall be blended with the personal data printed on the license to form a significant barrier to imitation, replication, and duplication. There shall be a minimum of three different ultraviolet colors used to enhance the security of the license incorporating variable data, color shifting characteristics, and front edge only perimeter visibility. The weapons carry license shall have a color photograph viewable under ambient light on both the front and back of the license. The license shall incorporate custom optical variable devices featuring the great seal of the State of Georgia as well as matching demetalized optical variable devices viewable under ambient light from the front and back of the license incorporating microtext and unique alphanumeric serialization specific to the license holder. The license shall be of similar material, size, and thickness of a credit card and have a holographic laminate to secure and protect the license for the duration of the license period.

(3) Using the physical characteristics of the license set forth in paragraph (2) of this subsection, The Council of Probate Court Judges of Georgia shall create specifications for the probate courts so that all weapons carry licenses in this state shall be uniform and so that probate courts can petition the Department of Administrative Services to purchase the equipment and supplies necessary for producing such licenses. The department shall follow the competitive bidding procedure set forth in Code Section 50-5-102.

(g) Alteration or counterfeiting of license; penalty. A person who deliberately alters or counterfeits a weapons carry license or who possesses an altered or counterfeit weapons carry license with the intent to misrepresent any information contained in such license shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for a period of not less than one nor more than five years.

(h) Licenses for former law enforcement officers.

(1) Except as otherwise provided in Code Section 16-11-130, any person who has served as a law enforcement officer for at least:

(A) Ten of the 12 years immediately preceding the retirement of such person as a law enforcement officer; or

(B) Ten years and left such employment as a result of a disability arising in the line of duty; and

retired or left such employment in good standing with a state or federal certifying agency and receives benefits under the Peace Officers’ Annuity and Benefit Fund provided for under Chapter 17 of Title 47 or from a county, municipal, State of Georgia, state authority, federal, private sector, individual, or educational institution retirement system or program shall be entitled to be issued a weapons carry license as provided for in this Code section without the payment of any of the fees provided for in this Code section.

(2) Such person as provided for in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall comply with all the other provisions of this Code section relative to the issuance of such licenses, including, but not limited to the requirements under paragraph (2) of subsection (b) of this Code section. Any person seeking to be issued a license pursuant to this subsection shall state his or her qualifications for eligibility under this subsection on his or her application under oath as provided for in subsection (a) of this Code section.

(3) As used in this subsection, the term “law enforcement officer” means any peace officer who is employed by the United States government or by the State of Georgia or any political subdivision thereof and who is required by the terms of his or her employment, whether by election or appointment, to give his or her full time to the preservation of public order or the protection of life and property or the prevention of crime. Such term shall include game wardens.

(i) Temporary renewal licenses.

(1) Any person who holds a weapons carry license under this Code section may, at the time he or she applies for a renewal of the license, also apply for a temporary renewal license if less than 90 days remain before expiration of the license he or she then holds or if the previous license has expired within the last 30 days.

(2) Unless the judge of the probate court knows or is made aware of any fact which would make the applicant ineligible for a five-year renewal license, the judge shall at the time of application issue a temporary renewal license to the applicant.

(3) Such a temporary renewal license shall be in the form of a paper receipt indicating the date on which the court received the renewal application and shall show the name, address, sex, age, and race of the applicant and that the temporary renewal license expires 90 days from the date of issue.

(4) During its period of validity the temporary renewal license, if carried on or about the holder’s person together with the holder’s previous license, shall be valid in the same manner and for the same purposes as a five-year license.

(5) A $1.00 fee shall be charged by the probate court for issuance of a temporary renewal license.

(6) A temporary renewal license may be revoked in the same manner as a five-year license.

(j) Applicant may seek relief. When an eligible applicant fails to receive a license, temporary renewal license, or renewal license within the time period required by this Code section and the application or request has been properly filed, the applicant may bring an action in mandamus or other legal proceeding in order to obtain a license, temporary renewal license, or renewal license.When an applicant is otherwise denied a license, temporary renewal license, or renewal license and contends that he or she is qualified to be issued a license, temporary renewal license, or renewal license, the applicant may bring an action in mandamus or other legal proceeding in order to obtain such license. Additionally, the applicant may request a hearing before the judge of the probate court relative to the applicant’s fitness to be issued such license. Upon the issuance of a denial, the judge of the probate court shall inform the applicant of his or her rights pursuant to this subsection. If such applicant is the prevailing party, he or she shall be entitled to recover his or her costs in such action, including reasonable attorney’s fees.

(k) Data base prohibition. A person or entity shall not create or maintain a multijurisdictional data base of information regarding persons issued weapons carry licenses.

(l) Verification of license. The judge of a probate court or his or her designee shall be authorized to verify the legitimacy and validity of a weapons carry license of a license holder pursuant to a subpoena or court order, for public safety purposes to law enforcement agencies pursuant to paragraph (40) of subsection (a) of Code Section 50-18-72, and for licensing to a judge of a probate court or his or her designee pursuant to paragraph (40) of subsection (a) of Code Section 50-18-72; provided, however, that the judge of a probate court or his or her designee shall not be authorized to provide any further information regarding license holders.

16-11-131. Convicted felons, possession of firearms prohibited

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) As used in this Code section, the term:

(1) “Felony” means any offense punishable by imprisonment for a term of one year or more and includes conviction by a court-martial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for an offense which would constitute a felony under the laws of the United States.

(2) “Firearm” includes any handgun, rifle, shotgun, or other weapon which will or can be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or electrical charge.

(b) Any person who is on probation as a felony first offender pursuant to Article 3 of Chapter 8 of Title 42, who is on probation and was sentenced for a felony under subsection (a) or (c) of Code Section 16-13-2, or who has been convicted of a felony by a court of this state or any other state; by a court of the United States including its territories, possessions, and dominions; or by a court of any foreign nation and who receives, possesses, or transports any firearm commits a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned for not less than one year nor more than ten years; provided, however, that upon a second or subsequent conviction, such person shall be imprisoned for not less than five nor more than ten years; provided, further, that if the felony for which the person is on probation or has been previously convicted is a forcible felony, then upon conviction of receiving, possessing, or transporting a firearm, such person shall be imprisoned for a period of five years.

(b.1) Any person who is prohibited by this Code section from possessing a firearm because of conviction of a forcible felony or because of being on probation as a first offender or under conditional discharge for a forcible felony and who attempts to purchase or obtain transfer of a firearm shall be guilty of a felony and upon conviction shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than five years; provided, however, that upon a second or subsequent conviction, such person shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than five nor more than ten years.

(c) This Code section shall not apply to any person who has been pardoned for the felony by the President of the United States, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles, or the person or agency empowered to grant pardons under the constitutions or laws of the several states or of a foreign nation and, by the terms of the pardon, has expressly been authorized to receive, possess, or transport a firearm.

(d) A person who has been convicted of a felony, but who has been granted relief from the disabilities imposed by the laws of the United States with respect to the acquisition, receipt, transfer, shipment, or possession of firearms by the secretary of the United States Department of the Treasury pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 925, shall, upon presenting to the Board of Public Safety proof that the relief has been granted and it being established from proof submitted by the applicant to the satisfaction of the Board of Public Safety that the circumstances regarding the conviction and the applicant’s record and reputation are such that the acquisition, receipt, transfer, shipment, or possession of firearms by the person would not present a threat to the safety of the citizens of Georgia and that the granting of the relief sought would not be contrary to the public interest, be granted relief from the disabilities imposed by this Code section. A person who has been convicted under federal or state law of a felony pertaining to antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, or restraint of trade shall, upon presenting to the Board of Public Safety proof, and it being established from said proof, submitted by the applicant to the satisfaction of the Board of Public Safety that the circumstances regarding the conviction and the applicant’s record and reputation are such that the acquisition, receipt, transfer, shipment, or possession of firearms by the person would not present a threat to the safety of the citizens of Georgia and that the granting of the relief sought would not be contrary to the public interest, be granted relief from the disabilities imposed by this Code section. A record that the relief has been granted by the board shall be entered upon the criminal history of the person maintained by the Georgia Crime Information Center and the board shall maintain a list of the names of such persons which shall be open for public inspection.

(e) As used in this Code section, the term “forcible felony” means any felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any person and further includes, without limitation, murder; murder in the second degree; burglary in any degree; robbery; armed robbery; home invasion in any degree; kidnapping; hijacking of an aircraft or hijacking a motor vehicle in the first degree; aggravated stalking; rape; aggravated child molestation; aggravated sexual battery; arson in the first degree; the manufacturing, transporting, distribution, or possession of explosives with intent to kill, injure, or intimidate individuals or destroy a public building; terroristic threats; or acts of treason or insurrection.

(f) Any person sentenced as a first offender pursuant to Article 3 of Chapter 8 of Title 42 or sentenced pursuant to subsection (a) or (c) of Code Section 16-13-2 and subsequently discharged without court adjudication of guilt as a matter of law pursuant to Code Section 42-8-60 or 16-13-2, as applicable, shall, upon such discharge, be relieved from the disabilities imposed by this Code section.

16-11-132. Possession of handgun by persons under 18

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) For the purposes of this Code section, a handgun is considered loaded if there is a cartridge in the chamber or cylinder of the handgun.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this part and except as otherwise provided in this Code section, it shall be unlawful for any person under the age of 18 years to possess or have under such person’s control a handgun. A person convicted of a first violation of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 or by imprisonment for not more than 12 months, or both. A person convicted of a second or subsequent violation of this subsection shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by a fine of $5,000.00 or by imprisonment for a period of three years, or both.

(c) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (d) of this Code section, the provisions of subsection (b) of this Code section shall not apply to:

(1) Any person under the age of 18 years who is:

(A) Attending a hunter education course or a firearms safety course;

(B) Engaging in practice in the use of a firearm or target shooting at an established range authorized by the governing body of the jurisdiction where such range is located;

(C) Engaging in an organized competition involving the use of a firearm or participating in or practicing for a performance by an organized group under 26 U.S.C. Section 501(c)(3) which uses firearms as a part of such performance;

(D) Hunting or fishing pursuant to a valid license if such person has in his or her possession such a valid hunting or fishing license if required; is engaged in legal hunting or fishing; has permission of the owner of the land on which the activities are being conducted; and the handgun, whenever loaded, is carried only in an open and fully exposed manner; or

(E) Traveling to or from any activity described in subparagraphs (A) through (D) of this paragraph if the handgun in such person’s possession is not loaded;

(2) Any person under the age of 18 years who is on real property under the control of such person’s parent, legal guardian, or grandparent and who has the permission of such person’s parent or legal guardian to possess a handgun; or

(3) Any person under the age of 18 years who is at such person’s residence and who, with the permission of such person’s parent or legal guardian, possesses a handgun for the purpose of exercising the rights authorized in Code Section 16-3-21 or 16-3-23.

(d) Subsection (c) of this Code section shall not apply to any person under the age of 18 years who has been convicted of a forcible felony or forcible misdemeanor, as defined in Code Section 16-1-3, or who has been adjudicated for committing a delinquent act under the provisions of Article 6 of Chapter 11 of Title 15 for an offense which would constitute a forcible felony or forcible misdemeanor, as defined in Code Section 16-1-3, if such person were an adult.

Title 17. Criminal Procedure

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

Chapter 4. Arrest of Persons

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

Article 2. Arrest by Law Enforcement Officers Generally

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

17-4-20.1. Investigation of and arrests in incidents of family violence

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) Whenever a law enforcement officer responds to an incident in which an act of family violence, as defined in Code Section 19-13-1, has been committed, the officer shall not base the decision of whether to arrest and charge a person on the specific consent of the victim or on a request by the victim solely or on consideration of the relationship of the parties. No officer investigating an incident of family violence shall threaten, suggest, or otherwise indicate the arrest of all parties for the purpose of discouraging requests for law enforcement intervention.

(b) Where complaints of family violence are received from two or more opposing parties, the officer shall evaluate each complaint separately to attempt to determine who was the primary aggressor. If the officer determines that one of the parties was the primary physical aggressor, the officer shall not be required to arrest any other person believed to have committed an act of family violence during the incident. In determining whether a person is a primary physical aggressor, an officer shall consider:

(1) Prior family violence involving either party;

(2) The relative severity of the injuries inflicted on each person;

(3) The potential for future injury; and

(4) Whether one of the parties acted in self-defense.

(c) Whenever a law enforcement officer investigates an incident of family violence, whether or not an arrest is made, the officer shall prepare and submit to the supervisor or other designated person a written report of the incident entitled “Family Violence Report.” Forms for such reports shall be designed and provided by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The report shall include the following:

(1) Name of the parties;

(2) Relationship of the parties;

(3) Sex of the parties;

(4) Date of birth of the parties;

(5) Time, place, and date of the incident;

(6) Whether children were involved or whether the act of family violence was committed in the presence of children;

(7) Type and extent of the alleged abuse;

(8) Existence of substance abuse;

(9) Number and types of weapons involved;

(10) Existence of any prior court orders;

(11) Type of police action taken in disposition of case, the reasons for the officer’s determination that one party was the primary physical aggressor, and mitigating circumstances for why an arrest was not made;

(12) Whether the victim was apprised of available remedies and services; and

(13) Any other information that may be pertinent.

(d) The report provided for in subsection (c) of this Code section shall be considered as being made for statistical purposes only and where no arrests are made shall not be subject to the provisions of Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50. However, upon request, a defendant who has been arrested for an act of family violence or the victim shall be entitled to review and copy any report prepared in accordance with this Code section relating to the defendant.

(e) Each police department, including local precincts and county sheriff departments, shall report, according to rules and regulations of the Georgia Crime Information Center, all family violence incidents, both arrests and nonarrests, to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which shall compile and analyze statistics of family violence crimes and cause them to be published annually in the Georgia Uniform Crime Reports. An offense shall be counted for each incident reported to the police. A zero shall be reported if no incidents have occurred during the reporting period.

Chapter 6. Bonds and Recognizances

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

Article 4. Bonds for Good Behavior and to Keep the Peace

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

Part 1. Bonds for Good Behavior

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

17-6-90. Authority to require bond

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) Any judicial officer authorized to hold a court of inquiry may, upon the information of others under oath or upon his or her own motion, issue a warrant against any person in the county whose conduct is such as to justify the belief that the safety of any one or more persons in the county or the peace or property of the same is in danger of being injured or disturbed thereby. Upon the return of the warrant and upon sufficient cause being shown, the court may require from the person a bond with sureties for such person’s good behavior until the next term of the superior court of the county or for a period of up to six months, whichever is greater. Any person against whom a warrant issues must, within 24 hours, be brought for a hearing before the court which issued the warrant or be released on bond by the sheriff, the amount and reasonable conditions of such bond to be set by the court which issued the warrant.

(b) All bonds posted under this Code section shall be returnable in the court which issued the warrant and shall be amendable in the court’s discretion. Within seven days after being released on bond by the sheriff, the person shall be entitled to a hearing before the court which issued the warrant. The court may, on its own motion, require a hearing.

(c) If it is determined at a hearing that there was not sufficient cause for the warrant to have been issued, the affiant who caused the warrant to be issued shall pay all court costs.

17-6-91. Spouse may require bond

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

A person may require a bond for good behavior against the spouse of such person

17-6-92. Suit for breach of bond; disposition of recovery

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

For a violation of a bond posted pursuant to Code Section 17-6-90, an action may be brought at the instance of any person in the county. The recovery on the bond shall be paid to the person bringing the action.

17-6-93. Extension from term to term

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

A bond for good behavior posted pursuant to Code Section 17-6-90 may be extended from term to term by the superior or state court, as the case may be, or for additional 60 day periods by the court which issued the warrant, whichever is greater, in its discretion. The sureties on the bond shall have the privilege of surrendering their principal as in other cases of bail.

17-6-94. Contempt proceedings for violation of bonds

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

Upon oral or written complaint by the injured party or upon motion by the prosecuting attorney, the court may, in its discretion, issue a rule for contempt against a party who violates the bond posted pursuant to Code Section 17-6-90. Upon hearing the rule, if the court finds that there has been a violation of the bond, the court may, in addition to the remedy provided in Code Section 17-6-92, impose a sentence for contempt of court. If it should appear to the court from the evidence and the court finds that the violation of the bond was provoked or brought about by the conduct of the prosecuting witness, the witness may be ruled for contempt of court and sentenced as provided by law.

Title 19. Domestic Relations

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

Chapter 3. Marriage Generally

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

Article 1. General Provisions

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

19-3-3. Degrees of relationship within which marriage prohibited

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) Any person who marries a person to whom he knows he is related, either by blood or by marriage, as follows:

(1) Father and daughter or stepdaughter;

(2) Mother and son or stepson;

(3) Brother and sister of the whole blood or the half blood;

(4) Grandparent and grandchild;

(5) Aunt and nephew; or

(6) Uncle and niece

shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than three years.

(b) Marriages declared to be unlawful under subsection (a) of this Code section shall be void from their inception.

Chapter 5. Divorce

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

19-5-2. Period of residence in State for petitioner or defendant

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

No court shall grant a divorce to any person who has not been a bona fide resident of this state for six months before the filing of the petition for divorce, provided that any person who has been a resident of any United States army post or military reservation within this state for one year next preceding the filing of the petition may bring an action for divorce in any county adjacent to the United States army post or military reservation; and provided, further, that a nonresident of this state may file a petition for divorce, in the county of residence of the respondent, against any person who has been a resident of this state and of the county in which the action is brought for a period of six months prior to the filing of the petition.

19-5-3. Grounds for total divorce

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

The following grounds shall be sufficient to authorize the granting of a total divorce:

(1) Intermarriage by persons within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity or affinity;

(2) Mental incapacity at the time of the marriage;

(3) Impotency at the time of the marriage;

(4) Force, menace, duress, or fraud in obtaining the marriage;

(5) Pregnancy of the wife by a man other than the husband, at the time of the marriage, unknown to the husband;

(6) Adultery in either of the parties after marriage;

(7) Willful and continued desertion by either of the parties for the term of one year;

(8) The conviction of either party for an offense involving moral turpitude, under which he is sentenced to imprisonment in a penal institution for a term of two years or longer;

(9) Habitual intoxication;

(10) Cruel treatment, which shall consist of the willful infliction of pain, bodily or mental, upon the complaining party, such as reasonably justifies apprehension of danger to life, limb, or health;

(11) Incurable mental illness. No divorce shall be granted upon this ground unless the mentally ill party has been adjudged mentally ill by a court of competent jurisdiction or has been certified to be mentally ill by two physicians who have personally examined the party; and he has been confined in an institution for the mentally ill or has been under continuous treatment for mental illness for a period of at least two years immediately preceding the commencement of the action; and the superintendent or other chief executive officer of the institution and one competent physician appointed by the court, after a thorough examination, make a certified statement under oath that it is their opinion that the party evidences such a want of reason, memory, and intelligence as to prevent the party from comprehending the nature, duties, and consequences of the marriage relationship and that, in the light of present day medical knowledge, recovery of the party’s mental health cannot be expected at any time during his life. Notice of the action must be served upon the guardian of the person of the mentally ill person and upon the superintendent or other chief executive officer of the institution in which the person is confined. In the event that there is no guardian of the person, then notice of the action shall be served upon a guardian ad litem, who shall be appointed by the court in which the divorce action is filed, and upon the superintendent or chief executive officer of the institution in which the person is confined. The guardian and superintendent shall be entitled to appear and be heard upon the issues. The status of the parties as to the support and maintenance of the mentally ill person shall not be altered in any way by the granting of the divorce;

(12) Habitual drug addiction, which shall consist of addiction to any controlled substance as defined in Article 2 of Chapter 13 of Title 16; or

(13) The marriage is irretrievably broken. Under no circumstances shall the court grant a divorce on this ground until not less than 30 days from the date of service on the respondent.

Chapter 6. Alimony and Child Support

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

19-6-1. Alimony defined; permanent and temporary

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) Alimony is an allowance out of one party’s estate, made for the support of the other party when living separately. It is either temporary or permanent.

(b) A party shall not be entitled to alimony if it is established by a preponderance of the evidence that the separation between the parties was caused by that party’s adultery or desertion. In all cases in which alimony is sought, the court shall receive evidence of the factual cause of the separation even though one or both of the parties may also seek a divorce, regardless of the grounds upon which a divorce is sought or granted by the court.

(c) In all other cases in which alimony is sought, alimony is authorized, but is not required, to be awarded to either party in accordance with the needs of the party and the ability of the other party to pay. In determining whether or not to grant alimony, the court shall consider evidence of the conduct of each party toward the other.

(d) Should either party die prior to the court’s order on the issue of alimony, any rights of the other party to alimony shall survive and be a lien upon the estate of the deceased party.

(e) Pending final determination by the court of the right of either party to alimony, neither party shall make any substantial change in the assets of the party’s estate except in the course of ordinary business affairs and except for bona fide transfers for value.

19-6-3. Proceedings to obtain temporary alimony; discretion of the judge; revision and enforcement of order allowing alimony

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) Whenever an action for divorce or for permanent alimony is pending, either party may apply at any time to the presiding judge of the court in which the same is pending, by petition, for an order granting the party temporary alimony pending the issuance of a final judgment in the case. After hearing both parties and the evidence as to all the circumstances of the parties and as to the fact of marriage, the court shall grant an order allowing such temporary alimony, including expenses of litigation, as the condition of the parties and the facts of the case may justify.

(b) In arriving at a decision, the judge shall consider the peculiar necessities created for each party by the pending litigation and any evidence of a separate estate owned by either party. If the separate estate of the party seeking alimony is ample as compared with that of the other party, temporary alimony may be refused.

(c) At a hearing on the application for temporary alimony, the merits of the case are not in issue; however, the judge, in fixing the amount of alimony, may inquire into the cause and circumstances of the separation rendering the alimony necessary and in his discretion may refuse it altogether.

(d) On application, an order allowing temporary alimony shall be subject to revision by the court at any time and may be enforced either by writ of fieri facias or by attachment for contempt.

(e) A failure to comply with the order allowing temporary alimony shall not deprive a party of the right either to prosecute or to defend the case.

19-6-5. Permanent alimony; determination of amount

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) The finder of fact may grant permanent alimony to either party, either from the corpus of the estate or otherwise. The following shall be considered in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded:

(1) The standard of living established during the marriage;

(2) The duration of the marriage;

(3) The age and the physical and emotional condition of both parties;

(4) The financial resources of each party;

(5) Where applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable him to find appropriate employment;

(6) The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party;

(7) The condition of the parties, including the separate estate, earning capacity, and fixed liabilities of the parties; and

(8) Such other relevant factors as the court deems equitable and proper.

(b) All obligations for permanent alimony, however created, the time for performance of which has not arrived, shall terminate upon remarriage of the party to whom the obligations are owed unless otherwise provided.

Chapter 7. Parent and Child Relationship Generally

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

Article 1. General Provisions

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

19-7-3. Grant of visitation rights to family members

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) As used in this Code section, the term :

(1) “Family member” means a grandparent, great-grandparent, or sibling.

(2) “Grandparent” means the parent of a parent of a minor child, the parent of a minor child’s parent who has died, and the parent of a minor child’s parent whose parental rights have been terminated.

(3) “Great-grandparent” means the parent of the parent of a parent of a minor child, the parent of the parent of a minor child’s parent who has died, and the parent of the parent of a minor child’s parent whose parental rights have been terminated.

(4) “Sibling” means the brother or sister of a parent of a minor child, the brother or sister of a minor child’s parent who has died, and the brother or sister of a minor child’s parent whose parental rights have been terminated.

(b)(1) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection:

(A) Any grandparent shall have the right to file an original action for visitation rights to a minor child; and

(B) Any family member shall have the right to intervene in and seek to obtain visitation rights in any action in which any court in this state shall have before it any question concerning the custody of a minor child, a divorce of the parents or a parent of such minor child, a termination of the parental rights of either parent of such minor child, or visitation rights concerning such minor child or whenever there has been an adoption in which the adopted child has been adopted by the child’s blood relative or by a stepparent, notwithstanding the provisions of Code Section 19-8-19.

(2) This subsection shall not authorize an original action when the parents of the minor child are not separated and the child is living with both parents.

(c)(1) Upon the filing of an original action or upon intervention in an existing proceeding under subsection (b) of this Code section, the court may grant any family member of the child reasonable visitation rights if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the health or welfare of the child would be harmed unless such visitation is granted and if the best interests of the child would be served by such visitation. The mere absence of an opportunity for a child to develop a relationship with a family member shall not be considered as harming the health or welfare of the child when there is no substantial preexisting relationship between the child and such family member. In considering whether the health or welfare of the child would be harmed without such visitation, the court shall consider and may find that harm to the child is reasonably likely to result when, prior to the original action or intervention:

(A) The minor child resided with the family member for six months or more;

(B) The family member provided financial support for the basic needs of the child for at least one year;

(C) There was an established pattern of regular visitation or child care by the family member with the child; or

(D) Any other circumstance exists indicating that emotional or physical harm would be reasonably likely to result if such visitation is not granted.

The court shall make specific written findings of fact in support of its rulings.

(2) An original action requesting visitation rights shall not be filed by any grandparent more than once during any two-year period and shall not be filed during any year in which another custody action has been filed concerning the child. After visitation rights have been granted to any grandparent, the legal custodian, guardian of the person, or parent of the child may petition the court for revocation or amendment of such visitation rights, for good cause shown, which the court, in its discretion, may grant or deny; but such a petition shall not be filed more than once in any two-year period.

(3) While a parent’s decision regarding family member visitation shall be given deference by the court, the parent’s decision shall not be conclusive when failure to provide family member contact would result in emotional harm to the child. A court may presume that a child who is denied any contact with his or her family member or who is not provided some minimal opportunity for contact with his or her family member when there is a preexisting relationship between the child and such family member may suffer emotional injury that is harmful to such child’s health. Such presumption shall be a rebuttable presumption.

(4) In no case shall the granting of visitation rights to a family member interfere with a child’s school or regularly scheduled extracurricular activities.

(5) Visitation time awarded to a family member shall not be less than 24 hours in any one-month period; provided, however, that when more than one individual seeks visitation under this Code section, the court shall determine the amount of time to award to each petitioner which shall not be less than 24 hours in any one-month period in the aggregate.

(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (b) and (c) of this Code section, if one of the parents of a minor child dies, is incapacitated, or is incarcerated, the court may award the parent of the deceased, incapacitated, or incarcerated parent of such minor child reasonable visitation to such child during his or her minority if the court in its discretion finds that such visitation would be in the best interests of the child. The custodial parent’s judgment as to the best interests of the child regarding visitation shall be given deference by the court but shall not be conclusive.

(e) If the court finds that the family member can bear the cost without unreasonable financial hardship, the court, at the sole expense of the petitioning family member, may:

(1) Appoint a guardian ad litem for the minor child; and

(2) Assign the issue of visitation rights of a family member for mediation.

(f) In the event that the court does not order mediation or upon failure of the parties to reach an agreement through mediation, the court shall fix a time for the hearing of the issue of visitation rights of the family member.

(g) Whether or not visitation is awarded to a family member, the court may direct a custodial parent, by court order, to notify such family member of every performance of the minor child to which the public is admitted, including, but not limited to, musical concerts, graduations, recitals, and sporting events or games.

(h) When more than one family member files an action pursuant to this Code section, the court shall determine the priority of such actions.

19-7-3.1. Adjudicated equitable caregiver

Updated: 
September 27, 2019

(a) The court may adjudicate an individual to be an equitable caregiver.

(b) An individual seeking to be adjudicated an equitable caregiver of a child under this Code section may establish standing to maintain the action in accordance with the following:

(1) File with the initial pleading an affidavit alleging under oath specific facts to support the existence of an equitable caregiver relationship with the child as set forth in subsection (d) of this Code section. The pleadings and affidavit shall be served upon all parents and legal guardians of the child and any other party to the proceeding;

(2) An adverse party, parent, or legal guardian who files a pleading in response to the pleadings in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall also file an affidavit in response, serving all parties to the proceeding with a copy;

(3) The court shall determine on the basis of the pleadings and affidavits pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection whether such individual has presented prima facie evidence of the requirements set forth in subsection (d) of this Code section. The court may in its sole discretion, if necessary and on an expedited basis, hold a hearing to determine undisputed facts that are necessary and material to the issue of standing; and

(4) If the court’s determination under paragraph (3) of this subsection is in the affirmative, the party claiming to be an equitable caregiver has standing to proceed to adjudication under subsection (d) of this Code section.

(c) A document substantially in the following form may be used to create a pleading and affidavit for purposes of paragraph (1) of subsection (d) of this Code section:

IN THE __________ COURT OF __________ COUNTY

STATE OF GEORGIA

A.B.,

_________________

)

Plaintiff

)

)

v.

)

Civil Action

)

File no. ________

C.D.,

_________________

)

Defendant

)

COMPLAINT

The defendant C.D., herein named, is a resident of _____________________ (street), _______________, (city) ________________ County, Georgia, and is subject to the jurisdiction of this court.

As of ___________ (date), Plaintiff can fully demonstrate to the court that:

(1) Plaintiff has fully and completely undertaken a permanent, unequivocal, committed, and responsible parental role in the child’s life;

(2) Engaged in consistent caretaking of the child;

(3) Established a bonded and dependent relationship with the child, the relationship was fostered or supported by a parent of the child, and such individual and the parent have understood, acknowledged, or accepted or behaved as though such individual is a parent of the child; and

(4) Accepted full and permanent responsibilities as a parent of the child without expectation of financial compensation.

The facts of the case are:

1.

2.

3.

4.

Dated

Pro Se Applicant

Address

Address

(CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE)”

AFFIDAVIT OF PETITIONER

STATE OF GEORGIA

COUNTY OF ______________________

Personally appeared before me, the undersigned officer duly authorized to administer oaths, ____________________, who, after having been sworn, deposes, and says as follows:

That my name is:

That my address is:

These are the facts to support the existence of an equitable caregiver relationship with a child as set forth in subsection (c) of O.C.G.A. 19-7-3.1:

Dated

Pro Se Applicant

Address

Address

Sworn to and subscribed

Before me this ________

Day of ________, ____________.

__________________________________

Notary public (SEAL)

My commission expires: __________________”

(d) In order to establish standing, the court shall first find, by clear and convincing evidence, that the individual has:

(1) Fully and completely undertaken a permanent, unequivocal, committed, and responsible parental role in the child’s life;

(2) Engaged in consistent caretaking of the child;

(3) Established a bonded and dependent relationship with the child, the relationship was fostered or supported by a parent of the child, and such individual and the parent have understood, acknowledged, or accepted or behaved as though such individual is a parent of the child;

(4) Accepted full and permanent responsibilities as a parent of the child without expectation of financial compensation; and

(5) Demonstrated that the child will suffer physical harm or long-term emotional harm and that continuing the relationship between such individual and the child is in the best interest of the child.

(e) In determining the existence of harm, the court shall consider factors related to the child’s needs, including, but not limited to:

(1) Who are the past and present caretakers of the child;

(2) With whom has the child formed psychological bonds and the strength of those bonds;

(3) Whether competing parties evidenced an interest in, and contact with, the child over time; and

(4) Whether the child has unique medical or psychological needs that one party is better able to meet.

(f) A court may grant standing on an individual seeking to be adjudicated as an equitable caregiver on the basis of the consent of the child’s parent for such individual to have a parental relationship with the child, or on the basis of a written agreement between the individual seeking to be adjudicated as an equitable caregiver and the child’s parent, indicating an intention to share or divide caregiving responsibilities for the child.

(g) The court may enter an order as appropriate to establish parental rights and responsibilities for such individual, including, but not limited to, custody or visitation.

(h) This Code section shall not authorize an original action when both parents of the minor child are not separated and the child is living with both parents.

(i) This Code section shall not authorize an original action by an individual whose relationship with the child was established as a result of a proceeding under Article 3 of Chapter 11 of Title 15 and shall not authorize an original action so long as the Division of Family and Children Services of the Department of Human Services has an open child welfare and youth services case involving such child or his or her parent.

(j) The adjudication of a person under this Code section as an equitable caregiver does not disestablish the parentage of any other parent.

Chapter 9. Child Custody Proceedings

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

Article 1. General Provisions

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

19-9-3. Custody of child; best interest of child factors; finds of fact; review; retention of jurisdiction; change of address; attorney fees

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a)(1) In all cases in which the custody of any child is at issue between the parents, there shall be no prima-facie right to the custody of the child in the father or mother. There shall be no presumption in favor of any particular form of custody, legal or physical, nor in favor of either parent. Joint custody may be considered as an alternative form of custody by the judge and the judge at any temporary or permanent hearing may grant sole custody, joint custody, joint legal custody, or joint physical custody as appropriate.

(2) The judge hearing the issue of custody shall make a determination of custody of a child and such matter shall not be decided by a jury. The judge may take into consideration all the circumstances of the case, including the improvement of the health of the party seeking a change in custody provisions, in determining to whom custody of the child should be awarded. The duty of the judge in all such cases shall be to exercise discretion to look to and determine solely what is for the best interest of the child and what will best promote the child’s welfare and happiness and to make his or her award accordingly.

(3) In determining the best interests of the child, the judge may consider any relevant factor including, but not limited to:

(A) The love, affection, bonding, and emotional ties existing between each parent and the child;

(B) The love, affection, bonding, and emotional ties existing between the child and his or her siblings, half siblings, and stepsiblings and the residence of such other children;

(C) The capacity and disposition of each parent to give the child love, affection, and guidance and to continue the education and rearing of the child;

(D) Each parent’s knowledge and familiarity of the child and the child’s needs;

(E) The capacity and disposition of each parent to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, day-to-day needs, and other necessary basic care, with consideration made for the potential payment of child support by the other parent;

(F) The home environment of each parent considering the promotion of nurturance and safety of the child rather than superficial or material factors;

(G) The importance of continuity in the child’s life and the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity;

(H) The stability of the family unit of each of the parents and the presence or absence of each parent’s support systems within the community to benefit the child;

(I) The mental and physical health of each parent, except to the extent as provided in Code Section 30-4-5 and paragraph (3) of subsection (a) of Code Section 19-9-3 and such factors as provided in Code Section 15-11-26;

(J) Each parent’s involvement, or lack thereof, in the child’s educational, social, and extracurricular activities;

(K) Each parent’s employment schedule and the related flexibility or limitations, if any, of a parent to care for the child;

(L) The home, school, and community record and history of the child, as well as any health or educational special needs of the child;

(M) Each parent’s past performance and relative abilities for future performance of parenting responsibilities;

(N) The willingness and ability of each of the parents to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent, consistent with the best interest of the child;

(O) Any recommendation by a court appointed custody evaluator or guardian ad litem;

(P) Any evidence of family violence or sexual, mental, or physical child abuse or criminal history of either parent; and

(Q) Any evidence of substance abuse by either parent.

(4) In addition to other factors that a judge may consider in a proceeding in which the custody of a child or visitation or parenting time by a parent is at issue and in which the judge has made a finding of family violence:

(A) The judge shall consider as primary the safety and well-being of the child and of the parent who is the victim of family violence;

(B) The judge shall consider the perpetrator’s history of causing physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or causing reasonable fear of physical harm, bodily injury, or assault to another person;

(C) If a parent is absent or relocates because of an act of domestic violence by the other parent, such absence or relocation for a reasonable period of time in the circumstances shall not be deemed an abandonment of the child for the purposes of custody determination; and

(D) The judge shall not refuse to consider relevant or otherwise admissible evidence of acts of family violence merely because there has been no previous finding of family violence. The judge may, in addition to other appropriate actions, order supervised visitation or parenting time pursuant to Code Section 19-9-7.

(5) In all custody cases in which the child has reached the age of 14 years, the child shall have the right to select the parent with whom he or she desires to live. The child’s selection for purposes of custody shall be presumptive unless the parent so selected is determined not to be in the best interests of the child. The parental selection by a child who has reached the age of 14 may, in and of itself, constitute a material change of condition or circumstance in any action seeking a modification or change in the custody of that child; provided, however, that such selection may only be made once within a period of two years from the date of the previous selection and the best interests of the child standard shall apply.

(6) In all custody cases in which the child has reached the age of 11 but not 14 years, the judge shall consider the desires and educational needs of the child in determining which parent shall have custody. The judge shall have complete discretion in making this determination, and the child’s desires shall not be controlling. The judge shall further have broad discretion as to how the child’s desires are to be considered, including through the report of a guardian ad litem. The best interests of the child standard shall be controlling. The parental selection of a child who has reached the age of 11 but not 14 years shall not, in and of itself, constitute a material change of condition or circumstance in any action seeking a modification or change in the custody of that child. The judge may issue an order granting temporary custody to the selected parent for a trial period not to exceed six months regarding the custody of a child who has reached the age of 11 but not 14 years where the judge hearing the case determines such a temporary order is appropriate.

(7) The judge is authorized to order a psychological custody evaluation of the family or an independent medical evaluation. In addition to the privilege afforded a witness, neither a court appointed custody evaluator nor a court appointed guardian ad litem shall be subject to civil liability resulting from any act or failure to act in the performance of his or her duties unless such act or failure to act was in bad faith.

(8) If requested by any party on or before the close of evidence in a contested hearing, the permanent court order awarding child custody shall set forth specific findings of fact as to the basis for the judge’s decision in making an award of custody including any relevant factor relied upon by the judge as set forth in paragraph (3) of this subsection. Such order shall set forth in detail why the court awarded custody in the manner set forth in the order and, if joint legal custody is awarded, a manner in which final decision making on matters affecting the child’s education, health, extracurricular activities, religion, and any other important matter shall be decided. Such order shall be filed within 30 days of the final hearing in the custody case, unless extended by order of the judge with the agreement of the parties.

(b) In any case in which a judgment awarding the custody of a child has been entered, on the motion of any party or on the motion of the judge, that portion of the judgment effecting visitation rights between the parties and their child or parenting time may be subject to review and modification or alteration without the necessity of any showing of a change in any material conditions and circumstances of either party or the child, provided that the review and modification or alteration shall not be had more often than once in each two-year period following the date of entry of the judgment. However, this subsection shall not limit or restrict the power of the judge to enter a judgment relating to the custody of a child in any new proceeding based upon a showing of a change in any material conditions or circumstances of a party or the child. A military parent’s absences caused by the performance of his or her deployments, or the potential for future deployments, shall not be the sole factor considered in supporting a claim of any change in material conditions or circumstances of either party or the child; provided, however, that the court may consider evidence of the effect of a deployment in assessing a claim of any change in material conditions or circumstances of either party or the child.

(c) In the event of any conflict between this Code section and any provision of Article 3 of this chapter, Article 3 shall apply.

(d) It is the express policy of this state to encourage that a child has continuing contact with parents and grandparents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child and to encourage parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of raising their child after such parents have separated or dissolved their marriage or relationship.

(e) Upon the filing of an action for a change of child custody, the judge may in his or her discretion change the terms of custody on a temporary basis pending final judgment on such issue. Any such award of temporary custody shall not constitute an adjudication of the rights of the parties.

(f)(1) In any case in which a judgment awarding the custody of a child has been entered, the court entering such judgment shall retain jurisdiction of the case for the purpose of ordering the custodial parent to notify the court of any changes in the residence of the child.

(2) In any case in which visitation rights or parenting time has been provided to the noncustodial parent and the court orders that the custodial parent provide notice of a change in address of the place for pickup and delivery of the child for visitation or parenting time, the custodial parent shall notify the noncustodial parent, in writing, of any change in such address. Such written notification shall provide a street address or other description of the new location for pickup and delivery so that the noncustodial parent may exercise such parent’s visitation rights or parenting time.

(3) Except where otherwise provided by court order, in any case under this subsection in which a parent changes his or her residence, he or she must give notification of such change to the other parent and, if the parent changing residence is the custodial parent, to any other person granted visitation rights or parenting time under this title or a court order. Such notification shall be given at least 30 days prior to the anticipated change of residence and shall include the full address of the new residence.

(g) Except as provided in Code Section 19-6-2, and in addition to the attorney’s fee provisions contained in Code Section 19-6-15, the judge may order reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation, experts, and the child’s guardian ad litem and other costs of the child custody action and pretrial proceedings to be paid by the parties in proportions and at times determined by the judge. Attorney’s fees may be awarded at both the temporary hearing and the final hearing. A final judgment shall include the amount granted, whether the grant is in full or on account, which may be enforced by attachment for contempt of court or by writ of fieri facias, whether the parties subsequently reconcile or not. An attorney may bring an action in his or her own name to enforce a grant of attorney’s fees made pursuant to this subsection.

(h) In addition to filing requirements contained in Code Section 19-6-15, upon the conclusion of any proceeding under this article, the domestic relations final disposition form as prescribed by the Judicial Council of Georgia shall be filed.

(i) Notwithstanding other provisions of this article, whenever a military parent is deployed, the following shall apply:

(1) A court shall not enter a final order modifying parental rights and responsibilities under an existing parenting plan earlier than 90 days after the deployment ends, unless such modification is agreed to by the deployed parent;

(2) Upon a petition to establish or modify an existing parenting plan being filed by a deploying parent or nondeploying parent, the court shall enter a temporary modification order for the parenting plan to ensure contact with the child during the period of deployment when:

(A) A military parent receives formal notice from military leadership that he or she will deploy in the near future, and such parent has primary physical custody, joint physical custody, or sole physical custody of a child, or otherwise has parenting time with a child under an existing parenting plan; and

(B) The deployment will have a material effect upon a deploying parent’s ability to exercise parental rights and responsibilities toward his or her child either in the existing relationship with the other parent or under an existing parenting plan;

(3) Petitions for temporary modification of an existing parenting plan because of a deployment shall be heard by the court as expeditiously as possible and shall be a priority on the court’s calendar;

(4)(A) All temporary modification orders for parenting plans shall include a reasonable and specific transition schedule to facilitate a return to the predeployment parenting plan over the shortest reasonable time period after the deployment ends, based upon the child’s best interest.

(B) Unless the court determines that it would not be in the child’s best interest, a temporary modification order for a parenting plan shall set a date certain for the anticipated end of the deployment and the start of the transition period back to the predeployment parenting plan. If a deployment is extended, the temporary modification order for a parenting plan shall remain in effect, and the transition schedule shall take effect at the end of the extension of the deployment. Failure of the nondeploying parent to notify the court in accordance with this paragraph shall not prejudice the deploying parent’s right to return to the predeployment parenting plan once the temporary modification order for a parenting plan expires as provided in subparagraph (C) of this paragraph.

(C) A temporary modification order for a parenting plan shall expire upon the completion of the transition period and the predeployment parenting plan shall establish the rights and responsibilities between parents for the child;

(5) Upon a petition to modify an existing parenting plan being filed by a deploying parent and upon a finding that it serves the best interest of the child, the court may delegate for the duration of the deployment any portion of such deploying parent’s parenting time with the child to anyone in his or her extended family, including but not limited to an immediate family member, a person with whom the deploying parent cohabits, or another person having a close and substantial relationship to the child. Such delegated parenting time shall not create any separate rights to such person once the period of deployment has ended;

(6) If the court finds it to be in the child’s best interest, a temporary modification order for a parenting plan issued under this subsection may require any of the following:

(A) The nondeploying parent make the child reasonably available to the deploying parent to exercise his or her parenting time immediately before and after the deploying parent departs for deployment and whenever the deploying parent returns to or from leave or furlough from his or her deployment;

(B) The nondeploying parent facilitate opportunities for the deployed parent to have regular and continuing contact with his or her child by telephone, e-mail exchanges, virtual video parenting time through the Internet, or any other similar means;

(C) The nondeploying parent not interfere with the delivery of correspondence or packages between the deployed parent and child of such parent; and

(D) The deploying parent provide timely information regarding his or her leave and departure schedule to the nondeploying parent;

(7) Because actual leave from a deployment and departure dates for a deployment are subject to change with little notice due to military necessity, such changes shall not be used by the nondeploying parent to prevent contact between the deployed parent and his or her child;

(8) A court order temporarily modifying an existing parenting plan or other order governing parent-child rights and responsibilities shall specify when a deployment is the basis for such order and it shall be entered by the court only as a temporary modification order or interlocutory order;

(9) A relocation by a nondeploying parent during a period of a deployed parent’s absence and occurring during the period of a temporary modification order for a parenting plan shall not act to terminate the exclusive and continuing jurisdiction of the court for purposes of later determining custody or parenting time under this chapter;

(10) A court order temporarily modifying an existing parenting plan or other order shall require the nondeploying parent to provide the court and the deploying parent with not less than 30 days’ advance written notice of any intended change of residence address, telephone numbers, or e-mail address;

(11) Upon a deployed parent’s final return from deployment, either parent may file a petition to modify the temporary modification order for a parenting plan on the grounds that compliance with such order will result in immediate danger or substantial harm to the child, and may further request that the court issue an ex parte order. The deployed parent may file such a petition prior to his or her return. Such petition shall be accompanied by an affidavit in support of the requested order. Upon a finding of immediate danger or substantial harm to the child based on the facts set forth in the affidavit, the court may issue an ex parte order modifying the temporary parenting plan or other parent-child contact in order to prevent immediate danger or substantial harm to the child. If the court issues an ex parte order, the court shall set the matter for hearing within ten days from the issuance of the ex parte order;

(12) Nothing in this subsection shall preclude either party from filing a petition for permanent modification of an existing parenting plan under subsection (b) of this Code section; provided, however, that the court shall not conduct a final hearing on such petition until at least 90 days after the final return of the deploying parent. There shall exist a presumption favoring the predeployment parenting plan or custody order as one that still serves the best interest of the child, and the party seeking to permanently modify such plan or order shall have the burden to prove that it no longer serves the best interest of the child;

(13) When the deployment of a military parent has a material effect upon his or her ability to appear in person at a scheduled hearing, then upon request by the deploying parent and provided reasonable advance notice is given to other interested parties, the court may allow a deployed parent to present testimony and other evidence by electronic means for any matter considered by the court under this subsection. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “electronic means” shall include, but not be limited to, communications by telephone, video teleconference, Internet connection, or electronically stored affidavits or documents sent from the deployment location or elsewhere;

(14)(A) When deployment of a military parent appears imminent and there is no existing parenting plan or other order setting forth the parent’s rights and responsibilities, then upon a petition filed by either parent the court shall:

(i) Expedite a hearing to establish a temporary parenting plan;

(ii) Require that the deploying parent shall have continued access to the child, provided that such contact is in the child’s best interest;

(iii) Ensure the disclosure of financial information pertaining to both parties;

(iv) Determine the child support responsibilities under Code Section 19-6-15 of both parents during the deployment; and

(v) Determine the child’s best interest and consider delegating to any third parties with close contacts to the child any reasonable parenting time during the deployment. In deciding such request the court shall consider the reasonable requests of the deployed parent.

(B) Any pleading filed to establish a parenting plan or child support order under this paragraph shall be identified at the time of filing by stating in the text of the pleading the specific facts related to the deployment and by referencing this paragraph and subsection of this Code section;

(15) When an impending deployment precludes court expedited adjudication before deployment, the court may agree to allow the parties to arbitrate any issues as allowed under Code Section 19-9-1.1, or order the parties to mediation under any court established alternative dispute resolution program. For purposes of arbitration or mediation, each party shall be under a duty to provide to the other party information relevant to any parenting plan or support issues pertaining to the children or the parties;

(16) Each military parent shall be under a continuing duty to provide written notice to the nondeploying parent within 14 days of the military parent’s receipt of oral or written orders requiring deployment or any other absences due to military service that will impact the military parent’s ability to exercise his or her parenting time with a child. If deployment orders do not allow for 14 days’ advance notice, then the military parent shall provide written notice to the other parent immediately upon receiving such notice; and

(17) A military parent shall ensure that any military family care plan that he or she has filed with his or her commander is consistent with any existing court orders for his or her child. In all instances any court order will be the first course of action for the care of a child during the absence of a military parent, and the military family care plan will be the alternative plan if the nondeploying parent either refuses to provide care for the child or acknowledges an inability to provide reasonable care for the child. A military parent shall not be considered in contempt of any court order or parenting plan when he or she in good faith implements his or her military family care plan based upon the refusal or claimed inability of a nondeploying parent to provide reasonable care for a child during a deployment.

19-9-7. When visitation by parent who has committed acts of family violence may be awarded; conditions

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) A judge may award visitation or parenting time to a parent who committed one or more acts involving family violence only if the judge finds that adequate provision for the safety of the child and the parent who is a victim of family violence can be made. In a visitation or parenting time order, a judge may:

(1) Order an exchange of a child to occur in a protected setting;

(2) Order visitation or parenting time supervised by another person or agency;

(3) Order the perpetrator of family violence to attend and complete, to the satisfaction of the judge, a certified family violence intervention program for perpetrators as defined in Article 1A of Chapter 13 of this title as a condition of the visitation or parenting time;

(4) Order the perpetrator of family violence to abstain from possession or consumption of alcohol, marijuana, or any Schedule I controlled substance listed in Code Section 16-13-25 during the visitation or parenting time and for 24 hours preceding the visitation or parenting time;

(5) Order the perpetrator of family violence to pay a fee to defray the costs of supervised visitation or parenting time;

(6) Prohibit overnight visitation or parenting time;

(7) Require a bond from the perpetrator of family violence for the return and safety of the child; and

(8) Impose any other condition that is deemed necessary to provide for the safety of the child, the victim of family violence, or another family or household member.

(b) Whether or not visitation or parenting time is allowed, the judge may order the address of the child and the victim of family violence to be kept confidential.

(c) The judge shall not order an adult who is a victim of family violence to attend joint counseling with the perpetrator of family violence as a condition of receiving custody of a child or as a condition of visitation or parenting time.

(d) If a judge allows a family or household member to supervise visitation or parenting time, the judge shall establish conditions to be followed during visitation or parenting time.

Chapter 13. Family Violence

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

Article 1. Granting of Relief by Superior Courts

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

19-13-1. "Family violence" defined

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

As used in this article, the term “family violence” means the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between past or present spouses, persons who are parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, or other persons living or formerly living in the same household:

(1) Any felony; or

(2) Commission of offenses of battery, simple battery, simple assault, assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint, or criminal trespass.

The term “family violence” shall not be deemed to include reasonable discipline administered by a parent to a child in the form of corporal punishment, restraint, or detention.

19-13-2. Jurisdiction

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) Except for proceedings involving a nonresident respondent, the superior court of the county where the respondent resides shall have jurisdiction over all proceedings under this article.

(b) For proceedings under this article involving a nonresident respondent, the superior court where the petitioner resides or the superior court where an act involving family violence allegedly occurred shall have jurisdiction, where the act involving family violence meets the elements for personal jurisdiction provided for under paragraph (2) or (3) of Code Section 9-10-91.

19-13-3. Petition; hearing

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) A person who is not a minor may seek relief under this article by filing a petition with the superior court alleging one or more acts of family violence. A person who is not a minor may also seek relief on behalf of a minor by filing such a petition.

(b) Upon the filing of a verified petition in which the petitioner alleges with specific facts that probable cause exists to establish that family violence has occurred in the past and may occur in the future, the court may order such temporary relief ex parte as it deems necessary to protect the petitioner or a minor of the household from violence. If the court issues an ex parte order, a copy of the order shall be immediately furnished to the petitioner and such order shall remain in effect until the court issues an order dismissing such order or a hearing as set forth in subsection (c) of this Code section occurs, whichever occurs first.

(c) Within ten days of the filing of the petition under this article or as soon as practical thereafter, but not later than 30 days after the filing of the petition, a hearing shall be held at which the petitioner must prove the allegations of the petition by a preponderance of the evidence as in other civil cases. In the event a hearing cannot be scheduled within the county where the case is pending within the 30 day period the same shall be scheduled and heard within any other county of that circuit. If a hearing is not held within 30 days of the filing of the petition, the petition shall stand dismissed unless the parties otherwise agree.

(d) Family violence shelter or social service agency staff members designated by the court may explain to all victims not represented by counsel the procedures for filling out and filing all forms and pleadings necessary for the presentation of their petition to the court. The clerk of the court may provide forms for petitions and pleadings to victims of family violence and to any other person designated by the superior court pursuant to this Code section as authorized to advise victims on filling out and filing such petitions and pleadings. The clerk shall not be required to provide assistance to persons in completing such forms or in presenting their case to the court. Any assistance provided pursuant to this Code section shall be performed without cost to the petitioners. The performance of such assistance shall not constitute the practice of law as defined in Code Section 15-19-51.

(e) If the court finds a party is avoiding service to delay a hearing, the court may delay dismissal of the petition for an additional 30 days.

19-13-4. Protective orders and consent agreements

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) The court may, upon the filing of a verified petition, grant any protective order or approve any consent agreement to bring about a cessation of acts of family violence. The court shall not have the authority to issue or approve mutual protective orders concerning paragraph (1), (2), (5), (9), or (11) of this subsection, or any combination thereof, unless the respondent has filed a verified petition as a counter petition pursuant to Code Section 19-13-3 no later than three days, not including Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, prior to the hearing and the provisions of Code Section 19-13-3 have been satisfied. The orders or agreements may:

(1) Direct the respondent to refrain from such acts;

(2) Grant to a party possession of the residence or household of the parties and exclude the other party from the residence or household;

(3) Require a party to provide suitable alternate housing for a spouse, former spouse, or parent and the parties’ child or children;

(4) Award temporary custody of minor children and establish temporary visitation rights;

(5) Order the eviction of a party from the residence or household and order assistance to the victim in returning to it, or order assistance in retrieving personal property of the victim if the respondent’s eviction has not been ordered;

(6) Order either party to make payments for the support of a minor child as required by law;

(7) Order either party to make payments for the support of a spouse as required by law;

(8) Provide for possession of personal property of the parties;

(9) Order the respondent to refrain from harassing or interfering with the victim;

(10) Award costs and attorney’s fees to either party; and

(11) Order the respondent to receive appropriate psychiatric or psychological services as a further measure to prevent the recurrence of family violence.

(b) A copy of the order shall be issued by the clerk of the superior court to the sheriff of the county wherein the order was entered and shall be retained by the sheriff as long as that order shall remain in effect.

(c) Any order granted under this Code section shall remain in effect for up to one year; provided, however, that upon the motion of a petitioner and notice to the respondent and after a hearing, the court in its discretion may convert a temporary order granted under this Code section to an order effective for not more than three years or to a permanent order.

(d) A protective order issued pursuant to this Code section shall apply and shall be effective throughout this state. It shall be the duty of every superior court and of every sheriff, every deputy sheriff, and every state, county, or municipal law enforcement officer within this state to enforce and carry out the terms of any valid protective order issued by any court under the provisions of this Code section.

19-13-5. Supplemental nature of law

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

The remedies provided by this article are not exclusive but are additional to any other remedies provided by law.

19-13-6. Violations relating to procedures for prevention of family violence

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

A violation of an order issued pursuant to this article may be punished by an action for contempt or criminally punished as provided in Article 7 of Chapter 5 of Title 16.

Article 4. Family Violence and Stalking Protective Order Registry

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

19-13-50. Short title

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

This article shall be known and may be cited as the “Protective Order Registry Act.”

19-13-51. Definitions

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

As used in this article, the term:

(1) “Court” means judges in the classes of courts identified in Title 15 and any other person while acting as such a judge pursuant to designation as otherwise authorized by law.

(2) “Foreign court” means a court of competent jurisdiction in any state other than this state or any territory or tribal jurisdiction in the United States.

(3) “Foreign protective order” means any temporary order of protection, order of protection, restraining order, injunction, pretrial release order, or sentencing order that prohibits contact, acts of family violence, or stalking issued by a foreign court.

(4) “Law enforcement officer” means any agent or officer of this state, or a political subdivision or municipality thereof, who, as a full-time or part-time employee, is vested either expressly by law or by virtue of public employment or service with authority to enforce the criminal or traffic laws and whose duties include the preservation of public order, the protection of life and property, or the prevention, detection, or investigation of crime. Such term also includes the following: state or local officer, sheriff, deputy sheriff, dispatcher, 9-1-1 operator, police officer, prosecuting attorney, member of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles, a hearing officer of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles, and a community supervision officer of the Department of Community Supervision.

(5) “Modification” means any amendment, dismissal, or continuance.

(6) “Prosecuting attorney” means each attorney elected to represent a judicial circuit in this state and any assistant or deputy district attorney, or solicitor, in each judicial circuit in this state.

(7) “Protective order” means :

(A) An ex parte, temporary, six-month, permanent, restraining, pretrial release, or sentencing order issued by a judge in this state that prohibits contact or that is pursuant to Article 7 of Chapter 5 of Title 16 or this chapter; and

(B) A foreign protective order.

(8) “Registry” means the Georgia Protective Order Registry.

19-13-52. Georgia Protective Order Registry; creation, purpose, maintenance, contents, access, links

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) The Georgia Protective Order Registry shall be created to serve as a state-wide, centralized data base for the collection of protective orders. The registry is intended to enhance victim safety by providing law enforcement officers, prosecuting attorneys, and the courts access to protective orders issued by the courts of this state and foreign courts 24 hours of the day and seven days of the week. Access to the registry is intended to aid law enforcement officers, prosecuting attorneys, and the courts in the enforcement of protective orders and the protection to victims.

(b) The registry shall be maintained by the Georgia Crime Information Center. The Georgia Commission on Family Violence may consult with the Georgia Crime Information Center regarding the effectiveness of the registry in enhancing the safety of victims.

(c) The registry shall include a complete and systematic record and index of all protective orders and modifications thereof. Law enforcement officers and the courts shall have access to the registry.

(d) The registry shall be linked to the National Crime Information Center Network, and protective orders or modifications thereof entered in the registry shall be immediately transmitted to such network.

19-13-53. Standardized form for protective orders; electronic transmittal and maintenance of orders

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) The courts of this state shall use a standardized form or forms for the issuance of any protective order. The form or forms shall be promulgated by the Uniform Superior Court Rules. The standardized form or forms for protective orders shall be in conformity with the provisions of this Code, shall be subject to the approval of the Georgia Crime Information Center and the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority as to form and format, and shall contain, at a minimum, all information required for entry of protective orders into the registry and the National Crime Information Center Protection Order File. The Administrative Office of the Courts shall distribute the forms. A court may modify the standardized form to comply with the court’s application of the law and facts to an individual case. The form or forms shall contain, at a minimum, all information that is required for entry of protective orders into the registry and the National Crime Information Center Protection Order file.

(b) The clerk of the issuing court shall electronically transmit a copy of the protective order or modification thereof to the registry as expeditiously as possible but no later than by the end of the next business day after the order is filed with the clerk of court. In the event of electronic failure, the clerk of court shall immediately notify the Georgia Crime Information Center which shall authorize an alternative method of transmitting the protective order or modification thereof to the registry.

(c) The Georgia Crime Information Center shall ensure that any protective order or modification thereof is entered in the registry within 24 hours of receipt of the protective order or modification thereof from the clerk of court. The inability to enter information for all data fields in the registry shall not delay the entry of available information.

(d) The sheriff’s department shall be responsible for the validation of all National Crime Information Center protective order entries made on its behalf by the superior court clerk’s office in accordance with the validation steps established by the Georgia Crime Information Center and the National Crime Information Center. All registry entries shall be validated in accordance with the file retention schedule established by the National Crime Information Center. The sheriff shall respond to and confirm “HIT” confirmation requests based upon the records maintained in the sheriff’s office.

(e) The entry of a protective order in the registry shall not be a prerequisite for enforcement of a protective order.

19-13-54. Foreign protective orders

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) A petitioner who obtains a foreign protective order may file that order by filing a certified copy of the foreign protective order with any clerk of court of the superior court in this state.

(b) Filing shall be without fee or cost.

(c) The clerk of court shall provide the petitioner with a receipt bearing proof of submission of the foreign protective order for entry in the registry.

(d) The clerk of court shall transmit to the registry a copy of the foreign protective order in the same manner as provided in Code Section 19-13-53.

(e) Foreign protective orders shall not be required to be contained on a standardized form or forms in order to be entered in the registry.

(f) Filing and registry of the foreign protective order in the registry shall not be prerequisites for enforcement of the foreign protective order in this state.

19-13-55. Confidentiality of information

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

Any individual, agency, or court which obtains information from the registry shall keep such information or parts thereof confidential, and shall not disseminate or disclose such information, or parts thereof, except as authorized in this article or otherwise by law. Violation of this Code section shall be a misdemeanor.

19-13-56. Immunity from civil liability

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) The state and any local or state law enforcement officer, court official, or official of the registry shall be held harmless for any delay or failure to file a protective order or modification thereof, to transmit information contained in a protective order or modification thereof, or to enter such information in the registry.

(b) The state and any local or state law enforcement officer, court official, or official of the registry shall be held harmless for acting in reliance upon information registered in the registry or information received for the purpose of entry in the registry.

Title 44. Property

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

Chapter 7. Landlord and Tenant

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

Article 1. In General

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

44-7-23. Definitions; rental or lease agreements; applicability

Updated: 
August 28, 2019

(a) As used in this Code section, the term:

(1) “Civil family violence order” means:

(A) Any protective order issued pursuant to Article 1 of Chapter 13 of Title 19, provided that the respondent was present or had notice of the hearing that resulted in the issuance of such order; or

(B) Any ex parte temporary protective order issued pursuant to Article 1 of Chapter 13 of Title 19, provided that it is accompanied by a police report showing a basis for such order.

(2) “Criminal family violence order” means:

(A) Any order of pretrial release issued as a result of an arrest for an act of family violence; or

(B) Any order for probation issued as a result of a conviction or plea of guilty, nolo contendere, or first offender to an act of family violence.

(3) “Family violence” shall have the same meaning as set forth in Code Section 19-13-1.

(b) A tenant may terminate his or her residential rental or lease agreement for real estate effective 30 days after providing the landlord with a written notice of termination when a civil family violence order or criminal family violence order has been issued:

(1) Protecting such tenant or his or her minor child; or

(2) Protecting such tenant when he or she is a joint tenant, or his or her minor child, even when such protected tenant had no obligation to pay rent to the landlord.

(c) The notice to the landlord pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section shall be accompanied by a copy of the applicable civil family violence order or criminal family violence order and a copy of the police report if such order was an ex parte temporary protective order.

(d) Upon termination of a residential rental or lease agreement under this Code section, the tenant may occupy the real estate until the termination is effective. Such tenant shall be liable for the rent due under such agreement prorated to the effective date of the termination, payable at such time as would have otherwise been required by the terms of such agreement, and for any delinquent or unpaid rent or other sums owed to the landlord prior to the termination of such agreement. The tenant shall not be liable for any other fees, rent, or damages due to the early termination of the tenancy as provided for in this Code section. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, if a tenant terminates a residential rental or lease agreement pursuant to this Code section 14 or more days prior to occupancy, no damages or penalties of any kind will be assessable.

(e) This Code section shall apply to all residential real estate rental or lease agreements entered into on or after July 1, 2018, and to any renewals, modifications, or extensions of such agreements in effect on such date. This Code section shall not be waived or modified by the agreement of the parties under any circumstances.