One of the duties of the Attorney General is to give his legal opinion, when required to do so by the Governor, on any question of law connected with the interest of the state or with the duties of any of the departments. O.C.G.A. § 45-15-3(1). However, to avoid having the Governor endorse all requests for opinions originating within the departments of the state, the Attorney General receives requests for opinions directly from the heads of the executive departments.

The Attorney General will also provide opinions to other state officers, such as legislators, judges or district attorneys. The Attorney General does not generally provide legal advice, opinions or representation to county or municipal governments or officials, but will on request review the written legal opinions and conclusions of counsel for local governments.

Opinions issued to the Governor and the heads of the executive departments are classified as "Official Opinions." Those issued to other state officers (such as legislators, judges or district attorneys) are classified as "Unofficial Opinions." Additionally, from time to time the Attorney General will approve interstate compacts or issue position papers on questions of state law. Those documents are published along with the opinions of the Attorney General.

This presentation of the opinions of the Georgia Attorney General is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice to the general public. From time to time, opinions may be withdrawn, revised or otherwise made obsolete.


Opinion In Reference To

The Ethics in Government Act limits the authority of the Commission as to which offices may have their contribution limits adjusted in a particular year.  The Commission may raise or lower contribution limits only in set increments of $100, depending on the inflation or deflation rates of the Consumer Price Index. The Commission must adjust Contribution limits for primaries, primary run-offs, general elections, and general election run-offs, only after the conclusion of the election cycle for that particular office. For special elections, special election run-offs, and recall elections, the Commission may adjust those limits only once every four years.  The Commission cannot delegate its authority to set contribution limits to commission staff.  Finally, the Commission is not authorized to increase or decrease the contribution limits applicable to a particular election for a particular office more than once during the election cycle for that particular office, whether the office be state-wide, county, or municipal.


The term “state” as used specifically in O.C.G.A. § 40-5-27(a)(3)(A) includes territories of the United States such that persons from the territories who are applying for a driver’s license and who otherwise satisfy the conditions of the statute may be exempted from the on-the-road driving test and the knowledge test.


Supplemental 2019 update of crimes and offenses for which the Georgia Crime Information Center is authorized to collect and file fingerprints.



2019 update of crimes and offenses for which the Georgia Crime Information Center is authorized to collect and file fingerprints.


The provisions of the City of Canton’s ordinance that prohibit the sale of dogs and cats, among other things, conflict with and are preempted by the Georgia Animal Protection Act and the rules promulgated thereunder.


The Department of Public Safety is not authorized to establish maximum rates for the removal and storage of motor vehicles pursuant to the Abandoned Motor Vehicle Act beyond its regulatory authority as set forth in O.C.G.A. § 44-1-13


2018 update of crimes and offenses for which the Georgia Crime Information Center is authorized to collect and file fingerprints.


Simultaneously serving as a legislator and a deputy sheriff violates the Georgia Constitution’s separation of powers provision and potentially violates other constitutional provisions and common law rules governing conflicts of interest.



The Georgia National Guard is a law enforcement agency eligible to share in proceeds of drug‑related forfeitures and 1995 Op. Att’y Gen. 95‑29 describing the legal authority to do so is modified to reflect changes and current Georgia law, including the adoption of the “Georgia Uniform Civil Forfeiture Procedure Act.”


Georgia law does not require a vehicle travelling on a three or five lane road divided by a center turn lane to stop for a school bus that is stopped on the opposite side of the road with its visual signals engaged.


After July 1, 2018, only persons who are licensed as "lactation consultants" in Georgia or who meet one of the Georgia Lactation Consultant Practice Act's exceptions to licensure may provide "lactation care and services" as that term is defined by the Act.


Notwithstanding whether a person has a license to carry a weapon, Georgia law separately prohibits individuals from carrying weapons into both faculty, staff and administrative offices, as well as any room on a school campus in which disciplinary proceedings are conducted.


While Georgia law permits certain law enforcement personnel and others to carry firearms into a courthouse building, a judge may still control who may enter and carry firearms within his or her own courtroom.


The Georgia Cemetery and Funeral Services Act requires a cemetery to make deposits to a perpetual care trust fund based on a percentage of the sales price of any burial right, cemetery lot, grave space, niche, mausoleum, columbarium, urn, or crypt sold by a cemetery and prohibits a cemetery from charging an additional fee or add-on to the customer.


Convictions for violations of O.C.G.A. §§ 40‑6‑391(2), (4), (6), and 40‑5‑151 (2016) should be reported by the Clerk to the Department of Driver Services (“DDS”).  Convictions for violations of O.C.G.A. §§ 16‑13‑30(b), 16‑13‑31, and 16‑13‑31.1 (2016) should be reported to DDS only upon the clerk’s determination that the conviction meets the mandate of O.C.G.A. § 40‑5‑54(a)(2).


Updating of crimes and offenses for which the Georgia Crime Information Center is authorized to collect and file fingerprints.


There is no conflict between O.C.G.A. § 31‑12‑12(c) (Supp. 2016), which prohibits dispensing contact lenses or spectacles without a prescription, and O.C.G.A. § 43‑29‑14(b) (2016), which authorizes a licensed dispensing optician to duplicate lenses without a prescription, and a licensed dispensing optician still has the authority to duplicate and dispense lenses without a prescription.


A master’s level social work graduate from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education may provide social work services without a license as long as such person does not hold himself or herself out as being licensed or use words, letters, titles, images, or figures stating or implying licensure.


Changes to Chapter 4, Title 43 of the Official Code of Georgia that were instituted through the passage of HB 231, 2010 Ga. Laws 748, authorize registered interior designers to submit plans under seal to local building authorities for permitting approval of nonstructural interior construction, so long as they do not involve construction that would trigger the restrictions as outlined in O.C.G.A. § 25‑2‑14(a)(1) (2014).


Local governments are not empowered to require licensing of wholesalers of alcoholic beverages that take orders for sales and make deliveries of alcoholic beverages within those local governments, but do not have locations or offices within the boundaries of those local governments.


Updating of crimes and offenses for which the Georgia Crime Information Center is authorized to collect and file fingerprints


Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses do not have access to the GAPDMP database specifically as dispensers or as individuals authorized to dispense prescriptions for controlled substances, but may be able to access the GAPDMP database as delegates of physicians who have the authority to prescribe or dispense.


A physician licensed by the Georgia Composite Medical Board is required to report to the Board a payment made as a result of a high-low agreement in a medical malpractice case, even if there is a judgment in favor of the physician.


A judicial secretary appointed pursuant to O.C.G.A. §15‑6‑25 may not simultaneously serve the same court as an official court reporter.


Because neither the Constitution nor the Act’s provisions authorize or contemplate a cap on assistance grants based on the total exemption value of forest land conservation use property, the Department of Revenue would not be authorized to impose an administrative cap on assistance grants issued pursuant to the Forest Land Protection Act of 2008 in the manner proposed.


The Secretary of State and the Georgia Board of Nursing have related but separate, distinguishable roles with respect to the selection of the executive director of the Board.  The Secretary of State has the authority to select which qualified candidate or candidates to submit to the Board for its approval, and the Board has the authority to approve from the submitted candidate or candidates who may be appointed to serve as its executive director.


To the extent 2002 Op. Att’y Gen. 2002-5 is inconsistent with O.C.G.A. § 9‑16‑21, it is withdrawn.


The mere possession of another voter’s absentee ballot does not constitute unlawful possession of an absentee ballot under either O.C.G.A. § 21‑2‑385(a) or § 21‑2‑574.


County and municipal governments may issue notices of fees due for statutory late filings by candidates and committees under the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act of 2010, but those governments are not authorized otherwise to enforce the provisions of the Act or to retain any portion of the late fees imposed under the Act.


An appointment to the DeKalb County Audit Oversight Committee may not be rescinded and the appointee may not be removed from her position without following the procedures outlined under the law.


Updating of crimes and offenses for which the Georgia Crime Information Center is authorized to collect and file fingerprints.


Both federal law and the State’s agreement to act as the state refugee resettlement coordinator prevent the State from denying federally-funded benefits to Syrian refugees lawfully admitted into the United States.


Updating of crimes and offenses for which the Georgia Crime Information Center is authorized to collect and file fingerprints.


Political subdivisions may establish payroll deduction programs for public employees provided that there is statutory authority to do so and that the programs are not unconstitutional gratuities.


A member of the Georgia General Assembly may not serve as a municipal court judge.


Only the Governor has the authority to fill the temporary vacancy created by the suspension of a Harris County commissioner pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 45‑5‑6.


A local Historic Preservation Commission does not have the authority to regulate the alteration of the exterior paint color of a building within a historic district.


Fingerprintable Offense Designation


The state, its departments, agencies, and authorities, including the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission and its construction projects,[1] are not required to seek and obtain permits for post-development stormwater handling or to enter stormwater facility maintenance agreements; neither the issuance of land-disturbance permits nor connection to the local storm sewer may be conditioned on the state’s compliance with local post-development stormwater requirements.  Local governments may require payment by the state of a tap or impact fee as a condition of connecting the local storm sewer.


Based on the relevant statutory language, the Jekyll Island State Park Authority does not have discretion to adopt the “65/35 Task Force” Recommendation to the extent that it uses a measurement reference point other than Mean High Tide.


While the Immigration Enforcement Review Board should act with due diligence and hold hearings within a reasonable period of time from the date that a complaint is received by the Board, the Board is under no statutory deadline to hold a hearing on the merits of a complaint filed pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 50‑36‑3 within a specified period of time from the date that the complaint is received.


Intergovernmental agreements for the provision of misdemeanor probation services


Updating of crimes and offenses for which the Georgia Crime Information Center is authorized to collect and file fingerprints.


The images and data in the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority’s statewide online information system for deeds, liens, and plats are subject to disclosure under the Open Records Act, but the Authority may charge fees in accordance with a fee schedule adopted pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15‑6‑94.


Disposition of surplus proceeds from the sale of forfeited or abandoned weapons pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 17-5-52.1 should be made to the general fund of the political subdivision that disposed of such weapons.


Disposition of surplus proceeds from the sale of forfeited or abandoned weapons pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 17-5-52.1 should be made to the general fund of the political subdivision that disposed of such weapons.


Costs collected under O.C.G.A. § 9‑11‑55 as a condition precedent to opening cases in default should be held in the court registry pending disposition of the case, and then the monies should be disbursed to the prevailing party based on the judgment or dismissal.


Inmate firefighters should be considered volunteer firefighters as defined in O.C.G.A. § 25-4-3(9) (Supp. 2011) and not a separate category. The Georgia Firefighter Standards and Training Council has the authority to set minimum requirements for volunteer firefighters, the category to which inmates belong, serving as firefighters on fire departments as defined in O.C.G.A. § 25-3-21(2)(B) and to establish and modify by rule and regulation minimum requirements for such fire departments generally, regardless of whether they are staffed solely or partially with inmate firefighters.


The Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act provides authority for Columbia County to assume jurisdiction over matters of juvenile delinquency occurring on the Fort Gordon military installation, except under those circumstances where the federal authority makes a certification under 18 U.S.C. § 5032 that the state system cannot assume such jurisdiction.


An absent municipality cannot be forced under O.C.G.A. § 48-8-89 to accept a smaller percentage of the local option sales and use tax proceeds distributed to all qualified municipalities in the county than the percentage the absent municipality’s population is of the total population of all such qualified municipalities.