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Official Opinion 2005-7

Official Opinion 2005-7

December 20, 2005
To: 

Deputy Director, Georgia Crime Information Center

Re: 

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

You have requested my opinion concerning whether any of the following twelve misdemeanor offenses enacted during the 2003 Session of the General Assembly should be designated as offenses for which persons charged with violations are to be fingerprinted.

Those offenses include: O.C.G.A. § 4-4-6(a) (knowing introduction of foreign animal disease); O.C.G.A. § 4-4-6(b) (failure to report certain animal diseases, syndromes, or conditions); O.C.G.A. § 16-5-95(a) (violation of a family violence order); O.C.G.A. § 16-9-58 (failure to pay for agricultural products or chattels with fraudulent intent-less than $500.00); O.C.G.A. § 16-12-125(a) (avoiding or interfering with a security measure); O.C.G.A. § 40-5-159(b) (employer reporting fraudulent information regarding an employee’s employment or experience in violation of 49 C.F.R. Part 383); O.C.G.A. § 40-6-10 (no proof of insurance); O.C.G.A. § 40-6-326 (operating electric personal assistive mobility device while under the influence of liquor or drugs); O.C.G.A. § 43-4B-21(c) (unlawful unarmed combat); O.C.G.A. § 43-5-7 (acting as an athletic trainer without a license); O.C.G.A. § 43-50-45(a) (practicing veterinary medicine without a license); and O.C.G.A. § 46-5-27(f)(2) (compiling and disseminating information from a telephone subscriber database for illegitimate purposes).

In addition to the list of fingerprintable offenses mandated by statute, O.C.G.A. § 35-3-33(a)(1)(A)(v) provides that the Attorney General may designate any other offense as one for which those charged with violations are to be fingerprinted.

The first misdemeanor offense is O.C.G.A. § 4-4-6(a). That Code section provides that it shall be a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature knowingly to introduce into this state any foreign animal disease or any animal disease, syndrome, chemical, poison, or toxin that may pose a substantial threat of harm to the state’s animal industries. The 2003 amendment makes the knowing introduction of such diseases, syndromes, or conditions which pose a substantial threat to the animal industries a misdemeanor offense of a high and aggravated nature. I hereby designate offenses arising under O.C.G.A. § 4-4-6(a) as offenses for which those charged are to be fingerprinted.

The second misdemeanor offense is O.C.G.A. § 4-4-6(b). That Code section provides that any person who makes a clinical diagnosis or laboratory confirmation of or who reasonably suspects the presence or occurrence of any one of a number of listed diseases, syndromes, or conditions, including an unusual number of acute deaths, or highly infectious or contagious conditions in animals, shall make a report of said disease, syndrome or condition to the state veterinarian or the United States Department of Agriculture area veterinarian in charge. The 2003 amendment removed the defense of good faith and declared the failure to report a misdemeanor. I hereby designate offenses arising under O.C.G.A. § 4-4-6(b) as offenses for which those charged are to be fingerprinted.

The third misdemeanor offense is O.C.G.A. § 16-5-95(a). That Code section provides that it shall be a misdemeanor for any person to violate a family violence order. I hereby designate offenses arising under O.C.G.A. § 16-5-95(a) as offenses for which those charged are to be fingerprinted.

The fourth misdemeanor offense is O.C.G.A. § 16-9-58. That Code section provides that it shall be a misdemeanor for any person with fraudulent intent to fail to pay for agricultural products or chattels (of a value less than $500.00) within twenty days following receipt of those products or chattels. The original statute, passed in 1983, designated the failure pay for such agricultural products or chattels a felony, which is a fingerprintable offense. The amended statute sets a $500.00 threshold below which the punishment is for a misdemeanor. In order to promote uniformity in the treatment of similar offenses which differ only in degree based upon a monetary amount, I hereby designate any misdemeanor offenses arising under O.C.G.A. § 16-9-58 as offenses for which those charged are to be fingerprinted.

The fifth misdemeanor offense is O.C.G.A. § 16-12-125(a). That Code section provides that it shall be a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature for any person to avoid or interfere with a “properly functioning” security measure. This conduct was designated a misdemeanor by the 2002 General Assembly unless the act was committed with the intent to commit a felony; the requirement that the security measure be a “properly functioning” one was added by the 2003 General Assembly. Offenses arising under O.C.G.A. § 16-12-125(a) which are committed with the intent to commit a felony are already designated as offenses for which those charged are to be fingerprinted. To promote uniformity, I hereby designate any misdemeanor offenses arising under O.C.G.A. § 16-12-125(a) as offenses for which those charged are to be fingerprinted.

The sixth misdemeanor offense is O.C.G.A. § 40-5-159(b). That Code section provides that it shall be a misdemeanor for any employer to fail to report fraudulent information regarding an employee’s employment or experience in violation of 49 C.F.R. Part 383, which establishes federal commercial driver’s license standards, requirements, and penalties. Although this section was enacted prior to 2003, it has not yet been designated as a fingerprintable offense. To promote uniformity in treatment recognizing the severity of the offense of fraudulently reporting information to a state agency, at this time I designate offenses arising under O.C.G.A. § 40-5-159(b) as offenses for which those charged are to be fingerprinted.

The seventh misdemeanor offense is O.C.G.A. § 40-6-10. That Code section provides that it shall be a misdemeanor for any person to fail to have and maintain proof of insurance on a motor vehicle. An offense arising from a violation of this Code section does not, at this time, appear to be an offense for which fingerprinting is required and I am not, at this time, designating this offense as one for which those charged are to be fingerprinted. However, subsection (c) of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-10 provides that a person who knowingly makes a false statement or certification under Code section 40 5 71 is guilty of a misdemeanor. Knowingly submitting fraudulent information to a state agency is a serious offense which could subject the person to felony charges under O.C.G.A. § 16-10-20; therefore, at this time I designate offenses arising under O.C.GA. § 40-6-10(c) only as offenses for which those charged are to be fingerprinted.

The eighth misdemeanor offense is O.C.G.A. § 40-6-326. That Code section provides that it shall be a misdemeanor for any person to operate an electric personal assistive mobility device on any highway or sidewalk while under the influence of liquor or drugs. I hereby designate offenses arising under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-326 as offenses for which those charged are to be fingerprinted.

The ninth misdemeanor offense is O.C.G.A. § 43-4B-21(c). That Code section provides that it shall be a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature for any person to engage in unarmed combat as defined in O.C.G.A. § 43-4B-1. I hereby designate offenses arising under O.C.G.A. § 43-4B-21(c) as offenses for which those charged are to be fingerprinted.

The tenth misdemeanor offense is O.C.G.A. § 43-5-7, which provides that it shall be a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature for any person to act as an athletic trainer without a license as set forth in O.C.G.A. § 43-5-7. I hereby designate offenses arising under O.C.G.A. § 43-5-7 as offenses for which those charged are to be fingerprinted.

The eleventh misdemeanor offense is O.C.G.A. § 43-50-45(a). That Code section provides that it shall be a misdemeanor for any person to engage in the practice of veterinary medicine without a license. I hereby designate offenses arising under O.C.G.A. § 43-50-45(a) as offenses for which those charged are to be fingerprinted.

The twelfth misdemeanor offense is O.C.G.A. § 46-5-27(f)(2). That Code section provides that it shall be a misdemeanor for any person to compile and disseminate information from the telephone subscriber database established under this Code section. While I understand that much of the information contained in the data base has been merged into the later established federal data base, the offense of compiling and disseminating potentially sensitive information appears to be one for which fingerprinting is appropriate, and I hereby designate offenses arising from a violation of this Code section as offenses for which those charged are to be fingerprinted.

I trust that my revisions of the specific designations of those offenses for which persons charged with violations are to be fingerprinted will aid you in discharging your duties pursuant to the Georgia Crime Information Act.

Prepared by:

KAY BAKER
Assistant Attorney General