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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 From time to time, opinions may be withdrawn, revised or otherwise made obsolete.

Opinions of the Attorney General
1994 - Current

For a copy of a pre-1994 opinion, please contact the Georgia Attorney General's Office at (404) 651-5825 or by e-mail at

Opinion In Reference To

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.


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.


Investigators of the Enforcement Division who are certified as peace officers may enforce the new statute of aggravated identity fraud, O.C.G.A. § 16-9-121.1, by arrest and the execution of search warrants provided that it is the result of a criminal investigation of an alleged violation of the workers’ compensation laws of Chapter 9 of Title 34.


The five percent limitation on alternative investments for the Georgia Firefighters’ Pension Fund is to be based upon the assets’ aggregate historical cost.


In compliance with applicable statutes and the policies of the State Depository Board, the Office of the State Treasurer is empowered to enter into repurchase agreements and reverse repurchase agreements in connection with fulfilling its role related to managing the investment and liquidity needs of the State.


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


A member of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission may serve no more than one complete four year term of office, as set by law, and may for a period of less than a complete term hold over in office until his successor is duly appointed and properly takes office.


The Georgia Aviation Authority is not a law enforcement agency within the meaning of O.C.G.A. § 16‑13‑49 for the purpose of sharing in forfeiture funds


Regional and county library employees paid solely with local funds are required to be members of the Teachers Retirement System.


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


The “Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights,” O.C.G.A. § 17‑17‑1 through ‑16, has only limited application to juvenile court proceedings.


Updating of crimes and offenses for which the GeorgiaCrimeInformationCenter is authorized to collect and file fingerprints.


Unless and until the General Assembly adopts clarifying legislation, it is within the sound discretion of the TRS Board of Trustees to determine whether teachers who are employed not less than half-time by commission charter schools must be members of the Teachers Retirement System.


O.C.G.A. § 35‑3‑37(d)(1) permits both the original arresting agency and the Georgia Crime Information Center to recover reasonable fees for the actual cost of expunging arrest records and accompanying documents up to $50.00 each.


The Open Meetings Act, O.C.G.A. § 50 14 1, applies to the Drug Utilization Review Board created by the Georgia Department of Community Health.


Investigators employed by the Georgia Forestry Commission and by the Georgia Department of Agriculture are not eligible for membership in the Peace Officers Annuity and Benefit Fund.


The judicial operations fund fee imposed by O.C.G.A. § 15-21A-6.1(a) applies to the fee to be remitted to clerks of superior court for the issuance of certificates of appointment and reappointment to notaries public.


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


When the General Assembly extends a sunset date in subsection (h) of Code section 48-8-67 in the manner of 2009 Ga. Laws 723, the extended authority to process unidentifiable sales tax proceeds pursuant to the Code section applies to undisbursed, unidentifiable proceeds of a preceding period of time, which began with the earlier sunset date and ended with its extension (the ¨gap period¨).


The Georgia Department of Transportation’s authority to enter a binding contract pursuant to the former Public Private Initiatives law was revoked by the 2009 Public Private Partnership law; those projects or portions of projects which were not formalized by an executed contract with the selected firm before May 11, 2009, must be re-procured under the authority and provisions of the 2009 law.


A lawyer/legislator may represent the legal interests of a Georgia company on matters in other states, including political consulting and the drafting of legislation.  However, even where there may not be a per se conflict of interest, a lawyer/legislator must always vigilantly guard against such conflicts developing depending upon the facts and circumstances of each situation, especially where matters arise involving the lawyer/legislator’s own actions in the consideration of legislation within the General Assembly.


The state and its departments, agencies, and authorities, including the Georgia Department of Transportation and its construction projects, are not subject to the “post-development stormwater runoff” regulations or other ordinances adopted by a local government, local authority, or regional authority, including the model ordinance promulgated by the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District.


The director of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council has broad authority and is responsible for the day to day operation of the agency.   The Council’s limited responsibilities, to be carried out concurrently with the director, include setting standards, conducting audits, making financial disclosures, receiving funds, providing for legal education, reporting to the General Assembly, and providing procedures for the appointment of conflict council.


Code section 46‑2‑5 is constitutional; the Commission does not have the authority to declare the statute unconstitutional; the Commission is not free to disregard the statute; the Commission may not select a chairman for a two-year term; and a chairman whose term commences on July 1, 2009, may serve beyond January 16, 2010, only if there are no other commissioners eligible to serve as chairman under O.C.G.A. § 46‑2‑5(b)(2).


Because of the constitutional requirement that the branches of government must remain forever separate and distinct, an assistant district attorney, whether paid by a county or by the State, may not serve as a member of the General Assembly.


The City of Snellville is preempted by the Georgia Air Quality Act from adopting a comprehensive ordinance that would impose air quality related regulatory requirements and emission limitations on the operation of a crematorium.


Under general law, Georgia boards of education are not empowered to share services by creating and utilizing a nonprofit corporation such as the Consortium for Adequate School Funding in Georgia, Inc., for the purpose of challenging state school funding by litigation or otherwise.


The General Assembly was authorized to place the GPDSC in the executive branch and a suit by GPDSC, whether by pro bono counsel or otherwise, against the State for so placing the GPDSC in the executive branch (or for any other reason) would be ultra vires and illegal.


Updating of crimes and offenses for which the GeorgiaCrimeInformationCenter is authorized to collect and file fingerprints.


Vacancies in the offices of mayor and council members for the City of Willacoochee should be filled by special election held on a statutorily authorized date and not by appointment of the remaining members of the city council.


Georgia law prohibits the Office of Child Support Services from honoring a request from a custodial parent to disburse any portion of child support monies it receives to a private collection agency.


The enforcement provisions of O.C.G.A. § 40‑6‑253 remain in effect, including for bottles of wine resealed pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 3‑6‑4, and the 2008 changes in Georgia law were not intended to and did not authorize carrying open alcoholic beverage containers in the passenger area of vehicles.


Fingerprinting in regard to 2008 legislative amendments to O.C.G.A. § 40‑5‑20 and O.C.G.A. § 40‑5‑121.


The Department’s probation staff may assist prosecuting attorneys in obtaining necessary reports and files and in creating delinquency petitions but may not conduct an accusatory proceeding.  The Department’s probation staff must also comply with valid court orders issued pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15‑11‑24.2(6).


The amount required to be withheld and paid over to the Peace Officers’ Annuity and Benefit Fund in criminal or quasi-criminal cases for violation of state statutes, county ordinances, or municipal ordinances is not required to be withheld and paid over in cases involving the failure to wear a seat safety belt in a motor vehicle under O.C.G.A. § 40-8-76.1(e).