2018 Georgia Code
Title 31 - Health
Chapter 2 - Department of Community Health
§ 31-2-13. Inspection warrant
(a) As used in this Code section, the term "commissioner" means the commissioner of community health or his or her designee.
(b) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to require an inspection warrant when a warrantless inspection is authorized by law or pursuant to a rule or regulation enacted pursuant to this title.
(c) An inspection warrant is an order, in writing, signed by a judicial officer, directed to the commissioner or any person authorized to make inspections for such commissioner and commanding him or her to conduct an inspection required or authorized by:
(1) This title;
(2) Any other law administered by the commissioner;
(3) Rules or regulations promulgated pursuant to this title; or
(4) Rules or regulations promulgated pursuant to any other law administered by the commissioner.
(d) The commissioner or any person authorized to make inspections for such commissioner shall make application for an inspection warrant to a person who is a judicial officer within the meaning of Code Section 17-5-21.
(e) (1) An inspection warrant shall be issued only upon cause and when supported by an affidavit which:
(A) Particularly describes the place, dwelling, structure, premises, or vehicle to be inspected;
(B) Particularly describes the purpose for which the inspection is to be made; and
(C) Contains either a statement that consent to inspect has been sought and refused or facts or circumstances reasonably justifying the failure to seek such consent.
(2) Cause to support the issuance of an inspection warrant shall be deemed to exist if:
(A) Reasonable legislative or administrative standards for conducting a routine or area inspection are satisfied with respect to the particular place, dwelling, structure, premises, or vehicle; or
(B) There is reason to believe that a condition of nonconformity exists with respect to the particular place, dwelling, structure, premises, or vehicle.
(f) An inspection warrant shall be effective for the time specified therein, but not for a period of more than 14 days, unless extended or renewed by the judicial officer who signed and issued the original warrant, upon satisfaction that such extension or renewal is in the public interest. Such inspection warrant shall be executed and returned to the judicial officer by whom it was issued within the time specified in such warrant or within the extended or renewed time. After the expiration of such time, the inspection warrant, unless executed, shall be void.
(g) An inspection pursuant to an inspection warrant:
(1) May be executed at any time as deemed appropriate by the individual executing such warrant but whenever possible shall be made at any time during operating or regular business hours;
(2) Should not be performed in the absence of an owner or occupant of the particular place, dwelling, structure, premises, or vehicle being inspected unless specifically authorized by the judicial officer upon a showing that such authority is reasonably necessary to effectuate the purpose of the law, rule, or regulation being enforced; and
(3) Shall not be made by means of forcible entry, except that the judicial officer may expressly authorize a forcible entry when facts are shown:
(A) Which are sufficient to create a reasonable suspicion of a violation of this title or any other law, rule, or regulation administered by the commissioner or the department, which, if such violation existed, would be an immediate threat to health or safety; or
(B) Establishing that a reasonable attempt to serve a previous inspection warrant has been unsuccessful.
(h) When prior consent for an inspection has been sought and refused and an investigation warrant has been issued, an inspection warrant may be executed without further notice to the owner or occupant of the particular place, dwelling, structure, premises, or vehicle being inspected.
(i) It shall be unlawful for any owner, operator, or employee of the particular place, dwelling, structure, premises, or vehicle being inspected to refuse to allow an inspection pursuant to an inspection warrant issued as provided in this Code section. Any person violating this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.