(a) Any person or entity knowingly and willfully violating the provisions of this article by failing or refusing to provide access to records not subject to exemption from this article, by knowingly and willingly failing or refusing to provide access to such records within the time limits set forth in this article, or by knowingly and willingly frustrating or attempting to frustrate the access to records by intentionally making records difficult to obtain or review shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 for the first violation. Alternatively, a civil penalty may be imposed by the court in any civil action brought pursuant to this article against any person who negligently violates the terms of this article in an amount not to exceed $1,000.00 for the first violation. A civil penalty or criminal fine not to exceed $2,500.00 per violation may be imposed for each additional violation that the violator commits within a 12 month period from the date the first penalty or fine was imposed. It shall be a defense to any criminal action under this Code section that a person has acted in good faith in his or her actions. In addition, persons or entities that destroy records for the purpose of preventing their disclosure under this article may be subject to prosecution under Code Section 45-11-1 .
(b) A prosecution under this Code section may only be commenced by issuance of a citation in the same manner as an arrest warrant for a peace officer pursuant to Code Section 17-4-40 ; such citation shall be personally served upon the accused. The defendant shall not be arrested prior to the time of trial, except that a defendant who fails to appear for arraignment or trial may thereafter be arrested pursuant to a bench warrant and required to post a bond for his or her future appearance.
Cite this article: FindLaw.com - Georgia Code Title 50. State Government § 50-18-74 - last updated April 14, 2021 | https://codes.findlaw.com/ga/title-50-state-government/ga-code-sect-50-18-74.html
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