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HB 0479 - Criminal procedure; revise certain arrest powers; provisions

Tracking Level: Monitor
Sponsor: Albert Reeves
Last Action: 5/10/2021 - Effective Date 2021-05-10
House Committee: Judiciary
Senate Committee: Judiciary
Assigned To:
12. All CourtsNext Bill
Criminal Next Bill

Staff Analysis of the Legislation

HB 479 repeals the citizen's arrest statute and further revises certain arrest powers of both law enforcement officers outside of their jurisdiction and private citizens seeking to detain an individual.  

Law enforcement officers may make an arrest for an offense outside of their jurisdiction without a warrant if the offense is committed in an officer's presence or within an officer's immediate knowledge, when in immediate pursuit of an offender for an offense committed within the officer's jurisdiction, or while assisting another law enforcement officer in the jurisdiction of the other officer.  

Owners and employees of retail establishments may detain an individual if they have reasonably grounds to believe that the individual committed, or attempted to commit, theft by shoplifting, refund fraud, or theft by unlawful use of receipts or Universal Product Code labels. The owner of any business entity operating on their own property or on the property of others on which they are doing business, may detain an individual if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the individual committed, or attempted to commit, theft by taking or theft of services. Weight inspectors under the motor carrier compliance division of the Department of Public Safety may detain individuals when needed for purposes of his or her duties. Licensed or registered private detectives or private security businesses may similarly detail individual. Should any of these private persons detain an individual, they must either release the individual or contact law enforcement within a reasonable time. Any individual detained by these private persons who is not released shall be surrendered to a law enforcement officer with their personal belongings in the custody of the law enforcement agency. 

This bill is not construed to limit or alter any immunity or defense provided within the OCGA, Article 2 of Chapter 3 of Title 16. With the exception of circumstances involving the use of force in defense of self or others, involving use of force in defense of habitation, or involving use of force to prevent the commission of a forcible felony, private citizens who detain an individual shall not use force intended or likely to cause great bodily harm or death. They may, however, use reasonable force to the extent reasonably believed to be necessary to detain the individual. HB 479 further amends Code Section 51-7-60 to conform to the provisions created by the bill. 

Bill Summary from the State Site - Click for the State Summary Page / Click for Current Full Text