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Back to Scrap Laws Georgia Metal Scrap Statute
Current as of June 2, 2015

The State Metals Theft Laws summaries are not intended to provide or be relied as a legal advice. This material is provided to serve as a reasonable compilation of the most current state scrap laws and is intended to be a resource or supplement to, and provide ideas for, compliance with all applicable laws. The ISRI State Scrap Laws are subject to change and readers should visit http://www.isri.org/metalstheftdb to make certain they are reading the most recent version of ISRI's summaries of the State Metals Theft Laws

Please Note: Amendments by 2015 Georgia HB 461, effective July 1, 2015, are included and noted in this summary.

Materials Covered and Other Definitions

"Regulated Metal Property" means any item composed primarily of any Ferrous Metals or Nonferrous Metals and includes Aluminum Property, Copper Property, and catalytic converters but shall not include aluminum beverage containers, used beverage containers, or similar beverage containers. (HB 461 removes batteries from materials not included)

  • "Ferrous Metals" means any metals containing significant quantities of iron or steel.
  • "Nonferrous Metals" means stainless steel beer kegs and metals not containing significant quantities of iron or steel, including, without limitation, copper, brass,aluminum, bronze, lead, zinc, nickel, and alloys thereof.
  • "Aluminum Property" means aluminum forms designed to shape concrete.
  • "Copper Property" means any copper wire, copper tubing, copper pipe, or any item composed completely of copper.

"Burial Object" means any product manufactured for or used for identifying or permanently decorating a grave site, including, without limitation, monuments, markers, benches, and vases and any base or foundation on which they rest or are mounted.

"Coil" means any copper, aluminum, or aluminum-copper condensing coil or evaporation coil including its tubing or rods. Excludes coil from a window air-conditioning system, if contained within the system itself, or coil from an automobile condenser.

Vehicles, burnt copper wires and catalytic converters are subject to special purchase restrictions and reporting requirements but are not separately defined.

"Secondary Metals Recycler" means any person who is engaged in the business of paying compensation for Regulated Metal that has served its original economic purpose, whether or not engaged in converting Regulated Metal into raw material products consisting of prepared grades and having an existing or potential economic value.

"Seller" means the rightful owner of Regulated Metal or the individual authorized by the rightful owner to conduct the purchase transaction.

"Deliverer" means any individual who takes or transports Regulated Metal to the Recycler.

"Personal identification card" means a current and unexpired state driver's license or identification card, military identification card, or a current work authorization issued by the federal government, with the individual's name, address, and photograph.

(added by HB 461) "Business license" means a business license, an occupational tax certificate, and other document required by a county or municipal corporation and issued by the appropriate agency of such to engage in a profession or business.

Exemptions

Exempts purchases of Regulated Metal from:

  • Organizations, corporations, or associations registered with Georgia as charitable,philanthropic, religious, fraternal, civic, patriotic, social, or school-sponsored organizations or associations or from any nonprofit corporations or associations;
  • A law enforcement officer acting in an official capacity;
  • A manufacturing, industrial, or other commercial vendor that generates or sells Regulated Metal Property in the ordinary course of its business, provided that such vendor is not a Secondary Metals Recycler.
  • (added by HB 461) A vehicle purchased in compliance with § 40-3-36 by a used motor vehicle or used motor vehicle parts dealer licensed pursuant to Ch. 47 of Title 43.

One of the following Sellers who presents proof of such to the Recycler:

  • A trustee in bankruptcy, executor, administrator, or receiver;
  • Any public official acting under judicial process or authority;
  • A sale on the execution, or by virtue, of any process issued by a court;
Recordkeeping

A recycler must make a legible record of all Regulated Metal purchases with the following: (italicized text added by HB 461)

  • The Recycler's name and address;
  • The Date of the transaction;
  • The weight, quantity, or volume, and a description of the type of Regulated Metal (general physical description, such as wire, tubing, extrusions, or castings);
  • A digital photo or digital video image which shows the Regulated Metal in a reasonably clear manner;
  • The amount of consideration given (not to be included in Report) and a copy of the check or voucher, or documentation evidencing the electronic funds transfer;
  • The Seller's signed and sworn statement that they are the rightful owner or are authorized to sell the Regulated Metal;
  • The Seller's signed and sworn statement stating that they understand the following(reference to batteries in exemption removed by HB 461, changes references to recycler permit to "registered").

"A secondary metals recycler is any person who is engaged, from a fixed location or otherwise, in the business in this state of paying compensation for regulated metal property that has served its original economic purpose, whether or not engaged in the business of performing the manufacturing process by which regulated metal property is converted into raw material products consisting of prepared grades and having an existing or potential economic value. No ferrous metals, nonferrous metals, aluminum property, copper property, or catalytic converters (aluminum beverage containers, used beverage containers, or similar beverage containers are exempt) may be purchased by a secondary metals recycler unless such secondary metals recycler is registered pursuant to Article 14 of Chapter 1 of Title 10 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated";

  • The license tag number or VIN, state of issue, make, model, and color of the vehicle used to deliver the property (HB 461 removes reference to type of vehicle); and
  • For Coils, burnt copper wire, catalytic converters, or Burial Objects, a copy of the required documentation, reports, licenses, certificates, and/or registrations.

 The following from the Seller, and also from the Deliverer if applicable:

  • A copy of their valid personal ID card(s);
  • The distinctive number from, and type of, their personal ID card(s);
  • Their name(s) and date of birth(s)
  • Photo(s), video(s), or digital recording(s) recognizably depicting their face(s) that can be stored and transferred electronically;
Vehicles

(HB 461 replaces previous requirement to forward title or form for a motor vehicle to Dept. of Revenue within 72 hours of receiving from Seller)

For a vehicle, a Recycler shall:

  • If Section 40-3-36 is applicable, purchase the vehicle in compliance with such;
  • If Section  40-3-36 is not applicable, follow the Recordkeeping and Reporting provisions.
Coils

A Recycler may only purchase a Coil from: (italicized text added by HB 461)

  • A contractor licensed pursuant to Ch. 14 of Title 43 or by another state whose valid license the Recycler copies at the time of the purchase transaction or has on file;
  • A Seller with verifiable documentation, such as a receipt or work order, indicating that such coil is the result of a replacement performed by a licensed contractor; or
  • A Recycler who provides proof of registration pursuant to Section 10-1-359.1 and a signed statement that the required information involving the coil was provided to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation pursuant to Section  10-1-359.5 (HB 461 removes reference to "required documentation from a contractor or Seller").
Burnt Copper Wire

A Recycler may only purchase copper wire which appears to have been exposed to heat, charred, or burned in an attempt to remove insulation surrounding it from: (italicized text added by HB 461)

  • A contractor licensed pursuant to Ch. 14 of Title 43 or by another state whose valid license the Recycler copies at the time of the purchase transaction or has on file;
  • A Seller with a police report showing their real property was involved in a fire; or
  • A Recycler who provides proof of registration pursuant to Section 10-1-359.1 and a signed statement that the required information involving the wire was provided to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation pursuant to Section 10-1-359.5 (HB 461 removes reference to "required documentation from a contractor or Seller").
Catalytic Converters (added by HB 461)

A Recycler may only purchase a catalytic converter than is attached to a vehicle or is purchased from:

  • A used motor vehicle dealer or used motor vehicle parts dealer licensed pursuant to Ch. 47 of Title 43 or by any other state whose valid license the Recycler copies at the time of the purchase transaction or has on file;
  • A new motor vehicle dealer, motor vehicle repairer, or manufacturer or distributor of catalytic converters whose valid business license the Recycler copies at the time of the purchase transaction or has on file;
  • A seller with verifiable documentation, such as a receipt or work order, indicating the catalytic converter is the result of a replacement performed by a used motor vehicle dealer, new motor vehicle dealer, or motor vehicle repairer, noting the make, model, and year of the vehicle in which it was replaced, as well as a copy of the vehicle's title or registration showing ownership or interest in it;
  • A Recycler who provides proof of registration pursuant to Section 10-1-359.1 and a signed statement that the required information involving the catalytic converter was provided to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation pursuant to Section  10-1-359.5
Burial Objects

A Recycler may only purchase a Burial Object from: (italicized text added by HB 461)

  • A funeral director licensed pursuant to Ch. 18 of Title 43 or by another state whose valid license the Recycler copies at the time of the purchase transaction or has on file;
  • A cemetery owner registered pursuant to Section 10-14-4 or with another state whose valid registration the Recycler copies at the time of the purchase transaction or has on file;
  • A manufacturer or distributor of Burial Objects whose valid business license the Recycler copies at the time of the purchase transaction or has on file; (HB 461 removes requirement for authorization letter from owner/operator)
  • A Seller with verifiable documentation, such as a receipt from or contract with a licensed funeral director, registered cemetery owner, or manufacturer or distributor of burial objects, evidencing the Seller is the rightful owner; or
  • A Recycler who provides proof of registration pursuant to Section 10-1-359.1 and a signed statement that the required information involving the Burial Object was provided to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation pursuant to Section 10-1-359.5 (HB 461 removes reference to "required documentation from a funeral director, cemetery owner, manufacturer, or distributor").
Retention

A Recycler shall retain records for not less than 2 years from the transaction date.

Inspection

During a Recycler's usual and customary business hours a law enforcement officer may, after properly identifying themselves as such, inspect any and all Regulated Metal and transaction records in the Recycler's possession.

 

Reporting (italicized text added by HB 461; removes reference to effective when funded)

Effective July 1, 2015, Recyclers must provide record information, except for the amount of consideration given, electronically to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation or its designee. A Recycler who maintains a copy with the Bureau or its designee of the statements each seller must sign and swear to may provide a copy of the individual seller's signature instead of the actual statements, provided the statements are retained and are available for inspection.

The Bureau or its designee shall establish and maintain a database of reported information. Such information shall be considered a trade secret exempt from disclosure under Art. 4, Ch. 18, Title 50; this shall not relieve the Recycler of the obligation to report such to the Bureau or its designee. The database shall be accessible and searchable by:

  • All law enforcement agencies in the state; and
  • Employees of electric suppliers (Section 46-3-3) and of telecommunications companies (Section 46- 5-162), provided that such employees have been certified by the Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Council as having successfully completed the course of training required by Ch. 8 of Title 35.

The Bureau shall promulgate rules and regulations and establish procedures necessary for this section and ensure compliance with applicable federal and state laws, including:

  • The time, manner, and method of the transmittal of the information;
  • The manner and method by which employees of electric suppliers and telecommunications companies may access and search the database; and
  • The specific information the employees of electric suppliers and telecommunications companies may access and search within the database.
Payment Restrictions

No cash payments for Regulated Metal. A Recycler shall only pay for Regulated Metal by check, electronic funds transfer, or voucher, payable only to the Seller. A Recycler may not cash or redeem checks or electronic transfers or provide a redemption or cashing mechanism on site.

Vouchers may be provided to Sellers at the transaction time or mailed to the address indicated on the Seller's personal ID card. Recyclers may not redeem a voucher presented at the transaction time for 3 days from the transaction date. Vouchers may only be redeemed for cash by the Seller or their heirs or legal representative. Vouchers expire 6 months after the transaction date. A voucher must include the following:

  • Date of Purchase;
  • Seller's name;
  • Amount paid for the Regulated Metal;
  • Whether the voucher was mailed or presented at the time of purchase;
  • The first date the voucher may be redeemed;
  • The date the voucher expires.
Hold

15 calendar day hold after receipt of a written hold notice from a law enforcement officer with reasonable cause to believe Regulated Metal in the possession of the Recycler was stolen. Notice must specifically identify held items and inform Recycler of the Hold provision information. An officer can release the hold early or extend the hold for 30 days from the receipt of a written extended hold notice. Once the Hold expires a Recycler may dispose of the equipment unless otherwise ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction

 

Hours of Operation

A Recycler may not purchase or sell Regulated Metal between 7 PM and 7 AM.

Registration

A Recycler must register every year with the sheriff of each county where they maintain a place of business. An individual must register with the sheriff where they reside, or if a non-resident, the county where they intend to primarily engage as a recycler. Registration information will be entered into a statewide electronic data base established in coordination with the Secretary of State and accessible by all Georgia law enforcement

 

Contested Ownership

If a Recycler contests an ownership claim for Regulated Metal the other party may bring action in the superior or state court of the Recycler's county, provided a timely theft report had been made to the proper authorities. The petition must include a description of how the other party identified the Regulated Metal.

Penalties

Any person who purchases or sells Regulated Metals in violation of statutes (except as provided for unregistered Recyclers), or makes a false statement in executing a statement required by the Recordkeeping provision (HB 461 changes from False Swearing punishable under Section 16-10-71) is guilty of:

  • 1st offense: misdemeanor;
  • 2nd offense: misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature;
  • 3rd or subsequent: felony subject to 1 to 10 years imprisonment.

Such a person is also liable in a civil action to any victims of a crime involving such for the full value of the property, any repairs and related expenses incurred as a result of such crime, litigation expenses, and reasonable attorneys' fees.

(added by HB 461) Any person who attempts to use the database for any purpose other than the investigation of an alleged crime or conspires to do so shall be guilty of a felony punishable by:

  • 1st conviction: 1 to 5 years imprisonment and/or up to a $5,000 fine;
  • 2nd or subsequent: 5 to 10 years imprisonment and/or up to a $40,000 fine.

Failure to register as a Recycler is a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.

If a lawful owner recovers stolen Regulated Metal from a Recycler in compliance with the law and the Seller is convicted of theft by taking, theft by conversion, a violation of this article, theft by receiving stolen property, or criminal damage to property in the first degree, the court shall order the defendant make full restitution, including costs, to the Recycler or owner as appropriate.

It is unlawful to give a false or altered personal ID card, vehicle license tag number, or VIN to a Recycler as part of a purchase transaction.

Property used or intended to directly or indirectly facilitate one of the following crimes, and any weapon possessed, used, or available for use in such, is declared contraband and subject to forfeiture as set forth in Section 16-13-49:

  • Theft by taking (Section 16-8-2), theft by conversion (Section 16-8-4), or theft by receiving (Section 16-8-7) of Regulated Metal Property;
  • Criminal damage to property in the first degree in violation of Section 16-7-22.(a)(2)
  • A criminal violation of this article.

 

Preemption

Supersedes and preempts all Regulated Metal rules, regulations, codes, ordinances, and other laws by a local governmental agency except those affecting the land use and zoning of Recyclers or related to occupational taxes, occupational tax certificates, or regulatory fees.

 

©2016. The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. All rights reserved.

This summary of State Metals Theft Laws is being viewed on this website under license and is owned and copyrighted by Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. ("ISRI"),1615 L Street, N.W., Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036.