Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

(a) As used in this Code section, the term: (1) Armed forces of the United States means the army, navy, air force, marine corps, or coast guard and the reserve components thereof and the uniformed components of the Public Health Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (2) Military decoration means: (A) A medal, decoration, badge, or ribbon authorized by law, executive order, or regulation to be awarded to a member of the armed forces of the United States by the President of the United States, Congress, the United States Department of Defense, or the United States Department of Homeland Security; (B) A medal, decoration, badge, or ribbon authorized by law, executive order, or regulation to be awarded to members of the organized militia; or (C) A rosette or metal lapel button depicting a medal, decoration, badge, or ribbon described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of this paragraph which is authorized by law, executive order, or regulation to be worn on civilian clothing. (3) Military medal award shall have the same meaning as provided for under Code Section 40-2-85.1. (4) Military veteran means a current, former, or retired member of the armed forces of the United States, the organized militia, or a state military force of another state. (5) Organized militia means the Army National Guard, the Air National Guard, the Georgia Naval Militia, and the State Defense Force. (6) Tangible benefit means: (A) A benefit, preference, service, or other thing of value offered to a military veteran which is enhanced or offered at a reduced rate or free of charge by an agency of this state, or any political subdivision or authority thereof, based on such military veteran’s service or the award of a military decoration; (B) Employment or promotion in an individual’s employment; or (C) Election to public office.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any individual, with the intent to secure a tangible benefit for himself or herself, to make a false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation that such individual is a military veteran or recipient of a military decoration.

(c) It shall be unlawful for any individual, with the intent to deceive, to appear in a court of this state while wearing: (1) The uniform of the armed forces of the United States or of the organized militia of this state if such individual is not authorized to wear such uniform; or (2) Any military decoration which such individual has not, in fact, been awarded.

(d) Any person who violates this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor; provided, however, that if such violation involves a military medal award, such person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.

(e) Any violation of this Code section shall be considered a separate offense and shall not merge with any other offense. If an individual is convicted of a violation of Code Section 16-10-20 and this Code section arising out of the same incident, any penalty imposed for a violation of this Code section shall be served consecutively to any sentence that may be imposed for a violation of Code Section 16-10-20.