On May 20, 2010, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue signed HB 571 into law. That legislation made important changes to the law governing sex offender registration. Included in these changes is a provision that permits certain individuals who were convicted of a sexual offense in the past to be removed from the registry.
Anyone convicted of a sexual offense involving a minor or a dangerous sexual offense must register in Georgia. This applies to Georgia residents convicted in Georgia and in other states.
What are the Requirements?
It is possible to be removed from the registry, but there are quite a few requirements that must be satisfied for you to be considered for removal.
First, you must have completed your entire sentence. Your sentence includes the prison portion, any term of parole, and any probation. Once your entire sentence is complete you may seek removal from the Sex Offender Registry if 1) Ten years have elapsed since the conclusion of your sentence OR 2) You have been classified as a Level I Risk Assesment Classification.
The legislature has outlined six other factors that determine your eligibility for removal from the registry.
- You must not have any other convictions for sexual crimes or crimes against a minor.
- You must not have used a deadly weapon during the commission of the act for which you were convicted.
- The Court must find no evidence of a similar transaction.
- The victim in your case must have not suffered any intentional physical harm.
- You must not have transported the victim.
- The victim must not have been physically restrained during
You should answer these questions as you prepare to meet with your attorney about removal.
Ok, I am eligible to be removed. What happens next?
Next, you (preferably your attorney) must file a petition for removal from the registry. You must file the petition in the county in which you were convicted if the conviction was in Georgia. If the conviction was in another state then you must file the petition in the county which you reside.
Then there will be a hearing. At the hearing, the judge must determine first that you meet the requirements set forth above and that you are eligible to be removed. You must prove to the judge that it is more likely than not that you do not pose a substantial risk of committing another sexual offense.
After that, you, the petitioner, may introduce any evidence that you wish to introduce to the court. This evidence could take many shapes, including work history, character witnesses and how well you complied with probation/parole.
I believe it is critical that you consult with a psychiatrist and likely have a psychosexual evaluation done. A positive evaluation and expert testimony from a medical doctor can be compelling testimony to the trial court judge. The judge is going to make a determination of whether he or she believes you may be a risk to the community.
The district attorney or the sheriff will also have the opportunity to present evidence at this hearing. Prosecutors and law enforcement are opposed to these removals and at this hearing, you will likely hear a lot of evidence relating to your conviction.
This blog is authored by Ryan Brown of J. Ryan Brown Law, LLC. Ryan is more than happy to help you with your petition for removal from the Sex Offender Registry. Visit the firm website at www.jryanbrowlaw.com or give the office a call at (470) 635-1725 to set up your consultation.