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Why Might Someone Be Removed from the Sex Offender Registry in Georgia?

There are several reasons allowed by the legislature for getting removed from Georgia’s sex offender registry. If someone has become fully disabled, as defined by the law, they are eligible to get off the registry. If they are in hospice or a nursing home, then it’s possible. If the conviction range of an offense is changed from a felony to a misdemeanor by the legislature, then it is possible. If it’s a kidnapping charge or false imprisonment of a minor that does not have a sexual component to it, it can be possible, and then there is a discretionary provision if certain conditions are met.

Can Someone Still Be Ineligible To Be Removed Even If One Or More Conditions Are Met?

Individuals who have been classified by Georgia’s Sex Offender Registry Review Board as Level 2 or Level 3 are not eligible for removal. Additionally, even if all the qualifications are met, it’s still up to a judge’s discretion.

What Is The Process To Petition For A Release From The Sex Offender Registry In Georgia?

First, we make sure that the person is qualified and eligible. As a preliminary matter, their sentence has to be completely over. That means that they are not on probation or parole, all confinement time has been served, and everything is done. In addition to the sentence being over, either 10 years has to have elapsed from the time that the sentence was completed or they have to have been leveled by the Sex Offender Registry Review Board as a Level 1 offender, which is the lowest classification. If it’s sooner than 10 years since the sentence has been completed, it’s still possible to go forward but the person has to be leveled by the review board. In addition, there are certain factors the judge looks at in the original case which has put them on the sex offender registry. There are certain factual findings that cannot have been made or alleged during the original court case.

For example, the person cannot have had a conviction for a sexual offense either before or after the offense that put them on the registry. A sexual offense with a different person or different situation cannot have been presented to the court as a similar transaction or as part of the case. If there was a use of a weapon during the offense, the person doesn’t qualify. If the victim suffered physical harm at any time during the offense, the person does not qualify. If there was physical restraint of the victim during the offense, the person does not qualify. If the person transported the victim as part of the offense, they also don’t qualify. Additionally, a petition for removal from registry cannot have been filed within the previous two years.

Once you meet all the qualifications, the procedure is to file a petition in the county where the offense happened. People who are convicted in a different state have to file in their county of residence. Once you file a petition draft with the clerk of the court, you have to serve it on the sheriff and the District Attorney. Usually, the court will leave the case open for at least 30 days for either the DA or the sheriff to file a response. For either the DA or sheriff to file a written response would be highly unusual. Then, a court date will be set. The statute allows for the judge to simply grant it or deny it, based on the proceedings of the petitions filed.

In practice, the judges actually want to put eyes on that person and look at them before they actually make their decision about something like this, so a court date will be set. If the petition is granted, the order granting the petition has to be served on the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, the local county sheriff, the Department of Corrections, and the probation department. Information is usually removed from the registry within hours.

Do I Need An Attorney To Get Myself Removed From The Sex Offender Registry In Georgia?

You are not legally required to have an attorney to get removed from the registry, but it’s a good idea for a couple of reasons. First, the process is very technical and if you don’t follow everything to the letter, you can be barred from filing a future petition for at least two years. In addition to meeting all the technical requirements, these types of cases are more of an art form. It’s about humanizing the individual to the court, showing the judge rehabilitation and showing them a different side of the person. If someone just goes and does it themselves, they are likely to not hit those points. Lawyers who have done these types of petitions before will know the process and how to set it up to be successful based on whatever the facts and circumstances of the underlying case are.

Additional Information On Removal From Georgia’s Sex Offender Registry

One of the things judges look at with a petition is the time period after the individual was convicted of a sex offense. They are looking to see if you got out and committed other crimes. Are you on probation for something else? Have you ever been convicted of failing to register as a sex offender? None of those things are legally disqualifying but the judges want to see that the individual has tried their best, under the restrictions of the registry, to reintegrate into society. Having multiple convictions of misdemeanors, felonies, or both is seriously going to hurt your chances of getting a benefit like registry removal approved.

For more information on Removal From Georgia’s Sex Offender Registry, Your Initial Case Assessment is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (678) 726-5400 today.

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