Georgia has some of the toughest sex offender penalties in the nation, which can make it difficult to mitigate sex crime charges. However, if a case is weak from the state’s perspective, then they may negotiate the charge to a lesser offense or something that is non-sexual and that doesn’t require lifelong sex offender registration. A common example we see is a child molestation charge negotiated down to either a sexual battery charge or a cruelty to children charge, neither of which would require registration on the Sexual Offender Registry.
Most of the sex offenses carry a potential life sentence, which in Georgia means 30 years until you are eligible for parole. Even worse, there are mandatory minimums that have to be served. There is a relief valve that the legislature put in place a couple of years back that allows a prosecutor or the judge to dip below the mandatory minimum if certain factors are met, such as no prior sex convictions, no weapon involvement, no additional victims, and no intentional physical harm done to or restraint of the accuser.
Do You Have To Register As A Sex Offender For All Sex Crime Convictions In Georgia?
In Georgia, any felony conviction for a sex crime can put you on the sex offender registry. If your conviction is for a misdemeanor, then you do not have to go on the registry. There are some non-sex-related crimes that can put you on the sex offender registry, including an aggravated assault charge if it’s alleged that it was committed with the intent to rape.
Is There A Difference Between A State Registry And A Federal Registry?
In Georgia, there isn’t really a difference between a state registry and a federal registry; regardless of whether you commit a state-level offense or a federal offense, you will be required to register as an offender for the rest of your life. If you move to a different county within Georgia, then you are required to de-register with the county you are leaving and register with the county to which you are moving. Both de-registration and registration must be done within a certain period of time.
If someone is no longer on the sex offender registry when they move to Georgia, they may be required to re-register. Furthermore, offenders are required to submit themselves to the local Sheriff’s Office on their birthday for an annual registration. Violation of any of the registration requirements is a new felony offense punishable by up to 10 to 30 years in prison.
What Restrictions Do Convicted Sex Offenders Face In The State Of Georgia?
Georgia is apparently trying to race to the front on being the harshest state for sex offenders to reside in. In fact, sex offenders used to be restricted from living within 1000 feet of a bus stop. If you consider how many places school buses stop in every city and every county, you see that restrictions of that sort essentially make the state uninhabitable. That law was subject to lawsuits and has since been removed. However, sex offenders cannot reside, volunteer or work within 1000 feet of a childcare facility, church, school or any other area where minors congregate. Georgia law makes it unlawful to loiter without valid purpose at a childcare facility, school or other area where minors congregate. A violation of any of these restrictions is a felony that is punishable by 10 to 30 years in prison.
Why Is It Critical To Retain An Attorney Who Is Specifically Experienced In Handling Sex Crime Cases?
There are three reasons why it is critical to have an experienced attorney handle your sex crime case. The first is that the punishment is so great. Not only is the immediate punishment of prison great, but the continuing punishment of being on the registry and subject to all of the restrictions that come with it is great. Secondly, the stigma basically lasts for life. In many occupations, the mere allegation of a sex offense can be career-ending. If you are a principal, teacher, childcare worker or anyone who works with children, then the mere allegation can put you out of a job and make it so that no one will want to hire you for the rest of your life.
Finally, having an attorney can help many defendants successfully win these cases. When the defendants are successful, it is sometimes because the victim does not come across positively, or because jurors are drawn from the community and don’t want to believe that the alleged incident actually happened. Prosecutors are known for overcharging these kinds of cases and going overboard. They do not stick with what they have, but instead just throw it all out there. When they do that, it makes it much easier to defend the case if you have the necessary training and experience.
What Is The Difference Between State And Federal Sex Crime Charges?
In Georgia, almost all of the sex charges have state-level jurisdiction, which means that they are prosecuted by the counties in the state of Georgia. Federal agents usually only get involved when there is some sort of interstate mechanism or something that gives them jurisdiction, such is the case with child pornography and trafficking in prostitution cases. Even with those types of cases, the US Attorney’s offices for the Northern, Middle and Southern District of Georgia have set thresholds.
For example, in terms of child pornography cases, the federal government will only take those that involve the possession of a certain number of child pornography images. They tend to cherry-pick the cases that generate the most community outrage, such as those that involve a teacher or principle caught in a sting. So, the vast majority of sex crimes are prosecuted at the state level.
For more information on Mitigating Sex Crimes In Georgia, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (678) 726-5400 today.