Understanding the Georgia Sex Offender Registry: An Essential Guide
Georgia Sex Offender Registry
Author: Joseph A. Conoscienti, Partner, Conoscienti & Ledbetter
Mr. Conoscienti specializes in criminal law but likewise has experience in general civil trial practice. Joseph Conoscienti is a part-time Associate Judge for the Municipality of Avonndale Estates, Georgia. Published on August 3, 2018, last updated on June 13, 2019.
The Georgia sex offender registry is a tracking tool provided by state law enforcement. However, it also has its complications since laws change and individual circumstances vary. Read on for a complete guide to the registry.
The sex offender registry in Georgia is a public database that lists the names, ages, and locations of those convicted of crimes against minors. The primary law that dictates the sex offender registry is OCGA 42-1-12, which outlines sex crimes and required registry information.
Like other states, Georgia makes information such as the sex offender search page and a bi-monthly map showing dots marking the homes of sex offenders available and easily accessible to the public. The main goal of doing so is to educate and protect the public from sex offenders.
To help enforce registry laws, Georgia has instituted the Sex Offender Registration Task Force (SORTF), part of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association, comprised of eleven deputies, one sheriff, and SORTF advisors. Each state region has a deputy on this task force to ensure that sex offender registry efforts are coordinated throughout Georgia.
Criteria for Sex Offender Registration in Georgia
In Georgia, the persons who must register as sex offenders are:
- Those convicted of, or those who are released from prison or on probation for, a sex crime on or after July 1, 1996.
- People who are Georgia residents or nonresidents who intend to move to Georgia but were convicted of sexually violent crimes in another state.
The Georgia sex offenders registry laws changed significantly in 2010 when Governor Perdue reduced employment and residence restrictions and made some offenders eligible to be removed from the list.
The sex offender registry is the most visited government website, despite its many errors. According to a fifty-three-page audit report in 2010, the sex offender registry site is error-ridden. It has incomplete and outdated information due to faulty computer programs, understaffing, underfunding, and poor communication between government agencies.
The registry’s shortcomings continue to be a problem years later. Every year from 2011 through 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice has found Georgia’s sex offender registry deficient because it does not gather enough information about the offenders. This deficiency, much of which centers around the sex offender registry GA’s failure to assign risk levels to each offender, could mean the state of Georgia does not receive as much funding from federal grants as it has in the past.
Particularly in light of the serious ramifications of appearing on the sex offender registry in the State of Georgia, you need to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as you can for a free initial case review and to explore your legal rights and your possible case.
Offenses Requiring Registration in Georgia’s Sex Offender Registry
The list of sex offenses that qualify for sex offender registration has expanded and changed over time. For example, the rules about crimes against minors changed in June 2001. In general, however, the two categories of crimes that require registration on the sex offender registry in the State of Georgia are 1) criminal offense against a victim who is a minor and 2) dangerous sexual offense. Only felony offenses against minor victims count; misdemeanors do not require registration.
These two categories include many different crimes, but some examples of crimes that require people to be named on the sex offender registry are:
- Aggravated assault with the intent to rape
- Kidnapping that involves a victim who is less than fourteen years of age, except by a parent
- Rape or sodomy (including statutory rape and aggravated sodomy)
- Child molestation (including aggravated child molestation)
- Human trafficking
- Sexual exploitation of a child
- Making, disseminating, selling, or buying computer pornography involving a minor
- Any conduct against a minor that is sexual
OCGA 42-1-12 sections 9A/9B and sections 10A/10B1/10B2/10B3 are two examples of how sex offender registry Georgia laws have evolved. Sections 9A and 9B deal with crimes against minors, and the rule changed as of June 30, 2001. Sections 10A/10B1/10B2/10B3 deal with the definition of “dangerous sexual offenses,” as you might guess from the many versions of this section of the law, the rule changed multiple times over the years. An important thing to note if you are facing registration on the sex offender list is that the law that applies to your case is the law that was in place at the time of your conviction. If you have questions about whether the registration requirements apply to you, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Procedures for Removal from Georgia’s Sex Offender Registry
Getting your name removed from the sex offender list can be an arduous task – even with the help of a lawyer – but it is well worth it in the end. To be removed from the list, certain requirements apply.
First, if the person’s sentence ended in the past 10 years, they must be classified as a Level 1 Offender. Level 1 offenders are low-risk offenders ranked by the Sexual Offender Registration Review Board of Georgia. To be classified as such, a psychological evaluation may be required.
If you are a Level 1 offender, you must gather information to support your claim, e.g., treatment records, character letters, and witness statements from probation officers or local law enforcement. You should also be prepared to tell your lawyer about your case and charges, your conviction, and what you have done since completing your sentence.
After working with your attorney to see if you meet the basic requirements and gather information, your attorney will prepare and file a petition for removal. A hearing will be held where your lawyer explains why you should no longer be listed on the registry. To be removed from the sex offender registry GA, there must be proof that you have no other sex offense allegations or convictions against you, the victim suffered no intentional harm and wasn’t physically restrained, and the offense didn’t involve transporting the victim. If you are eligible and a judge rules in your favor, your name will be removed from the registry.
At its most basic criteria, to be removed from the sex offender registry, the offender must:
- Have committed an offense involving people who were eighteen (18) years old or younger at the time of the crime and victims who were fourteen (14) years old or older with no more than a four (4) year age difference between the two
- Have completed their sentence and have proven since that time that they are not a risk of committing any offenses in the future
Particularly in light of the serious ramifications of appearing on the GA sex offender registry, you need to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible for a free initial case review and to explore your legal rights and possible case.
Particularly in light of the serious ramifications of appearing on the GA sex offender registry, you need to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as you can for a free initial case review and to explore your legal rights and your possible case.
- Address – The street or route address of the sexual offender’s residence.
- Appropriate Official – Concerning a sexual offender sentenced to probation without any sentence of incarceration in the state prison system or who is convicted under Article 3 of Chapter 8 of this title, relating to first offenders, the Department of Community Supervision.
- Area Where Minors Congregate – All public and private parks and recreation facilities, playgrounds, skating rinks, neighborhood centers, gymnasiums, school bus stops, public libraries, and public and community swimming pools.
- Assessment Criteria – The tests that the board members use to determine the likelihood that a sexual offender will commit another criminal offense against a minor victim or commit a dangerous sexual crime.
- Child Care Facility – All public and private pre-kindergarten facilities, child care learning centers, preschool facilities, and long-term care facilities for children.
- Church – A place of public religious worship.
- Conviction – A final judgment of conviction entered upon a verdict or finding of guilty of a crime, a plea of guilty, or a plea of nolo contendere.
- Criminal Offense Against a Minor Victim – For convictions occurring on or before June 30, 2001, means any criminal offense under Title 16.
- Institution of Higher Education – This refers to a private or public community college, state university, state college, or independent postsecondary institution.
- Level I risk assessment classification – This classification means sexual offenders are a low sex offense risk and low recidivism risk for future sexual offenses.
- Level II risk assessment classification – Level II classification means the sexual offenders are an intermediate sex offense risk and intermediate recidivism risk for future sexual offenses. It includes all sexual offenders who do not meet the criteria for classification either as a sexually dangerous predator or for Level I risk assessment.
- Minor – Minor refers to any individual under the age of 18 years and any individual that the sexual offender believed at the time of the offense was under 18 years if such individual was the victim of a crime.
- Required registration information – This refers to all of the information a sexual offender must submit to the registry, including data such as name; social security number; age; race; sex; date of birth; height; weight; hair color; eye color; fingerprints; photograph; and address
- Sexual offender – means any individual:
- Who has been convicted of a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor or any dangerous sexual offense;
- Who has been convicted under the laws of another state or territory, under the laws of the United States, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or in a tribal court of a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor or a dangerous sexual offense; or
- Who is required to register under subsection (e) of this Code section?
- Sexually dangerous predator – means a sexual offender:
- Who was designated as a sexually violent predator between July 1, 1996, and June 30, 2006; or
- Who is determined by the Sexual Offender Registration Review Board to be at risk of perpetrating any future dangerous sexual offense.
- Vocation – This refers to any full-time, part-time, or volunteer employment with or without compensation exceeding 14 consecutive days or for an aggregate period exceeding 30 days during any calendar year
At Conoscienti & Ledbetter, LLC, we understand the serious consequences that a criminal charge and conviction can bring. We have decades of experience defending individuals accused of crimes throughout Georgia, including sex offenses. Our attorneys are dedicated to providing aggressive legal representation for our clients, and we will fight tirelessly to ensure that your rights are respected and protected throughout the process.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a sex offense or if you have been charged with violating the terms of the GA sex offender registry, please get in touch with us today. Our lawyers are available to answer any questions and can provide expert legal advice on how to proceed in your case. Call us now for a free consultation and to learn more about your rights under Georgia law.
Additional Resources for Legal Assistance in Georgia
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