In addition to defending individuals accused of sex offense allegations, a growing part of our practice is now devoted to filing petitions to remove people from the sex offender registry.
Although the Georgia sex offender registration statute now requires lifetime registration, there are two procedures for petitioning the court for removal from the registry. In some instances, a person is able to petition for removal at the conclusion of their sentence, others will be able to request removal after 10 years has passed since their release from custody or probation.
O.C.G.A. § 42-1-19 provides that a person may petition for removal from the sex offender registry if either:
(A) Ten years have elapsed since the individual completed all prison, parole, supervised release, and probation for the offense which required registration; or
(B) The individual has completed all prison, parole, supervised release, and probation for the offense which required registration AND has been classified by the board as a Level I risk assessment classification, provided that if the board has not done a risk assessment classification for such individual, the court shall order such classification to be completed prior to considering the petition for release.
In addition to the above, the person must also meet the following criteria: (a) no prior convictions for any sexual offense or any offense related to minors, (b) a weapon was not used in the offense, (c) there was no evidence of any similar transaction or crime, (d) the victim did not suffer any intentional physical harm during the commission of the offense, (e) the offense did not involve the transportation of the victim, and (f) the victim was not physically restrained.
In ruling on the petition, the Court must find by a preponderance of the evidence that the person “does not pose a substantial risk of perpetrating any future dangerous sexual offense…”
For individuals who were convicted in Georgia, we file the petition in the court in which the person was sentenced. For those who were convicted in other states, the petition is filed in the Superior Court of the county where the person is registered.
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