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In 2010 the Georgia Legislature significantly changed the law that governs persons on the sex offender registry.  Under the Official Code of Georgia 42-1-19, certain people may petition the Superior Court for release from registration requirements and from any residency or employment restrictions.   This petition is a civil proceeding and petitioners are required to meet the following criteria to be removed.

General Right to Petition to be Released from Registering
Any person may civilly petition a Superior Court of Georgia for release from the sex offender registration, residence, and employment restrictions under the following conditions.

First, the person has completed ALL prison, parole, supervised release, and probation for the offense which registration is required; and

Second, the person meets ALL of the following requirements:

1.The person has no prior convictions for a sexual offense, which include Rape, Sodomy, Statutory Rape, Child Molestation, Enticement of a Child for Indecent Purposes, Sexual Assault, Public Indecency, Pimping, Prostitution, and Pandering;
2.The person did not use a deadly weapon or any object that is likely to or actually did result in serious bodily injury during the crime;
3.The court finds the no evidence the Petitioner has been involved in similar events;
4.The victim did not suffer any intentional physical harm during the crime;
5.The crime did not involve transporting the victim; AND
6.The victim was not physically restrained during the crime.

And Third, Either

1.Ten years have elapsed since the Petitioner completed probation, prison
and parole; or
2.The Petitioner has been classified by the Sex Offender Review Board as a Level I risk assessment classification.  

Incapacitated/Disabled Persons
The new law also allows petitioners to be released from registration as a sex offender when the petitioner is incapacitated or disabled AND has completed all prison, parole, supervised release, and probation for the offense.  Incapacitated or disabled includes persons who are confined to a hospice facility, nursing home, a residential care facility for the elderly, persons who are totally and permanently disabled, or otherwise suffer from a illness or injury that has incapacitated them.

“Romeo and Juliet” Cases
Also, Romeo and Juliet offenders are able to request to be released from registration requirements. These cases are where the petitioner was sentenced for a crime that became punishable as a misdemeanor on or after July 1, 2006.  This section of the law is likely to apply to a very small number of people.  To give a few examples, this section will apply to persons convicted of sodomy prior to July 1, 2006, if the victim was at least 13 but less than 16, and the person was convicted of the crime was 18 or younger and was no more than 4 year older than the victim.  This section will also apply to persons convicted of statutory rape prior to July 1, 2006, if the victim was at least 14 but less than 16, and the persons convicted of statutory rape was 18 or younger, and no more than 4 years older than the victim. The Petitioner must also meet the requirements of Official Code of Georgia 17-10-6.2, illustrated as step two in the general release section above.

Persons Convicted of Kidnapping or False Imprisonment Where the Offense or Attempted Offense Was Not Sexual in Nature
A person may petition the superior court to be released from registration as a sex offender if they must register solely because he or she was convicted of kidnapping or false imprisonment involving a minor and the offense did not involve a sexual offense against the minor or an attempt to commit a sexual offense against a minor.

General Requirements of the Removal Law

Petitions for release must be filed in the superior court of the jurisdiction in which you were convicted.  If you were not convicted in Georgia, the petition must be filed in the superior court where you live.

The question the Superior Court judge is trying to answer is whether you or not you pose a substantial risk of perpetrating any future dangerous sexual offense.   In making this decision the court should consider any evidence you, your attorney, the district attorney, and sheriff wish to present.  If your petition is denied, you cannot file another one for two years from the date on which your petition was denied.  If your petition is granted you will be released from the registration requirements and residency and employment limitations.

If you believe you meet the requirements described above and wish to petition the superior court to be released from the registration, residence, and employment restrictions contact the law offices of Andrew R. Lynch.  We will handle removal petitions in any superior court in Georgia.

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