Hiring a Sex Crime Lawyer
By: Larry Kohn, Veteran Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me in Atlanta Who Is One of Georgia’s Sex Offender Lawyers for More Than 20 Years
Nationally, a GA sex crime is characterized by harsh punishment, when an accused citizen is convicted. For convictions, being punished by imprisonment for violating sex offender laws in any state is the norm.
The number of years behind bars can be a decade or longer depending on the level of dangerousness posed by the offender. After being released from custody, being put on the Georgia sex offender list is a life-changing event.
Most reputable employers will have the human resources department conduct a Georgia sex offender search to eliminate candidates who have such a criminal record on their background search. Both the federal sex offender registry and the GBI sex offender registry is publicly accessible, for conducting a Georgia felon search. Many counties have set up online databases for Georgia offender search.
Strict laws in Georgia exist regarding how sex offenders will be identified, tracked, and their movements controlled FOR LIFE after leaving prison. Many local sheriffs in Georgia identify sex offenders as a continuing danger to society, and keep a tight rein on any convicted offenders within their counties.
This article addresses that draconian and inflexible set of laws. This characterization of being tough laws is especially true for convicted sexual predators with a prior conviction.
A person convicted of statutory rape will likely have to register with the sheriff of his or her county until the end of that probation period. So, whether that person on the sex offender list has been paroled, pardoned or is allowed probation, he or she will remain on a registered sex offender list. If living in Georgia, that will be the GBI sex offender list, and well as the local county sheriff’s sex offender registry.
Other states mandate similar permanent reporting. Some highly conservative states like Texas and Louisiana also mandate annual polygraph exams from sex offenders. Below is an image of a page in a sex offender registry in Georgia.Regulating the Sexual Offender and a Sexually Dangerous Predator
A sexual offender is defined under the terms of OCGA 42-1-12(a)(20). Simply stated, under Georgia laws, a sexual offender is:
Any individual who has been convicted of a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor or any dangerous sexual offense; or
A person 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
Any individual who is required to register pursuant to subsection (e) of this Code section.
Of course, sex crime laws in Georgia do cover any dangerous sexual offender. It also includes a person who has been convicted in other states or territories. In addition, special sex laws enacted in Georgia require people who are deemed a sexually dangerous predator to register with Georgia and their local GA county sheriff.
A sexually dangerous predator is a man or woman who was designated (under state of Georgia laws) as such a category of offender between July 1, 1996 and June 30, 2006. OCGA 42-1-12 (a) (21).Georgia’s Non-Sexual List of Criminal Offenses Against a Minor That Necessitate Being on The Sex Offender List
So, while we think that such convicted persons MUST HAVE committed sexual acts, or sexual assault, or child sex abuse, or child molestation, Georgia law is broader and covers “a crime against a victim who is a minor.” This child offender list is a special child offender registry that has persons listed who did not engage in any sexual misconduct or sex crimes with a minor.
Under OCGA Section 42-1-12(a)(9)(B), with “criminal offense against a victim who is a minor” relating to convictions occurring after June 30, 2017, means any criminal offense which consists of:
- Kidnapping of a minor, except by a parent;
- False imprisonment of a minor, except by a parent;
- Criminal sexual conduct toward a minor;
- Solicitation of a minor to engage in sexual conduct;
- Use of a minor in a sexual performance;
- Solicitation of a minor to practice prostitution;
Use of a minor to engage in any sexually explicit conduct to produce any visual medium depicting such conduct;
Creating, publishing, selling, distributing, or possessing any material depicting a minor or a portion of a minor’s body engaged in sexually explicit conduct;
Transmitting, making, selling, buying, or disseminating by means of a computer any descriptive or identifying information regarding a child for the purpose of offering or soliciting sexual conduct of or with a child or the visual depicting of such conduct;
Conspiracy to transport, ship, receive, or distribute visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct; or
Any conduct which, by its nature, is a sexual offense against a victim who is a minor. So, the person commits the offense of statutory rape Georgia, who engages in sexual intercourse with a child person under the age of 16 years (if more than 2 years older that the victim). If less than two years difference, the person may only be guilty of a misdemeanor.Georgia Sex Offender Registry: Who Must Register as a Sex Offender in Georgia?
Before being released from prison on a probated sentence, or placed on parole, sex offenders must provide the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and the local county sheriff’s office where the probationer or parolee will be living. This adds the new county resident and his or her location information to the sex offender registry GA “book” at the county jail, and on the GA sex registry for the GBI sex offender list. Plus, the national sex offender registry will have the notification.
This is all controlled by OCGA Section 42-1-12(d) relating to persons permitted to leave prison early and includes all sex offenders and certain crimes on the child offender list.
OCGA Section 42-1-12(e) outlines the convicted citizens who must register:
People convicted of a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor after July 1, 1996
People convicted of a dangerous sexual offense after July 1, 1996
People convicted of a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor and may be released from prison or placed on parole, supervised release, or probation on or after July 1, 1996
Persons who have previously been convicted of a sexually violent offense or dangerous sexual offense and may be released from prison or placed on parole, supervised release, or probation on or after July 1, 1996
Persons who are a resident of Georgia who intends to reside in this state and who is convicted under the laws of another state or the United States, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or in a tribal court of a sexually violent offense, a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor on or after July 1, 1999, or a dangerous sexual offense on or after July 1, 1996.
A nonresident who changes residence from another state or territory of the United States or any other place to Georgia who is required to register as a sexual offender under federal law, military law, tribal law, or the laws of another state or territory, or who has been convicted in this state of a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor or any dangerous sexual offense must register here within 72 hours.
Proof of identity via driver’s license or other state or federal ID is required. Mugshots and a description of the prior convictions will accompany information on the person and his or her address. Once map registered, the offender is subject to random visit by the Sheriff’s department.The “72 Hours” Rule for In-Person Visits to the County Sheriff’s Department
As outlined in OCGA Section 42-1-12(a)(10)(f), once released from custody at a state prison, the convicted sex offender must register in person with the sheriff of the county in which they will be residing, and do this within 72 hours from being released from a Georgia prison. Being homeless does not excuse complying with the “72-hours” rule. Wherever you SLEEP, that is the county of your registration.
Annual re-registration is also a necessity for convicted sex offenders. Within 72 hours of the person’s birthday annually, a new visit to the county sheriff’s department is mandated. The sex offender will also be photographed again and fingerprinted.Does a “Pardon” From the Georgia State Pardons and Parole Mean That a Sex Offender can Be Removed From the GA Sex Registry?
An important Georgia Supreme Court case, State v. Davis, ruled (in 2018) that “simply receiving a document from the Pardons and Paroles Board did not obviate the requirement to immediately report moving to a new address.” That would have him being placed on that state’s county offender registry.
After receiving his pardon, Davis moved to North Carolina, thinking that his “pardon” allowed it. To the contrary, the high court in GA ruled that for such special exception to be effective, the Board’s Order must directly state that he was free to relocate without reporting the move to law enforcement agencies.
Yet, under the provisions of OCGA 42-1-19, a process is available under Georgia laws under which a convicted sex offender may file a petition with the sentencing court, and request removal of his or her name and identity from the GA sex offender registry. This process (which has very limited applicability) requires a showing that he or she:
- Has completed all prison, parole, supervised release, and probation for the offense which required registration pursuant to Code Section 42-1-12; and is confined to a hospice facility, skilled nursing home, residential care facility for the elderly, or nursing home; is totally and permanently disabled as such term is defined in Code Section 49-4-80; or
- is otherwise seriously physically incapacitated due to illness or injury; or
- Was sentenced for a crime that became punishable as a misdemeanor on or after July 1, 2006, and meets the criteria set forth in sub paragraphs (c)(1)(A) through (c)(1)(F) of Code Section 17-10-6.2; or
- Is required to register solely because he or she was convicted of kidnapping or false imprisonment involving a minor and such offense did not involve a sexual offender against such minor or an attempt to commit a sexual offense against such minor. For purposes of this paragraph, the term ‘sexual offense’ means any offense listed in division (a)(10)(B)(i) or (a)(10)(B)(iv) through (a)(10)(B)(xix) of Code Section 42-1-12; or
- Has completed all prison, parole, supervised release, and probation for the offense which required registration pursuant to Code Section 42-1-12 and meets the criteria set forth in sub paragraphs (c)(1)(A) through (c)(1)(F) of Code Section 17-10-6.2.
Obtaining early release is a very limited remedy. Only if the convicted offender qualifies under the above requirements, will the person be considered for release from registration.
Plus, either of these conditions first must occur: (1) 10 years has elapsed since he or she completed all the requirements or (2) the individual has been classified by the Board as a Level I risk assessment classification. For several level 1 sex offender examples
If the Board has not done a risk assessment classification for the person, the court shall order such classification to be completed prior to considering the petition for release.Are Juveniles With Delinquency Adjudications Required to Register as a Sex Offender in Georgia?
No, juvenile court dispositions do not create the necessity to become a registered sex offender. So, unless he or she was tried and convicted as an adult, no registration is required. O.C.G.A. §42-1-12(a)(9)(c).What Happens When a Sexual Offender Moves to Georgia?
A sex offender coming to the Peach State from another state to Georgia, must appear at the Sheriff’s Department within his or her new county of residence within three days (72 hours) of relocating to GA. See OCGA 42-1-12(f)(2). A sex offender registration review board can be asked to determine eligibility for a change of registration status or classification.
Because different states have created laws for that jurisdiction, terminology may not match categories within the Georgia statutory system. For example, most states use three levels for categorizing dangerousness to reoffender, Levels 1, Level 2 and Level 3. Other states (e.g., Arkansas) has a Level 4, and some places have a Level 5.
All jurisdictions tend to make their highest rating “number” (e.g., 5) the most dangerous. Some states call their Level 1 offenders “tier 1 sex offenders.” Georgia sex offender laws use “level” 1, 2 and 3.What Happens When a Georgia Sexual Offender Moves to Another State?
If a sex offender moves to another state, they are required to register their new address with the sheriff of the county with whom they last registered. They must also register with a designated law enforcement agency in the new state within 72 hours after establishing residence in the new state. O.C.G.A. §42-1-12(f)(5).
Thus, if a person from Panama City, FL moves to the City of Tifton in Tift County, GA, he or she must physically go to the Sheriff’s Department within 72 hours to identify himself or herself. Then, their identity and location can be checked for proximity to schools and churches and will be shown as a registered sex offender on any public sex offender list that re-posts from the Sheriff’s records.The Consequences of Failing to Register as a Sex Offender or From A Relocation to a New Address
Failing to register as a sex offender in Georgia is a major felony offense. Failure to do so will be grounds to be convicted under this statute.
Failure to register as a sex offender, or for providing false information, or for not reporting to the county sheriff in a timely manner will presented as the evidence for another felony under OCGA Section 42-1-12(n). This carried 1 to 30 years for a first offense and from 5 years (minimum, mandatory) to 30 years as a maximum, for a second offense under this Georgia Code Section.A Partner at Our Georgia Criminal Defense Firm is Ready to Help You
If charged with sex crimes of any type, or if you get information from any source that you are about to be arrested or indicted, call Mr. Kohn, sexual offenses attorney. You only have an impenetrable attorney client relationship with a licensed Georgia legal professional.
Spousal immunity exists, but our law firm experience tells us that an enraged spouse may TURN on you and help the prosecution. This is especially true is that spouse is going to learn the details of your intercourse with any person outside the relationship.
Since our FREE consultation doesn’t cost you a dime, why not call Mr. Kohn now? (404) 567-5515. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day.
Helpful Additional Links:
- AJC News Story about where Georgia sex offenders live
- GBI FAQ page about Sex Offender Registry
- Web Page giving sex offender registration requirements by state
- Can’t find housing? Link to explain how to get sex offender friendly rentals near me
- Georgia statutory rape laws
- Georgia parole database
- What is the legal age of consent in GA?
- Georgia sex offender rules and regulations
- Georgia sex offender registry search
- District of Columbia sex offender registry: DC sex offender registry link