How Do I Petition to Be Removed From a Sex Offender Registry?

If you were legally required to register as a sex offender, you know that it can hurt your ability to get a job, find a decent place to live, and maintain relationships with family and friends. In Georgia, the sex offender registration statute requires registration for life. However, depending on several factors, you may file a petition to be removed from the sex offender registry. You should contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you navigate this process, ensure your legal rights are protected, and petition the court.

When Can I Request to Be Removed From the Sex Offender Registry?

Before 2010, sex offenders were prohibited from petitioning for removal until 10 years after completing their prison sentence, parole, supervised release, and probation. However, in 2010, a law was passed that allowed those classified by Georgia’s Sex Offender Registration Review Board (SORRB) to petition for removal from the registry immediately after completing their prison term, parole, supervised release, and probation, provided they are a Level 1 offender, which is considered to be at low risk of committing another sex crime.

How Do I Know if I am a Candidate for Sex Offender Removal in Georgia?

To petition for removal from the sex offender registry, you must fall into one of the following four groups:

  • Disabled offenders: If you have a disability, an illness, or are considered severely incapacitated, lawmakers have recognized that it is unlikely that you pose a serious threat to the community. You may petition the court for release from registration requirements if you are totally and permanently disabled, confined to a nursing home or residence care facility, or physically incapacitated due to a serious illness or injury.
  • Low-risk offenders: If you demonstrate that you pose little risk to the community, you may seek relief from the registry. In addition to completing the prison time, parole, supervised release, and probation, you must meet the following requirements:
    • No other convictions for sexual offenses.
    • No evidence that you have committed similar crimes.
    • You did not use a weapon during the crime.
    • The victim did not suffer intentional physical harm.
    • The victim was not physically restrained.
  • Romeo & Juliet offenders: This involves offenders under the age of 18 who were convicted of sex acts involving victims who are close in age. For example, if you were 18 when you engaged in a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old, you may only be charged with a misdemeanor, and you are eligible to petition the court for removal from the registry.

Petitioning the Court for Removal

The first step is to petition the court in the jurisdiction where you were convicted. If you are granted a hearing, a judge will determine whether you can be removed from the registry and consider whether you pose a threat to the community. You will only be released from registration requirements if there is a preponderance of evidence that it is highly unlikely that you will engage in a dangerous sexual offense in the future. The court will issue a decision, which may involve releasing you from all registration requirements, rejecting your petition, or releasing you from some restrictions but not others.

Our Savannah Criminal Defense Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Advocate for Clients Who Want to Be Removed From the Sex Offender Registry

If you were convicted of a sex crime and meet the qualifications to be removed from the sex offender registry, contact our Savannah criminal defense lawyers at Kicklighter Law. To schedule a consultation, call us at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients in Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.