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Sex Offender Registry Frequently Asked Questions

CAUTION – The responses are NOT LEGAL ADVICE from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.  You are advised to consult with an attorney if you need legal advice.

 

1. WHAT IS A SEXUAL OFFENDER? O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12 (a)(20)

  • Any individual who has been convicted of a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor or any dangerous sexual offense;
  • 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.
  • Any individual who is required to register pursuant to subsection (e) of this Code section.

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2. WHAT IS A SEXUALLY DANGEROUS PREDATOR? O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12 (a)(21)
  • A person who was designated as a sexually dangerous predator between July 1, 1996, and June 30, 2006; or
  • A person who is determined by the Sexual Offender Registration Review Board to be at risk of perpetrating any future dangerous sexual offense.

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3. WHO IS REQUIRED TO REGISTER? O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12 (e)
  • Persons convicted on or after July 1, 1996 of a dangerous sexual offense.
  • Persons previously 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;

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4. WHO IS NOT REQUIRED TO REGISTER?

  • Refer to O.C.G.A. §42-1-12 (a)(9) and (10) (regarding misdemeanor or offenses prosecuted in juvenile court).

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5. WHO ENTERS THE SEXUAL OFFENDERS ON THE SEXUAL OFFENDER REGISTRY?

  • The sexual offender records are entered on the registry by the Department of Corrections and State Board of Pardons and Paroles. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation enters the sexual offender records for the sexual offenders who relocate to Georgia from another state.

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6. HOW OFTEN IS THE SEXUAL OFFENDER REGISTRY UPDATED? O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12 (i)(2)
  • Sheriffs are responsible for updating all information provided by the sexual offender within two business days. The Sexual Offender Registry is updated daily with all record changes.

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7. WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR THE SEXUAL OFFENDER TO REGISTER? O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12 (f)
  • Any sexual offender required to register under this Code section shall provide the required registration information to the appropriate official before being released from prison or placed on parole, supervised release, or probation.
  • The sexual offender must register in person with the sheriff of the county in which the sexual offender resides within 72 hours after the sexual offender’s release from prison or placement on parole, supervised release, probation, or entry into this state;
  • A sexual offender whose place of residence is the status of homelessness, in lieu of the requirements of paragraph (2) of this subsection, register in person with the sheriff of the county in which the sexual offender sleeps within 72 hours after the sexual offender’s release from prison or placement on parole, supervised release, probation, or entry into this state and provide the location where he or she sleeps;
  • The sexual offender must maintain the required registration information with the sheriff of each county in which the sexual offender resides or sleeps;
  • The sexual offender must renew the required registration information with the sheriff of the county in which the sexual offender resides or sleeps by reporting in person to the sheriff within 72 hours prior to such l offender’s birthday each year to be photographed and fingerprinted;
  • The sexual offender must update the required registration information with the sheriff of the county in which the sexual offender resides within 72 hours of any change to the required registration information, other than where he or she resides or sleeps if such person is homeless.  If the information is the sexual offender’s new address, the sexual offender shall give the information regarding the sexual offender’s new address to the sheriff of the county in which the sexual offender last registered within 72 hours prior to any change of address and to the sheriff of the county to which the sexual offender is moving within 72 hours prior to establishing such new address.  If the sexual offender is homeless and the information is the sexual offender’s new sleeping location, within 72 hours of changing sleeping locations, the sexual offender shall give the information regarding the sexual offender’s new sleeping location to the sheriff of the county in which the sexual offender last registered, and if the county has changed, to the sheriff of the county to which the sexual offender has moved; and
  • The sexual offender must continue to comply with the registration requirements of this Code section for the entire life of the sexual offender, excluding ensuing periods of incarceration.
  • In addition to the requirements of registration for all sexual offenders, a sexually dangerous predator shall also report to the sheriff of the county where such predator resides six months following his or her birth month and update or verify his or her required registration information.
 
 

8. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A SEXUAL OFFENDER FAILS TO REGISTER? O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12 (n)

  • Any individual who is required to register under this Code section and who fails to comply with the requirements of this Code section, or
  • provides false information, or
  • fails to respond directly to the sheriff of the county where he or she resides or sleeps within 72 hours prior to such individual’s birthday

shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 30 years; provided, however, that upon the conviction of the second offense under this subsection, the defendant shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than five nor more than 30 years.

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9. WHO SHOULD I CONTACT IF A SEXUAL OFFENDER HAS AN INCORRECT ADDRESS? O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12 (i)(2)

  • Sheriff of the county of sexual offender’s residence.

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10. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A SEXUAL OFFENDER RELOCATES TO GEORGIA? O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12 (f)(2)

  • The sexual offender must report in person to the Sheriff of the county of residence within 72 hours of re-locating to the State of Georgia.

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11. WHAT HAPPENS IF A SEXUAL OFFENDER MOVES TO ANOTHER STATE? O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12 (f)(5)

  • If a sexual offender changes residence to another state, the sexual offender shall register the new address with the sheriff of the county with whom the sexual offender last registered, and the sexual offender shall also register with a designated law enforcement agency in the new state within 72 hours after establishing residence in the new state.

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12. WHY CAN'T I FIND A SEXUAL OFFENDER'S RECORD ON THE REGISTRY?

Several reasons may explain why a sexual offender is not shown on the registry;

  • The sexual offender is deceased and therefore the record was deleted.
  • The sexual offender you are checking on does not meet registration requirements.
  • The sexual offender is a new registrant and the information has not been submitted at the time of inquiry.
  • The sexual offender has successfully completed his first offender sentence.
  • You have entered incorrect information to search for the sexual offender (for example, name or county).

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13. ARE JUVENILES REQUIRED TO REGISTER? O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12 (9)(C)

  • No, unless they are tried and convicted as an adult.

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14. HOW LONG DOES A SEXUAL OFFENDER REMAIN ON THE REGISTRY?

  • Generally for life unless removed by order of a court or other legal means.  O.C.G.A. § 42-1-19 

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15. WHAT COULD HAPPEN IF I HARBOR A SEXUAL OFFENDER?

  • “Any person who knows or reasonably believes that a sexual offender, as defined in Code Section 42-1-12, is not complying, or has not complied, with the requirements of Code Section42-1-12 and who, with the intent to assist such sexual offender in eluding a law enforcement unit that is seeking such sexual offender to question him or her about, or to arrest him or her for, his or her noncompliance with the requirements of Code Section42-1-12:

(1) Harbors, attempts to harbor, or assists another person in harboring or attempting harbor such sexual offender;
(2) Conceals, attempts to conceal, or assists another person in concealing or attempting to conceal such sexual offender; or
(3) Provides information to the law enforcement unit regarding such sexual offender which the person knows to be false information
Commits a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than five nor more than 20 years."

 
 
 
16. DOES GEORGIA PARTICIPATE IN THE NATIONAL SEXUAL OFFENDER PUBLIC REGISTRY?
  • Yes, effective October 1, 2005.  The web address for the national registry is www.nsopr.gov.

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17. CAN A SEXUAL OFFENDER PETITION THE COURT TO BE REMOVED FROM THE REGISTRY?

Yes, per O.C.G.A.   § 42-1-19 (a), an individual required to register pursuant to Code Section 42-1-12 may petition a superior court for release from registration requirements and from any residency or employment restrictions of this article if the individual:

(1) Has completed all prison, parole, supervised release, and probation for the offense which required registration pursuant to Code Section 42-1-12; and

   (A) Is confined to a hospice facility, skilled nursing home, residential care facility for the elderly, or nursing home;

   (B) Is totally and permanently disabled as such term is defined in Code Section 49-4-80; or

   (C) Is otherwise seriously physically incapacitated due to illness or injury;

(2) Was sentenced for a crime that became punishable as a misdemeanor on or after July 1, 2006, and meets the criteria set forth in subparagraphs (c)(1)(A) through (c)(1)(F) of Code Section 17-10-6.2;

(3) 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

(4) 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 subparagraphs (c)(1)(A) through (c)(1)(F) of Code Section 17-10-6.2.

(b)(1) A petition for release pursuant to this Code section shall be filed in the superior court of the jurisdiction in which the individual was convicted; provided, however, that if the individual was not convicted in this state, such petition shall be filed in the superior court of the county where the individual resides.

(2) Such petition shall be served on the district attorney of the jurisdiction where the petition is filed, the sheriff of the county where the petition is filed, and the sheriff of the county where the individual resides.  Service on the district attorney and sheriff may be had by mailing a copy of the petition with a proper certificate of service.

(3) If a petition for release is denied, another petition for release shall not be filed within a period of two years from the date of the final order on a previous petition.

(c)(1) An individual who meets the requirement of paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be considered for release from registration requirements and from residency or employment restrictions.

(2) An individual who meets the requirements of paragraph (4) of subsection (a) of this Code section may be considered for release from registration requirements and from residency or employment restrictions only if;

   (A) Ten years have elapsed since the individual completed all prison, parole, supervised release, and probation for the offense which required registration pursuant to Code Section 42-1-12; or

   (B) The individual 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.

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