Legislature Expands Eligibility for Individuals Seeking Removal from Sex Offender Registry

On July 1, 2024, Senate Bill 493 went into effect in Georgia. Among other things, the bill amended O.C.G.A. § 42-1-19 by adding categories of people who can be eligible for removal from the Georgia Sex Offender Registry. For example, it created a new avenue for elderly sex offenders to be removed from the registry by making anyone over 80 years old eligible for release, subject to certain other requirements.

Requirements for Removal from the Registry under OCGA § 42-1-19

O.C.G.A. § 42-1-19 lists the requirements for getting removed from the Registry. Before an offender can petition a court for removal, they must have completed all required incarceration, parole, probation, and supervision as part of their sentence for the sex offense. Then, they can petition for removal if a certain amount of time has passed since the end of their sentence or if they have been designated as low risk by the Georgia Sex Offender Risk Review Board.

In addition to those requirements, an individual seeking removal must meet six other criteria that determine an offender’s eligibility: 1) The offender must not have any prior convictions for sex crimes or crimes against minors, 2) the offender did not use a deadly weapon likely to cause serious harm during their sex offense, 3) the offender did not transport the victim during the offense, 4) the offender did not physically restrain the victim during the offense, 5) the offender did not intentionally cause the victim physical harm, and 6) there is no evidence of similar transactions, such as uncharged sexual offenses or allegations of other sexual misconduct.

The New Changes Under SB 493

The Legislature made several significant changes to OCGA 42-1-19 in SB 493. For those who were convicted of a sex offense in the state of Georgia, SB 493 lowers the amount of time that must pass before they can request removal after completion of their sentence. As opposed to 10 years, an offender may now seek removal after 5 years.

As a trade-off, however, any sex offender seeking removal from the Sex Offender Registry must also be designated as a Level I (low) Risk as assessed and classified by the Sex Offender Risk Review Board. Previously, a Level II or Level III offender could still seek removal after ten years had elapsed after they completed their sentences.

SB 493 also amends OCGA § 42-1-19 to allow an individual to petition for removal once they have turned 80 years old, provided they have completed all prison, parole, supervised release, and probation for the convicted offense.

SB 493 also creates new requirements for those who were convicted out of state, federally, in the military, or in a tribal court. Petitioners must meet the general requirements listed above, and also provide the court with documentation proving that they have been removed from the registry in that other state or territory. Ten years must have passed since the completion of their sentence, and they must be designated as Level 1. Previously, those from out of state were held to the same standard for removal as those who were convicted in Georgia, but SB 493 now requires them to wait longer and to be removed from their original state’s registry first.

In sum, SB 493 makes it easier for some, and harder for others, to be removed from Georgia’s Sex Offender Registry. It is harder for people convicted out of state, who must jump through extra hoops before petitioning the court. It is easier for elderly offenders to qualify. The time requirements for those convicted in Georgia have been lowered. However, all petitioners must be classified as Level 1 to be considered for removal.

If you or a loved one is seeking removal from Georgia’s Sex Offender registry, contact us and speak to one of our experienced attorneys.


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