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Georgia Sex Offender Records

What is a Sex Offender?

A sex offender in Georgia refers to anyone convicted of a sex offense or sex-related crime. States across the US have different definitions for sex offenses; however, it is clear that sex offenses are uniformly considered serious offenses as they attract strict penalties across the board. Most states or jurisdictions classify sex offenses according to the severity and assign penalties based on the offense classifications.

Apart from fines and prison terms, sex offenders also have to deal with other consequences, including social stigma and strict limitations on where the offender may work or live. Some consequences of sex offenses are lifelong. For example, in Georgia, the Georgia courts require sex offenders to provide personal information, including addresses, photographs, and names, to law enforcement authorities. The personal information becomes a public record and consequently, sex offenders lose a measure of privacy. Except the court waives registration requirements, Georgia sex offenders must register for life.

Who is Considered a Sex Offender in Georgia?

According to O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12 (a)(20), a sex offender is a person that the Georgia courts have convicted of:

  • A sex offense
  • A sex offense against a minor
  • A dangerous sexual offense.

Georgia’s crimes and offenses code provide a comprehensive list of sex offenses in the state. According to state laws (O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12 (10)), the following are considered dangerous sexual offenses:

  • Aggravated assault with the intent to rape
  • Kidnapping a minor
  • Sex trafficking
  • Sodomy
  • Aggravated sodomy
  • Rape
  • Child molestation
  • Improper sexual contact
  • Incest
  • Sexual battery
  • Pornography
  • Obscene telephone contact
  • Sexual offenses against minors

Any person who has been convicted of sex offenses outside Georgia, whether in another state or another country, is also considered a sex offender in Georgia.

What are the Different Types of Sex Offenses in Georgia?

As evident by Georgia’s definition of a sex offense, there are different types and classifications of sex offenses. State laws penalize sex offenses by severity, but the court considers other factors when assessing penalties or sentences. Such factors include the offender’s age and relationship to the victim, the presence of aggravating or mitigating factors, and the offender’s criminal history. Below are some of Georgia’s sex offenses.

Statutory rape: when a person engages in sexual intercourse with a minor and is not married to the minor, the person commits statutory rape. The penalty for statutory rape in Georgia is imprisonment for one (1) to 20 years (GA Code § 16-6-3). However, if the perpetrator is 21 years old and above, the minimum penalty is ten (10) years. Additionally, if the victim is between ages 14 and 16, the perpetrator is at most 18 years old but not more than four (4) years older than the victim, statutory rape is a misdemeanor. Georgia penalizes misdemeanors with up to 12 months in jail.

Bigamy: if a married person, with full knowledge that the person’s spouse is alive, marries or cohabits with another person, the perpetrator commits bigamy. However, if the offender’s spouse has been absent for at least seven (7) years, and the offender does not know whether the spouse is alive, the fact is an affirmative defense against bigamy. Georgia laws penalize bigamy with one (1) to ten (10) years’ imprisonment (GA Code § 16-6-20). Marrying a bigamist attracts prison terms of one (1) to ten (10) years (GA Code § 16-6-21).

Sexual battery: this is the act of making physical contact with another person’s intimate parts without the person’s consent. Intimate parts include a person’s groin, inner thigh, anus, breasts, and primary genital area. Typically, sexual battery is a “high and aggravated” misdemeanor (GA Code § 16-6-22.1); however, if the victim is a minor under 16 years of age, sexual battery is a felony. The penalty for a sexual battery felony is imprisonment for one (1) to five (5) years.

Necrophilia: performing sexual acts with a dead body is necrophilia. Sexual acts can involve the parties’ mouths and sex organs. The penalty for necrophilia is imprisonment for at least one (1) year and at most ten (10) years (GA Code § 16-6-7).

Pandering: if a person solicits another person to perform an act of prostitution on the person’s behalf or on behalf of a third party, the person commits pandering. Additionally, if a person gathers other people in a place so that others might solicit the gathered persons for prostitution, the perpetrator commits pandering (GA Code § 16-6-12).

Pimping: according to GA Code § 16-6-11, a person commits pimping if the person does any of the following:

  • Offer or agree to procure prostitutes for another person
  • Receive money or any other item of value from a prostitute if the money or item is earned from prostitution
  • Assist, abet, or commands another person in the commission of prostitution
  • Transport or direct other people for prostitution
  • Arrange, agree or offer to meet another person for prostitution

Sodomy: sexual acts involving a person’s sex organs and another person’s anus or mouth are considered sodomy. Aggravated sodomy involves the use of force against the victim without the victim’s consent or acts of sodomy involving a minor less than ten (10) years old. The punishment for sodomy is imprisonment for at least one (1) and at most 20 years. Sodomy convicts in Georgia are subject to split sentences. Apart from the mandatory minimum sentence, convicted persons must also serve a probated sentence for at least one (1) year.

Sodomy is a misdemeanor if the following conditions exist:

  • If the sodomy victim is between ages 13 and 16
  • If the perpetrator is at most 18 years old
  • If the perpetrator is at most four (4) years older than the victim

The penalty for aggravated sodomy is either imprisonment for life or a split sentence. If the court delivers a split sentence, the convicted person must serve 25 years to life in prison and be on probation for life.

Enticing a child for indecent purposes: any person who entices, solicits, or takes a minor anywhere for molestation commits an offense of enticing a child for indecent purposes. The penalty for this offense is imprisonment for a minimum of ten (10) years and a maximum of 30 years. The perpetrator may also be subject to a split probatory sentence of at least one (1) year (GA Code § 16-6-5).

If certain conditions exist, enticing a child for indecent purposes is considered a misdemeanor, and the perpetrator will not be subject to any other penalties. The conditions are as follows:

  • The victim is between ages 14 and 16
  • The perpetrator is at most 18 years old but no more than four (4) years older than the victim

Prostitution: persons who perform sexual acts, including sodomy or intercourse, in exchange for money or other valuable items commit prostitution (GA Code § 16-6-9)

Masturbation for hire: if a person erotically stimulates another person’s genitals, whether manually, through bodily contact, or by use of an instrument in exchange for money or its equivalent, the person commits masturbation for hire. This law applies to masseurs and masseuses and is a misdemeanor in Georgia.

The information above is only a representation of Georgia’s extensive list of sexual offenses as detailed in GA Code § 16-6. To gain a proper understanding of state laws and sentencing requirements where sex offenses are concerned, interested parties may consult experienced criminal defense lawyers.

What Types of Sex Offenders Exist in Georgia?

Georgia uses risk assessment levels to classify sex offenders. The Sex Offender Registration Review Board determines sex offenders’ risk assessment levels, which in turn determines the offender’s notification level. In determining a sex offender’s risk assessment level, the board considers the likelihood of repeat offenses and the level of danger the offender poses to society. Risk assessment levels can determine sex offenders’ registration requirements and restrictions. There are three (3) risk assessment levels in Georgia.

Level 1 risk assessment classification: sex offenders in this category are considered low offense risks. There is also a low chance of recidivism or repeated sexual offenses for offenders in this category. Level 1 sex offenders may petition the court to remove residence and employment restrictions provided the offenders meet certain requirements:

  • The offender did not use a weapon in the commission of the sexual offense
  • The offender did not physically harm the victim
  • The offender did not physically restrain or transport the victim in the commission of the sexual offense.

Level 2 risk assessment classification: offenders in this category are intermediate sex offense risks. These offenders have a higher chance of recidivism than offenders on Level 1. Additionally, sex offenders who do not meet Level 1 or Level 3 requirements fall in this category. Offenders in Level 2 may petition the court to remove residence and work restrictions at least ten (10) years after completing all sentence requirements.

Sexually dangerous predator: this is the highest level risk assessment classification in Georgia. Sexually dangerous predators are sex offenders who have been designated sexually violent or who are at a very high risk of repeating dangerous sexual offenses. Sexually dangerous persons may petition the court to remove restrictions ten (10) years after completing sentence requirements.

How to Find a Sex Offender Near Me in Georgia

In accordance with O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) maintains a public database of sex offenders. In so doing, the state aims to maintain an orderly and safe society for all citizens. Georgia citizens, residents, and other interested members of the public may access sex offender information through the Sex Offender Registry.

The GBI provides basic information about sex offenders, including names, residential addresses, and photographs. Requesting parties may visit local sheriffs’ websites in the county where the sex offender is registered to access more detailed information, including the offender’s vehicle information, school address, and employer’s address. Alternatively, requesting parties may contact or visit the sheriff’s office to obtain desired information. For example, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office maintains an updated sex offender database that interested parties can access at the sheriff’s office. Interested parties may find sex offenders using the National Sex Offender Registry.

GBI provides community notification services; interested parties may register to receive email notifications when a sex offender registers an address near the parties.

What Happens When You Register as a Sex Offender in Georgia?

As earlier noted, sex offender registration can have lifelong consequences; offenders in Georgia must register for life unless the court orders a removal from the registry (O.C.G.A. § 42-1-19). As long as a person is registered as a sex offender, the person’s personal information is available to the public. This can cause difficulty in forming or maintaining social relationships. Registered sex offenders may also have a hard time finding employment in some fields or living in some areas. In Georgia, sexual predators may be required to wear monitoring devices for life.

Sex offenders in Georgia must provide registration information before release from custody, supervision, or probation and register in person with the county sheriff in the offender’s county of residence within three (3) days of release. If the offender is homeless, the offender may register in the county where the offender sleeps. Offenders must renew registration every year, specifically three (3) days before the offender’s birthday. If there is any change in the sex offender’s address at any time, the offender must submit updated information within three (3) days of the change.

Sex offenders must comply with registration requirements and provide accurate information. Violating registration requirements is a felony offense in Georgia. Offenders may be penalized with at least one (1) year and at most 30 years imprisonment. Second offenses attract prison terms of at least five (5) years and at most 30 years.

What is the Georgia Sex Offender Registry?

The Georgia sex offender registry is the statewide database that contains information on convicted sex offenders and sexually dangerous predators in the state. It provides details such as the offender's name, physical description, age, photograph, address, crime of conviction, and risk assessment level provided by the Sex Offender Registration Review Board.

Interested members of the public may also obtain public record information from third party websites. These privately owned sites typically host data culled from public databases and repositories. However, the information available on third-party sites may vary since they are independent of government sources. To use a third-party site, record seekers may be required to provide all of some of the following information:

  • The full name on the record of choice
  • The last known or current address of the named individual
  • The address of the requestor

Who Runs the Georgia Sex Offender Registry?

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) is the agency responsible for collecting sex offender information forwarded by statewide agencies. It maintains the registry as well as ensures that the information contained is accurate and updated frequently. As per the Sexual Offender Registry Code, the GBI shall also assist in enforcing the provisions of the Code and release relevant public information necessary to protect residents.

Who Can View the Georgia Sex Offender Registry?

Anyone can view the Georgia sex offender registry. Interested persons may conduct online searches, view the bi-monthly map, download the bi-monthly report, or download the sex offender registry data to view a list of registered offenders.

What are the Sex Offender Laws in Georgia?

Georgia has one primary Sexual Offender Registry Code (O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12 to 19), which is a collection of laws relating to sex offender registration. The Code covers offender definition, registration, monitoring, classifications, regulation, and penalties for violating registration requirements. However, the Code can be divided into eight parts, namely:

  1. State sex offender registration law (O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12)
  2. Sexual Offender Registration Review Board (O.C.G.A. § 42-1-13)
  3. Laws concerning risk assessment and sexually dangerous predators (O.C.G.A. § 42-1-14)
  4. Laws restricting offender loitering, residence, and work location (O.C.G.A. § 42-1-15)
  5. Employment restrictions for sexual offenders and penalties (O.C.G.A. § 42-1-16)
  6. Residency restrictions for sexual offenders and penalties (O.C.G.A. § 42-1-17)
  7. Laws prohibiting photographing minors (O.C.G.A. § 42-1-18)
  8. Laws concerning release from registration requirements (O.C.G.A. § 42-1-19)

What is the State Sexual Offender Registry Code?

State Sexual Offender Registry Code is a Georgia legislation that describes who a sex offender is and defines registration requirements and duties of various agencies in the state, including county sheriffs, Department of Corrections, and Department of Community Supervision, amongst others. The Code is designed to help protect communities in the state and monitor sex offenders against recidivism.

Some provisions in the Code include:

  • Registration of individuals convicted of any dangerous sexual offense or a criminal offense against a minor
  • Mandatory registration of sexual offenders before release from prison, parole, supervised release, or probation;
  • Yearly renewal of required registration information
  • Deadline for updating the registration information and penalties
  • The composition of the Sexual Offender Registration Review Board (SORRB) members, appointments, duties, and immunity from liability
  • The assessment and classification of all registered sex offenders into risk assessment levels
  • LolProhibition against sex offenders loitering, working, or living within a distance of 1,000 feet of a school, church, child care facility, or area where minors congregate
  • Prohibition against photographing minors without consent from a parent or legal guardian
  • Conditions for petitioning a superior court for release from registration requirements and restrictions

Can a Sex Offender Live With Their Family in Georgia?

There are no laws restricting sex offenders from living with family in Georgia. However, sex offenders must adhere to the residency restrictions for sexual offenders by not settling within 1,000 feet of a school, church, child care facility, or area where minors congregate. If the family lives within this radius, they may have to relocate unless exempted by law, in which case they have to provide sufficient proof demonstrating exemption to the county sheriff.

How Long Do Sex Offenders Have to Register in Georgia?

Generally, sex offenders must continue the annual registration renewal till their death, except when released from registration requirements under O.C.G.A. § 42-1-19. To petition for release, the sex offenders must satisfy the conditions, which include:

  • The individual has completed all prison, probation, parole, and supervised release terms for the offense that needed registration and is;
  1. Confined to a nursing home, hospice facility, residential care facility for the elderly, or skilled nursing home
  2. Is totally and permanently disabled as defined in O.C.G.A. § 49-4-80
  3. Is otherwise seriously physically incapacitated as a result of an injury or illness
  • The individual was sentenced for a crime that became punishable as a misdemeanor on or after July 1, 2006, and meets the criteria outlined in subparagraphs (c)(1)(A to F) of O.C.G.A. § 17-10-6.2;
  • The offender was required to register only because of a false imprisonment or kidnapping conviction - involving a minor - and the crime did not entail a sexual offense or attempt to commit a sexual offense against the minor;
  • The offender has completed all prison, probation, parole, and supervised release terms for the offense that needed registration and meets the criteria outlined in subparagraphs (c)(1)(A-F) of O.C.G.A. § 17-10-6.2. The offender must have a Level I risk assessment classification, and ten years must have elapsed since completing all prison, probation, parole, and supervised release terms.

Do Sex Offenders Have to Notify Neighbors in Georgia?

Sex offenders working, schooling, residing in Georgia, or moving into a new neighborhood or county do not have to notify neighbors of their sex offender status. However, it is mandatory for offenders to inform the appropriate probation officer, county sheriff, or state authority when moving an address into a new neighborhood, county, or state.

The sex offender must notify the county sheriff within 72 hours before moving. It is the responsibility of that county's Sheriff to inform the public about sex offenders in each community by updating public notices and delivering lists of sex offenders to institutions of higher education and schools located in the county.

Do Sex Offenders Have to Put Up a Sign in Their Yard in Georgia?

No, sex offenders in Georgia do not have to put up a sign in their yard stating their offender status. However, sexually dangerous predators must wear an electronic monitoring system - with GPS and automatically activated alarm - throughout their lives. Therefore, the system will provide a timely report or record a sexually dangerous predator within a prohibited area.

How Close Can a Sex Offender Live to a School in Georgia?

As of July 1, 2008, no sex offender must reside within 1,000 feet of a school or child-care facility. Moreover, sex offenders shall not work or volunteer in any business or entity located within 1,000 of a school or child care facility. However, sex offenders may petition for release from these residency or employment restrictions according to O.C.G.A. § 42-1-19. Violations of this law may lead to a felony charge and are punishable by imprisonment from 10 to 30 years.

How to Look Up Sex Offenders in Georgia

The Georgia sex offender registry provides access to sex offender information through its search page. Individuals can conduct online searches and streamline search results by inputting known details such as:

  • Offender type (absconder, sexual offender, sexually dangerous predator, or all)
  • Offense (kidnapping, sexual assault, child molestation, etc.)
  • First or last name
  • County
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Incarceration status
  • Street
  • City
  • Zip Code
  • Distance from the address in miles

Users are advised to provide geographical details like county, city, street, and mile radius to locate offenders living in the specific area or fill offender-specific information like name, race, gender, offense, and offense type to find a specific offender. Furthermore, interested persons may register for community notification to receive e-mail alerts on certain events or incidents concerning sex offenders residing, schooling, or working in a stated location.

However, note that information concerning juveniles adjudicated in a Georgia juvenile court and persons with misdemeanor convictions may not be available on the registry.

Can You Expunge a Sex Offender Charge in Georgia?

Expunging juvenile or adult misdemeanor or felony sex offender charges and conviction may be possible under Georgia expungement laws. However, the law does not apply to most violent sexual crimes and offenses mentioned in Subparagraph (j) (4) of O.C.G.A. § 35-3-37, including:

  • Any offense related to minors generally (O.C.G.A. § 16-12-3.2)
  • Child molestation (O.C.G.A. § 16-6-4)
  • Enticing a child for indecent purposes (O.C.G.A. § 16-6-5)
  • Improper sexual contact by agent or employee (O.C.G.A. § 16-6-5.1)
  • Keeping a place of prostitution (O.C.G.A. § 16-6-10)
  • Masturbation for hire (O.C.G.A. § 16-6-16)
  • Pandering by compulsion (O.C.G.A. § 16-6-14)
  • Pimping (O.C.G.A. § 16-6-11)
  • Sexual battery (O.C.G.A. § 16-6-22.1)

Furthermore, pardoned sex offenders do not get their records expunged automatically but may qualify for release from registration obligations - along with Level 1 offenders. However, petitioners must satisfy the conditions set by the board.

Is Public Urination a Sex Offense in Georgia?

Public urination may be disorderly conduct or indecent exposure, depending on the situation. While disorderly conducts are misdemeanors that do not require sex offender registration, certain indecent exposure charges and convictions make registration mandatory, for instance, urinating in front of a minor. Under the sex offender registry code, this may fall under "any conduct - which by its nature, is a sexual offense - against a victim who is a minor."

What is Indecent Exposure in Georgia?

Indecent exposure in Georgia is an intentional display of oneself in public. Examples of cases that may classify as indecent exposure include:

  • An act of sexual intercourse
  • Baring of sexual organs in public
  • Indecent appearance in a state of partial or full undress
  • A lewd caress or fondling of another person's body.

In most cases, the first and second conviction of indecent exposure is classified as a misdemeanor, and subsequent violations count as felonies.

How to Report a Sex Offender in Georgia

Individuals can report a sex offender by contacting the County Sheriff of the sexual offender's residence or local law enforcement agencies. Members of the public can also provide a tip on a possible registrant violation by visiting the sex offender search page and clicking the absconder's image.