Removal From the Georgia Sex Offender Registry: an ATC Success Story
Our client, a middle-aged male, was convicted on two counts of child molestation for inappropriate contact with his minor children in 1994. The charges were brought against our client during a time when he and his ex-wife were engaged in a dispute over custody and visitation. He was sentenced to five years in prison, and ten years of probation upon release. He completed his sentence, and he registered with the Georgia Sex Offender Registry as required by state and federal law (O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12(e)(1)).
Georgia code O.C.G.A. § 42-1-19 states that an individual required to register as a sex offender may petition for release from registration provided that the individual has completed all prison sentencing, parole, supervised release, and probation, and he or she meets additional criteria that define the individual as a Level 1, or Low Risk, by the Sex Offender Registration Review Board.
Our client then employed the services of Andersen, Tate and Carr to petition for his removal from the sex offender registry. We filed a Petition for Removal from the Sex Offender Registry in March 2015. This petition was opposed by the State, as is most often the case.
After negotiation with the State of Georgia, our attorneys entered a Consent Order Requiring Risk Assessment Classification for the Petitioner to be Completed by Sex Offender Registration Review Board. After a thorough review, our client was designated as a Level 1, or Low Risk, by the Sex Offender Registration Review Board.
After being a signed a Level 1 classification, our client was eligible to petition for removal from the registration requirements of Georgia law. , Our attorneys argued that client met all of the criteria for removal: he had achieved classification as Level I, Low Risk offender, he had no prior convictions, did not use any type of deadly weapon, there was no evidence of a similar transaction, the victim did not suffer any intentional physical harm, there was no transportation of the victim, and the victim was not physically restrained during the commission of the offense.
The State argued that our client did not meet the criteria set forth by O.C.G.A. § 17-10- 6.2(c)(I)(C) involving intentional physical harm to the victim. However, in this case, the mere fact that our client was charged with inappropriate touching of the sexual organs of a child with an unknown object was found not to constitute “intentional physical harm.” Since there appeared to be nothing in the record to indicate that the victim suffered intentional physical harm, our client was determined to have met the requirements for a Level I classification.
The court also took into consideration the fact that our client has had no contact with the victim in the 20 years since his conviction, has no dangerous or violent criminal history, and has since obtained his master’s degree and has become a productive member of society. An order was granted in February of 2016, releasing our client from mandatory registration with the Sex Offender Registry and allowing him to reclaim his freedom and start a new chapter of his life.
Being placed on a sexual offender list is a disastrous consequence, severely crippling a person’s ability to find a job, take residence in the neighborhoods of their choice, and live their lives in peace. Often, the demands of being a registered offender may continue after a sentence has been completed.
Through vigilant legal action, it is possible for an offender to reclaim his or her freedom.
At Andersen, Tate & Carr, our attorneys are dedicated to reaching the best possible outcome for our clients. Our criminal defense attorneys, Patrick McDonough and Trinity Hundredmark, have combined experience of more than 30 years representing clients facing criminal charges in Georgia. For more information, or to request a case evaluation, contact our law office at 1-770-822-0900.