What Are Georgia’s Sex Offender Registration Laws?

Georgia gained a reputation for enacting some of strictest sex offender registration laws in the country. However, an amendment in 2010 changed some of the key requirements.

An article in The Daily Caller noted the state had uncompromising laws related to sexual offenders over eight years ago.

However, civil liberties groups challenged Georgia’s old law before it came into effect. Before 2010, the law stated all registered sex offenders were banned from living within 1,000 feet of schools, parks and many other places where children gather. The strictness of the law caused problems for offenders and meant they were driven out of the state.

The Daily Caller article stated a tent city of homeless sex offenders sprung up behind a suburban office park on one occasion.

Explaining Georgia's sex offender registration laws

Georgia’s sex offender registration laws are complicated

Georgia’s law ran into legal trouble because it cast the net too wide. The law targeted sex offenders who committed their crimes years before the tough law was passed in 2006.

Who is Required to Register as a Sex Offender in Georgia?

There are a number of different categories of people who are required to register as a sex offender, states the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. They include:

  • People convicted on or after July 1, 1996, of a dangerous sexual offense.
  • Those previously convicted of a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor and were released from prison or placed on parole, supervised release, or probation on or after July 1, 1996.
  • People previously been convicted of sexually violent offenses or dangerous sexual offenses eligible for release from prison or to be placed on parole, supervised release, or probation on or after July 1, 1996;
  • Georgia residents 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 violent sexual 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. The section also applies to people convicted outside Georgia who intend to move to the state.
  • A non-resident who switches 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, tribal law, military law, or the laws of another state or territory.

The law defines a sexual offender as someone who was convicted of a criminal offense against a minor victim or any dangerous sexual offense.

Georgia’s sex offender registration laws require any sex offender to provide the required registration information to the correct official before release from prison or parole.

The law requires the sexual offender to register in person with the sheriff of the county he or she lives in within 72 hours of the sexual offender’s release from prison or placement on parole, probation, supervised release, or entry into Georgia.

A homeless sex offender should register in person with the sheriff of the county in which the sexual offender sleeps in within 72 hours of the offender’s release from prison or placement on parole, probation, supervised release, or entry into the state. He or she must provide the location where he or she sleeps.

  • The law requires the offender to maintain the required registration information with the sheriff of each county in which he or she lives or sleeps.
  • The sexual offender must renew the required registration information with the county sheriff within 72 hours before the 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 registration information. When the information is the sexual offender’s new address, he or she must provide the information to the sheriff of the county the offender last registered with at least 72 hours before moving.

Homeless sexual offenders must register a changed sleeping location with the sheriff.

A sexually dangerous predator must also report to the sheriff of the county where he or she lives every six months following his or her birth month to update or verify his or her required registration information.

Georgia’s sex offender laws are complicated. It is easy to fall foul of these requirements. If you have any questions, please call a Georgia criminal defense lawyer today at (404) 913-1529.