Section 15-20A-24

Adult sex offender - Relief from registration and notification.

(a) At disposition, sentencing, upon completion of probation, or upon completion of a term of registration ordered by the sentencing court, a sex offender may petition the court for relief from the requirements of this chapter resulting from any of the following offenses, provided that he or she meets the requirements set forth in subsection (b):

(1) Rape in the second degree, as provided by subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of Section 13A-6-62.

(2) Sodomy in the second degree, as provided by subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of Section 13A-6-64.

(3) Sexual abuse in the second degree, as provided by subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of Section 13A-6-67.

(4) Sexual misconduct, as provided by Section 13A-6-65.

(5) Any crime committed in this state or any other jurisdiction which, if had been committed in this state under the current provisions of law, would constitute an offense listed in subdivisions (1) to (4), inclusive.

(6) Any solicitation, attempt, or conspiracy to commit any of the offenses listed in subdivisions (1) to (5), inclusive.

(b) The sex offender shall prove by clear and convincing evidence all of the following to obtain relief under this section:

(1) The sex offense did not involve force and was only a crime due to the age of the victim.

(2) At the time of the commission of the sex offense, the victim was 13 years of age or older.

(3) At the time of the commission of the sex offense, the sex offender was less than five years older than the victim.

(c) If the petition for relief is filed after sentencing or disposition, the petition for relief shall be filed as follows:

(1) If the adult or youthful offender sex offender was adjudicated or convicted in this state, the petition for relief shall be filed in the civil division of the circuit court where the adult or youthful offender sex offender was adjudicated or convicted.

(2) If the adult or youthful offender sex offender was adjudicated or convicted in a jurisdiction outside of this state, the petition for relief shall be filed in the civil division of the circuit court in the county in which the adult or youthful offender sex offender resides.

(3) If the juvenile sex offender was adjudicated in this state, the petition for relief shall be filed in the juvenile court.

(4) If the juvenile sex offender was adjudicated in a jurisdiction outside of this state, the petition for relief shall be filed in the juvenile court in the county in which the juvenile sex offender resides.

(d)(1) The sex offender shall serve a copy of the petition by certified mail on all of the following:

a. The prosecuting attorney in the county of adjudication or conviction, if the sex offender was adjudicated or convicted in this state.

b. The prosecuting attorney of the county where the sex offender resides.

c. Local law enforcement where the sex offender was adjudicated or convicted, if the sex offender was adjudicated or convicted in this state.

d. Local law enforcement where the adult sex offender resides.

(2) Failure of the sex offender to serve a copy of the petition as required by this subsection shall result in an automatic denial of the petition.

(e) The petition and documentation to support the request for relief shall include all of the following:

(1) The offense that the sex offender was initially charged with and the offense that the sex offender was adjudicated or convicted of, if different.

(2) A certified copy of the adjudication or conviction requiring registration including a detailed description of the sex offense, if the petition is filed upon completion of probation or a term of registration.

(3) Proof of the age of the victim and the age of the sex offender at the time of the commission of the sex offense.

(4) A list of each registering agency in each county and jurisdiction in which the sex offender is required to or has ever been required to register, if the petition is filed upon completion of probation or a term of registration.

(5) The sex offender's criminal record and an affidavit stating that the sex offender has no pending criminal charges.

(6) Any other information requested by the court relevant to the request for relief.

(f) Upon notification of the petition, the prosecuting attorney shall make reasonable efforts to notify the victim of the crime for which the sex offender is required to register of the petition and the dates and times of any hearings or other proceedings in connection with the petition.

(g) The court shall hold a hearing prior to ruling on the petition. At the hearing, the prosecuting attorney and the victim shall have the opportunity to be heard.

(h) The court shall issue an order releasing the sex offender from some or all requirements of this chapter pursuant to subsection (i) if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the sex offender does not pose a substantial risk of perpetrating any future sex offense. In determining whether to grant relief, the court may consider any of the following:

(1) Recommendations from the sex offender's probation officer, including, but not limited to, the recommendations in the presentence investigation report and the sex offender's compliance with supervision requirements.

(2) Recommendations from the prosecuting attorney.

(3) Any written or oral testimony submitted by the victim or the parent, guardian, or custodian of the victim.

(4) The facts and circumstances surrounding the offense.

(5) The relationship of the parties.

(6) The criminal history of the sex offender.

(7) The protection of society.

(8) Any other information deemed relevant by the court.

(i) The court may grant full or partial relief from this chapter. If the court grants relief, the court shall enter an order detailing the relief granted and provide a copy of the order to the prosecuting attorney and the Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency.

(j) If the court denies the petition, the sex offender may not petition the court again until 12 months after the date of the order denying the petition.

(k) A sex offender is not eligible for relief under this section if he or she was adjudicated or convicted of a sex offense previous to or subsequent to the offense of which he or she is petitioning the court for relief or has any pending criminal charges for any sex offense.

(l) In addition to sex offenders adjudicated or convicted of a sex offense on or after July 1, 2011, a sex offender adjudicated or convicted of any of the offenses specified in subsection (a) prior to July 1, 2011, who meets the eligibility requirements specified in subsection (b), except as otherwise provided for in subsection (k), may petition the court for relief pursuant to this section.

(m) Notwithstanding any state or local law or rule assigning costs and fees for filing and processing civil and criminal cases, except when this relief is sought at the time of sentencing or disposition, a sex offender's petition under this section shall be assessed a filing fee in the amount of two hundred dollars ($200) to be distributed as provided in Section 15-20A-46. The filing fee may be waived initially and taxed as costs at the conclusion of the case if the court finds that payment of the fee will constitute a substantial hardship. A verified statement of substantial hardship, signed by the sex offender and approved by the court, shall be filed with the clerk of court.

(n) If a sex offender seeks relief from the court pursuant to this section, the enforcement of this chapter shall not be stayed pending a ruling of the court.

(o) Any person who knowingly provides false or misleading information pursuant to this section shall be guilty of a Class C felony.

(Act 2011-640, p. 1569, §24; Act 2015-463, p. 1506, §1; Act 2017-414, §5.)