Registered Offender Laws

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What is a “Registered Offender”?

A “registered offender” is a person who has been convicted of a sex crime under federal or state statutes.  Such persons are required to submit their personal information in official records known as sex offender registries or sex offender databases.  Registered sex offenders must be listed in a registry if they have been convicted of rape, molestation, harassment, or other types of sexual abuse crimes.

The purpose of a sex offender registry or database is to allow residents in the community to be aware of the presence of registered offenders in their neighborhood or workplace.  Residents can access a database and search for the names of such persons.  Registered sex offenders can also include persons who have completed their jail or probation sentence, but still show a tendency to engage in victimizing behavior and therefore must register.

Since sex offenses are generally classified as felonies, sex offender registration can result in the loss rights and privileges like:

The term “Registered Offender” can also refer to other types of offenders, such as child offenders (those who have been convicted of child abuse).  However, the term most commonly refers to those convicted of sex crimes.

Which Laws Govern Registered Offenders?

There are many different state and federal laws governing registered offenders.  One of the main laws governing registered offenders is the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act Law, or SONRA. 

SONRA requires sex offenders to register in a database in the jurisdiction where they live, work, or attend school.  Such persons are also required to update their information periodically, and to make in-person appearances with an officer to verify the information in the registry.  SONRA also created a uniform, nation-wide registry that can be accessed through the online web. 

Other similar laws include “Megan’s Law”, which is the name given to the collective body of state registered offender laws.  Since they are state laws, a statute referred to as “Megan’s Law” can be different from region to region.  For example, in California, a registered offender must re-register every 90 days if the conviction involved a violent sexual act.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Registered Offender Laws?

If you have any legal questions or concerns regarding registered offender laws, you may wish to hire a criminal lawyer for assistance.  Your lawyer can help inform you of how such laws work, and can represent you in court if a legal claim arises.  An experienced criminal defense attorney can also provide counseling for registered offenders to ensure that they are complying with registration requirements. 

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Last Modified: 04-24-2012 11:28 AM PDT

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