Removal from Sex Offender Registry

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What is a Sex Offender Registry?

A sex offender registry, or sex offender database, is a record of persons who have committed criminal offenses of a sexual nature.  Persons convicted with crimes such as rape, sexual assault, or other offenses involving sexual abuse must submit their personal information into sex offender registries. 

Anyone can search public sex offender databases, which are available for search online.  This allows community members to be informed of the presence of registered sex offenders who may be living or working in the area.  Persons who are registered as sex offenders must periodically update their information to ensure that it is current.

Can Someone Get Their Name Off a Sex Offender Registry or Database?

Most of the persons listed in a sex offender registry have been convicted of crimes that are violent or non-consensual in nature, like rape, sexual abuse, stalking, or harassment. 

However, some persons may be listed who have committed non-violent crimes or offenses involving conduct between consensual adults, like indecent exposure or statutory rape (which may sometimes be consensual).  Also, some people may have been convicted for conduct that was once illegal in some areas, but has now been made legal.  Examples of these include (victimless crimes) consensual sex between same-sex couples (which was a criminal offense in some jurisdictions up until 1976), and consensual oral sex. 

For violent, non-consensual sexual offenses, it may be particularly difficult to have one’s name and information removed from an offender database, especially if the conduct involved the use of force.  However, for the latter category of crimes involving consensual conduct, it may be possible to have their information removed.  This would involve filing a claim with the state’s department of justice (DOJ).

How Can Someone Get Their Name Off a Sex Offender Registry or Database?

Some states have changed their sex offender registration statutes to exempt persons convicted of crimes that are now considered defunct, namely consensual sex between partners of the same sex.   Such persons can register to have their names removed from offender databases.

The process of removing a name from a sex offender registry requires the person to submit documents to their state department of justice.  They must be able to prove that their conviction was for consensual conduct between adults.  If their application is denied by the DOJ, they can usually appeal the decision with a state superior court.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance in Name Removal From a Sex Offender Registry?

Getting one’s name removed from a sex offender registry usually requires the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer.  You may wish to contact a qualified lawyer in your area, who can tell you whether you might be eligible for removal from a sex offender registry.  If so, your attorney can help you file the necessary documents in your support.  They can also provide you with representation during court hearings. 

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Last Modified: 04-03-2017 03:27 AM PDT

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