Requirements of Sex Crime Registration

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In 1994, the Sexual Offender Act was passed requiring states to set up a viewable Internet registry for convicted sexual offenders.  State registration laws vary with state penal systems.  In California, for instance, 25% of registered sex offenders are not shown on the public Internet database, because the cases are less serious.  Among the remaining 25%, there are 3 categories, with the “home address” listed for the most predatory crimes, and “conditional home address” and “zip code” for less serious.     

Minimum registration time can be 10 to 25 years, mandatory lifetime, or, in some states, lifetime registration only for aggravated or repeat offenses.  Failure to register or update information can be a felony punishable by more than a year in prison.  If sex offenders move to another state, they must inform their local police of their move, and they must register in the new state.

A sex offender is required to register for the first time while serving their prison sentence.  A small fee is imposed, and failure to pay this fee will result in additional jail time.  After their release from prison, the California Department of Justice (DOJ) is notified.  A misdemeanor sex offender is required to update their information every year.  A sex offender can simply walk into the local police station nearest their home to do so.

A violent sexual predator or a felony sex offender (in some states) must check in every 90 days, and a homeless sex offender every 30 days.  If a sex offender fails to check in, the website database will indicate that the person is in violation.  A change of address must be reported.  A sex offender must also report any schools attended.  Certain states allow juvenile sex offenders to be kept off of the registry provided they complete certain probation programs, camps, and education. 

Sex offenders who have been convicted of minor misdemeanors may apply to have their information excluded from the website.  Misdemeanors under this category may include such acts as misdemeanor child molestation and acts not involving penetration.  However, if excluded, sex offenders must still be registered and update their information, as described above. 

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Last Modified: 04-24-2012 02:20 PM PDT

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