Sexual Offender Registration-FAQs

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Every state requires that sexual offenders register. Although every state law differs, there are general principles that are similar for each state. The following is a resource for the guidelines followed by each state in conducting and enforcing sexual offender registration.

Who Is Required To Register as a Sex Offender?

Most states require any adult convicted of a sexual offense to register. In some states, this will include a person who was charged with a sexual offense but was acquitted on account of a mental defect. What constitutes a sexual offense will often vary from state to state. However, most states are consistent on classifying a particular crime as a sexual offense.

Are Juveniles Required To Register as Sex Offenders?

Some states require juveniles to register while others say that registration may be required.  Still others require registration only if the juvenile was convicted as an adult.

When Is An Offender Required To Register as a Sex Offender?

States differ greatly on when an offender is required to register. In general, however, a sex offender is required to register anywhere from one day to thirty days after establishing residence in the state.

Where Does A Sex Offender Register? 

Again, states will differ on the exact location of registration. For the most part, states will require a person to register with either a local law enforcment agency, the state's Department of Public Safety, or a similar entity.

What Happens If The Information Provided Changes?

Most states will require notification of a change of address within a certain period of time. In addition, some states may require notice of other changes in information including, but not limited to, change of name and change in employment.

Is A Sex Offender Required To Notify The State When It Moves To Another State?

States will require an offender to notify them when they are moving out of their state. Some states may also require an offender to notify the state they are moving into, although all states are going to require registration once they move into the state.

Does A Sex Offender Need To Register If S/he Doesn't Live In The State But Either Works Or Goes To School There?

Yes. States will require an offender to register in their state a certain time after they start employment or go to school there. Usually the same time periods that apply to registration for a resident will apply to someone working or going to school in the state.

Is Registration A Lifetime Requirement?

Most states will make registration a lifetime requirement. Some states, however, will condition the requirement period based on the type of offense committed. In general, states will require registration of at least ten years even if they condition the requirement based on the offense.

What Happens If A Sex Offender Fails To Register?

Failure to register usually results in a felony. The penalty of which is no less than a year in jail and a fine.

Do I Need An Attorney?

There first thing to do if you are convicted of a sex offense is to look up the laws of the state where you reside. If you still have questions or you feel your rights have been violated, then seeking an attorney will assist in resolving your concerns.

If you are concerned about a sexual offender in your area, contact the local law enforcement and express your concern(s).

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Last Modified: 04-24-2012 02:21 PM PDT

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