Find the right lawyer now

Removal from Sex Offender Registry

Find a Local Criminal Lawyer near You

What is a Sex Offender Registry?

All 50 states (and the District of Columbia) have sex offender registries. Under state and federal law, these registries contain information that publically identifies people who have been convicted of sexual offenses, including rape, sexual assault, and molestation. Typically, the public can view information such as:

  • Mug shots,
  • Conviction information,
  • Your current address ,
  • Your place of employment or school,
  • Your registered vehicles, and
  • Other identifying information

Convicted sex offenders must also meet a series of reporting requirements—potentially for their lifetime. While sex offender registries provide important public safety information, some believe they are excessively restrictive and complicated. Your presence on a sex offender registry can significantly limit your ability to find work or housing.

Can I Remove my Name From a Sex Offender Registry or Database?

Sex offender registration rules vary from state to state. In some states, there is a lifetime requirement to register as a sex offender. Other states have waiting periods or other rules about registration and removal. These waiting periods range from five to thirty years. However, these waiting periods (or the lifetime registration requirement) may not apply under certain circumstances. For example, you may be eligible for removal (or from certain requirements) if you:

  • Were convicted of a relatively minor crime,
  • Were a juvenile convicted of an offense related to consensual relations or a less serious crime,
  • Are awarded a reversal on appeal, or
  • Successfully complete a deferred adjudication program.

Again, the criteria for removal vary dramatically from state to state. If you need help understanding your community’s rules, contact a criminal defense lawyer.

How Can I Get My Name Off a Sex Offender Registry or Database?

If you are eligible, you typically must file a petition for removal with the court. Depending on where you live, a judge or an agency panel will review your request and issue a decision. You may also be responsible for court fees and other costs.

Typically, you must show that you have been rehabilitated and are not likely to commit other sexual offenses. Many states also require a history of ongoing compliance with its registration requirements. (Even one mistake can result in the denial of your request.

What if the Sexual Offense was Pardoned or Expunged?

Expungement or record sealing removes a conviction from the public record. Unfortunately, most violent sexual offenses are not expungeable. However, if your sex crime conviction is expunged or pardoned, you may be eligible for removal from the sex offender registry. This does vary from state to state—in some states, you will remain on the registry even if you are pardoned or the offense is expunged. Again, it is important to understand your state’s rules and procedures.

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

Removing your name from a sex offender registry is a difficult process. Most states impose rigorous requirements for removal, and some do not allow removal at all. Most people cannot handle this process on their own. For this reason, you should seriously consider hiring a criminal defense lawyer before filing a petition for removal. A lawyer can ensure that you follow the correct process and present a compelling case to the court.

Photo of page author Leigh Ebrom

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 06-02-2017 03:20 PM PDT

Law Library Disclaimer
  • No fee to present your case
  • Choose from lawyers in your area
  • A 100% confidential service
What is LegalMatch?

We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.