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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last Modified: 06-02-2017 03:20 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
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