A sex offender is an individual who has committed a sex crime. A sex crime is an act illegal or coerced conduct, sexual in nature, against another person. Examples of sex crimes includ rape, child pornography, child prostitution, child molestation, sexual abuse or battery. Sex crimes may be committed through the Internet. 

A sex offender attorney is a lawyer who represents an individual charged with a sex crime. Such an attorney is familiar with the sex crime laws of the individual’s state, as well as federal sex offense laws.

What Information is Required When You Register as a Sex Offender?

A federal law known as the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safet Act of 2006 requires individuals convicted of sex crimes to register as sex offenders. When an individual is sentenced, they must register as a sex offender with local law enforcement. Registration includes submitting one’s name, address, employment status, and details and date of the offense. Registering includes providing additional information, including social security number, birth date, fingerprints and palm prints, physical description, as well as a current photo. 

Local law enforcement may also require individuals to submit copies of their driver’s license, and plate number for all vehicles owned. If an individual has a distinct identifying feature, such as a tattoo, the individual must provide a description of the feature. If an individual resides in more than one state, the individual must register with each state. An individual is responsible for keeping their registration information up to date.  

Do I Have to Register as a Sex Offender?

Under a federal law known as the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act  (SORNA), registration is required for convictions for a sex crime. An individual convicted of a sex crime in any jurisdiction in the United States, whether under state, federal, county, city, or military law, must register as a sex offender. Failure to register is a crime.

What Kind of Limitations Comes with Sex Offender Status?

Registered sex offenders are subject to certain limitations. For example, a sex offender convicted of child molestation or child pornography may be prohibited from living within a certain distance of a school or child care facility. State laws may prohibit sex offenders from being out at night past a certain time (curfew). These laws may also prohibit sex offenders from consuming alcohol or drugs.  

Once a sex offender registers, their name, where they live, and their sex offenses become public record. States maintain searchable online sexual offender registries. Sex offenders may be denied employment in jobs that require working with or being with children. Some states prohibit sex offenders from employment in jobs that do not involve working with or being around children. 

Individuals who register must periodically “check in” with police. Criminal background checks will reveal someone’s status as a sex offender. If neighbors members of the offender’s community conduct a search for sex offender registrants near them, the offender’s name will turn up in the search.

Can I Get My Name Removed From A Sex Offender Registry?

A sex crimes attorney may represent an individual who was convicted of a sex crime, but who was subsequently exonerated. An individual may be exonerated on the basis of a false accusation, or through a successful appeal. Other circumstances may entitle an individual to have their name removed from a registry. These circumstances are spelled out in state law. A sex crimes attorney may assist such individuals with removal of their names from a sex offender registry.

Individuals who were lawfully convicted of a sex crime may be eligible for removal, depending upon the nature of the offense. Some offenses are “non-removable,” meaning that they are deemed sufficiently severe to warrant permanent registration. Other offenses are removable. For these offenses, an individual may file a petition for removal from the registry. The petition is filed with a judge. The individual must testify that they are no longer a safety threat. 

The individual must also demonstrate they completed any required counseling, treatment, or therapy. The judge will review the information and testimony. When reviewing the evidence, the judge will evaluate factors including general criminal history, as well as the severity of the particular sex crime. 

Individuals may be classified under the “lowest” class of offender. This classification is referred to as “offender.” An “offender” is a person who has committed a sex crime not involving violence or aggrvating factors (force or coercion). Offenders may be eligible for removal from anywhere from ten to fifteen years after their name has been on the registry. the person is considered to have the lowest class of convicted sex offender. This is used for the non-violent sexual abuser who has not committed aggravated or violent crimes. The length of time in the registry for this class is fifteen years, but names may be removed after ten years’ time in many locations.

Other classes of offenders are generally not eligible for removal. The classifications not eligible for removal include sexually violent predators and aggravated offenders. Repeat offenders may be required to remain on the registry for life. 

After the petition is filed, the court will then review it to decide whether or not they should grant the request for removal. The court may also consider the offender’s criminal history, the severity of the sexual crime, and if the offense involved violence. If the individual is successful, their name will be removed from the registry. 

Are Juveniles Required To Register as Sex Offenders?

Some juveniles must register as sex offenders. SORNA requires registration of some juveniles who are 14 and older. An individual 14 or older may be required to register if:

  • A court has sentenced the juvenile for delinquency.
  • The delinquency was for an aggravated sexual abuse offense.
  • The aggravated sexual abuse crime is at least as severe as federal law aggravated sexual abuse

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

Generally, a sex offender may move from one state to another. An individual who moves must first notify the “original” state’s local law enforcement of the new address. The individual must then notify the “new” state of their status as an offender. The new state will then determine whether registration as an offender is required in the new state. 

Typically, a state department or division of criminal justice makes this determination. If the initial state imposed lifetime registration, and the new state finds that lifetime registration is warranted, the new state can impose lifetime registration. 

What Happens If A Sex Offender Fails To Register?

Knowingly failing to register or update one’s registration under SORNA is a crime. An individual may be fined for the offense. The individual may also face imprisonment of up to ten years. An individual may be fined, imprisoned, or both. 

Do I Need a Lawyer If I Have Issues with the Sex Offender Registry?

Workng with a sex offense lawyer will give you a clear understanding of your rights and options. If you have been charged with a sex offense, or have an issue related to registration, you should contact a criminal lawyer. An experienced criminal lawyer near you can represent you in court and in registration removal proceedings.