Sex crimes have daunting consequences as a conviction affects your reputation at work, personally, and socially. Moreover, you have to register as a sex offender as a legal requirement. In fact, you have to do it even if you went in after a false accusation. The nature and seriousness of the crime determine the timelines for staying on the list. Registration on this list has life-changing consequences. Moreover, the process is complicated, and there are always chances of making errors while doing the needful. So you have good reasons to avoid doing it.
But failure to register as a sex offender can land you in deeper trouble. It is crucial to understand the significance of registering on time and doing everything right. You must also know the consequences of failure to register as a sex offender to steer clear of them. You need to be even more conscious if a false accusation got you on the list. Here are the key facts you must know about the situation.
Requirements for registration
The requirements for registering as a sex offender may vary according to the state. But being involved in a sex crime is the basic pre-requisite. Here are the common crimes that can get you on the list:
- Sexual assault
- A second conviction of indecent exposure
- Indecency with a child by contact
- Indecency with a child by exposure
- Sexual performance by a child
- Possession or promotion of child pornography
- Compelling prostitution
Understanding the process
Registering as a sex offender involves meeting with the law enforcement officers in your location. You will have to fill up a registration form and provide your photographs and fingerprints to the local law enforcement authorities. You will also have to inform the local police department if you need to change your address. Ensure that you pass the information seven days before moving to the new place. You will also have to re-register in the new locality. Further, you will have to verify registration annually (every 90 days if convicted of a violent offense).
Implications of failing to register
Registering as a sex offender is mandatory, so you must do it right away and follow the norms of annual verification. Not doing so intentionally or unintentionally can cause a problem. Further, you must avoid the common errors in the process because these can also result in legal issues. The errors that people often make include:
- Sharing false or incomplete information
- Registering in another state
- Not updating your annual registration
- Not updating your address
- Not contacting the local law enforcement department after moving
- Waiting too long to register after your prison sentence ends
If you fail to register or make any of these errors in the process, you can expect legal action. The best way to deal with the situation is by hiring an experienced sex crimes attorney to represent you in court. Attention to detail is crucial to the defense strategy in these cases, so you must have a seasoned lawyer with relevant experience to handle your case. They can get you off the hook by proving that the situation was due to an honest mistake rather than an intentional action. Proving it can save you from penalties such as jail time and fines.
Getting off the sex offender registry
While you cannot do much about getting on the registry after conviction, you must find a way to get off it at the earliest. States have different rules and timelines for sex offenders when it comes to getting them off the registry. Your lawyer can guide you about the ones in your area and help you do the needful. You can expect to stay on the list for more than a decade as most states have extended timelines. But you can request a more lenient schedule to get off the list earlier.
But you will have to validate that you deserve to be off by staying on the right side of the law. Legally, you will have to complete a specific number of years without incident. You may also be required to finish counseling mandated by your sentencing, pass psychological examinations, pay off court-ordered restitution, and prove that you are not a threat to public safety. Your attorney can help you understand these requirements and file a petition to get off the list.
Sex crime litigation is complicated, and you need to follow some rules even after conviction and completion of your sentence. You have to register as an offender to stay on the right side of the law. Failing to do so can be problematic, even as being on the registry can have an impact on your life and employability. The best way to stay legally safe is by collaborating with an expert attorney even beyond the court case.