Sex Offender Registry
All states require sex offender registration of some kind. Individuals convicted as sex offenders must register their addresses with law enforcement. Sex offenders must also send updates whenever they change addresses and must keep their registration information current. Some states require sex offenders to verify information on a yearly basis via mail or more frequently if deemed violent predators. States have different requirements regarding what offenses require registration and for what periods of time. Additionally, some offenses that are more serious may require registration for life. Serious crimes vary by state, but most commonly include repeat offenders, violent sexual offenders and those who commit sexual crimes against children. If you are concerned about your status under these rules, call today to schedule a consultation with an attorney who can provide help and advice.
In addition to sex offender registration laws, all fifty states also have community notification laws. States enacted sex offender registration laws and community notification laws in response to state and federal acts, mainly Megan's Law, the Jacob Wetterling Act and the Pam Lyncher Sexual Offender Tracking and Identification Act. Megan's Law was passed by the New Jersey legislature when Megan Kanka, a seven-year-old girl, was kidnapped and murdered by her neighbor, who had been previously convicted of sex offenses against children. Congress passed the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act ("Jacob Wetterling Act") in 1994, to give law enforcement agencies, the FBI and the public access to state sex offender registries. To avoid losing federal funding, states passed laws in compliance with the Jacob Wetterling Act. Public notification of sex offender information was furthered in 1996 by the enactment of Megan's Law at the federal level. This enabled law enforcement to release sex offender registry information to the public in order to protect the community. Also in 1996, Congress enacted the Pam Lyncher Sexual Offender Tracking and Identification Act, which created a federal sex offender registration database.
State implementation of these federal laws may vary. Generally, when sex offenders register with local law enforcement, that information is given to the public in the offenders' areas. This may include school boards or principals, neighbors and child care facilities near where the registered sex offender lives and works. The public may also view the sex-offender registry for some states on the Internet or at local police departments. Additionally, some states have mandatory sex-offender notification processes. Neighbors, businesses and schools in the offender's geographic area may be notified of his or her name, address and vocation. The notification process and length of time an offender must register varies from state to state. However, generally, if you must register as a sex offender, your community will have access to your identity, address and sex-offender classification. If you have been charged with a sexual offense, you should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Speak to a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Sex offender registries and notification are important for community protection from violent predators. However, in the drive for safety, some lesser offenses may be included and this can be devastating to a sex offender. If you are facing sexual-assault charges, you need an experienced and aggressive defense attorney.
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