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What you need to know about the sex offender registry

When a jury finds you guilty of a sex crime or when you plead guilty, you should be prepared for a radical change to your life. Not only may you need to serve time in jail or on probation, but you may also be on the sex offender registry. This can have serious ramifications for your personal and professional life in ways you haven’t thought of.

Over the years, time has revealed serious issues with the sex offender registry—issues that go unresolved. Individuals cannot take care of their children. You cannot go to everyday events like fairs or other venues. Sometimes removal is violent and even leads to more time in jail. These notable arrests leave many wondering: Is there anything I can do about the sex offender registry?

What puts someone on the registry

Sex offender registry rules can seem convoluted and disproportional to the relevant crime, and, rest assured, claimants have filed petitions seeking to protect registrants’ rights. Until those issues are resolved, you need to know very clearly what the registry means, how it affects you and how to petition for removal.

There are three tiers of sex offenders who the courts require to register. Only tier 3 offenders register for life and the law reserves that tier for the most severe sexual assaults and other crimes. Most individuals on the list are on tiers 1 or 2, meaning their crimes involved relatively less harmful acts like public exposure, statutory rape and similar crimes.

If you are on the registry, any one who has an internet connection can search the registry and find your name, your physical description, your charges and other details.

Removal from the registry

Some individuals will never successfully petition for removal, but, through dedicated effort, many people can remove their names from the list. Removal depends on your case details and the length of time since your offense. For instance, juveniles on the registry have an easier time petitioning for removal, especially if their case is otherwise sealed. In general, if it has been 10 years since your offense without any recurrence or issue, you may also qualify. Because there are many prejudices against registrants, you should not request removal on your own; you need to work with an experienced attorney capable of helping you.