Each state has its own registry system for sex offenders, each having different requirements for who must register, the information that needs to be provided, and what information is available to the public.
But what kind of information is made public? Is it a person’s address? Their name? Where do they work?
What Is A Sex Offender Registry?
It is commonly referred to as Megan’s Law and is a database of information related to convicted sex offenders, even those who have had high-quality representation for sex crimes. They are usually accessed by law enforcement in order to keep track of sex offenders across the country. But some of this information can also be accessed by the public, especially parents.
The standards set about for these registries came from SORNA (Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act) but most states have their own variations of the law.
Who Must Register As A Sex Offender?
Any individual who has been convicted of specific sex offenses, and any offenses against children, must register as a sex offender. This is performed at the enforcement agency of where that person lives, and they must re-register every year (or more often), as well as whenever they move to a new location. Failure to register is a criminal offense.
What Information Is Required To Register As A Sex Offender?
Required information includes name, date of birth, social security number, addresses, photograph, vehicle information, offense information, fingerprints, DNA sample, as well as any other information the state requires. There are some cases where an offender can request that some information not be publicly posted.
What Information Is Made Public?
The public can gain access to the registry from The U.S. Department of Justice’s National Sex Offender Public Website (“NSOPW”). There is access to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, 5 U.S. territories, and federally recognized Indian tribes.
Public information generally includes the following:
- Name and any aliases
- Current address
- Convicted offense(s)
- Photograph of the individual
In addition, the website may also provide a physical description of the offender, their date of birth, the date of the offense (s), and any other information the state’s law deems necessary.
In addition, there is a National Sex Offender Registry that is only available to law enforcement. It is maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and tracks registered sex offenders across the country so that information is always being updated.
Although this information is public, all sex offender registries notify those visiting their websites that the use of the information in order to harass or injure any of the offenders listed may be subject to criminal prosecution.
If you’ve been convicted of a sex offense that requires you to be registered with the registry of your state, then it’s important that you ensure you’re meeting all of your obligations under state law. It would be best for you to speak with your local criminal defense attorney to learn about these requirements to avoid separate criminal violations that could put you back in prison.