Sex offender registry
In 1996 the United States federal government passed Megan's law, requiring local law enforcement agencies across the nation to establish a sex offender registry. Megan's law was named after a New Jersey girl named Megan Kanka who was raped and killed by a known child molester who moved in next door to her family's home. In the wake of this tragedy, local jurisdictions sought to develop a way to inform the public about sex offenders in their community.
A sex offender registry provides information to the public about convicted sex offenders who live, work, or visit their respective communities. Since the passage of Megan's law, each state has adopted their own system of implementing and updating their sex offender registry. While the sex offender registry laws in each state are slightly unique, many features of state registries hold true for most or all systems. There are currently almost 550,000 convicted offenders registered on a local sex offender registry nationwide.
By law, individuals who have been convicted of certain sex crimes must provide personal information for sex offender registry inclusion in the community where they live or work. There are a number of criminal convictions that are considered sex crimes which require inclusion in a sex offender registry. These may include, but are not limited to: rape, sexual assault, kidnapping, child pornography, incest, sexual abuse, involvement in the prostitution of a minor, and more. Before a convicted sex offender is released from prison, jail, or a mental hospital, they are informed of their compulsory duty to provide information to the sex offender registry.
Sex offenders are required to update their information in the sex offender registry periodically. Information in a sex offender registry must be updated each time an offender changes their address or becomes a transient, changes his/her job, or has any other changes in the information supplied to the sex offender registry. In most cases, a sex offender will have to submit this information for the rest of their lives, though in some cases it is for a specific period of time.
There are also cases where a sex offender is excluded from a sex offender registry. In some states as many as one-quarter of all convicted sex offenders are not required to register in a sex offender registry. This exclusion from the sex offender registry is based on the type of sex crime committed. For example offenders who were convicted of certain sex crimes (such as a misdemeanor sex crime) may be eligible to apply for exclusion from a sex offender registry. There are also other cases where sex offenders have failed to comply with sex offender registry requirements, yet law enforcement has failed to locate their whereabouts.
Information contained within a sex offender registry is available to the public for free or at a small cost, depending on the state. There are harsh penalties for convicted offenders who fail to comply with sex offender registry laws. If you have questions about sex offender registry laws, please contact us to speak with a qualified and experienced attorney in your area who can help.
Related Sex Offender Registry News
May 30, 2007 - Sex Offenders May Have To Provide E-mail Address
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