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Sex Offenses and Sex Offender Registry

North Carolina, like every state, has a sex offender registry. Each state’s laws may be more or less restrictive than another’s, but all require local law enforcement to be provided with identifying information about individuals convicted of specified sexual offenses. Those agencies must make that information available to the public and included on a national database of registered sex offenders. 

In the event of a conviction, your attorney’s role is to help prosecutors and the judge see the entire picture of the alleged offense and consider the individual and whole family impact that the conviction of a registrable offense may create. In some cases, conviction of a lesser but non-registrable offense may be a viable option that both satisfies the court and alleviates the long-term negative impacts of sex offender registration. 

If you have been arrested or charged, or are ready to appeal your placement on the sex offender registry, you should call or email Rawls, Scheer, Clary & Mingo for a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

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What convictions lead to registration as a sex offender?

Registrable offenses run the gamut from the obvious— rape, felonious sexual offenses, to misdemeanor sexual battery. Conviction of any of these offenses can result in placement on the registry for 30 years or more. 

If the conviction involves a repeat offense, is somehow violent nature, involves the use of a deadly weapon, or is otherwise aggravated, the court is required to evaluate that and consider a lifetime placement on the sex offender registry. Judges also have the right to consider whether there is need to track a registrant’s location with a satellite monitored ankle bracelet.

Federal law requires states notify schools, social services, public housing, and other agencies of the individual’s registration and location. Registered sex offenders are restricted from certain jobs or certain locations, particularly those that are around children, like schools, churches, or playgrounds. They may also be required to live certain distances from those places. In North Carolina, that distance is 1000 feet.

To be clear, you can’t be added to the sex offender registry just because a judge wants to do so, or in relation to another offense. Conversely, the judge has no choice but to place you on the registry if you’re convicted of a registrable offense.

What about convictions from other states, or if I move out of state?

If a person is convicted in North Carolina — or any other state — for a registrable offense, they’ll be subject to the same conditions through the duration of their of the registration, regardless of whether the state they’ve moved to has lesser restrictions. In short, you cannot move away from the conditions of your original conviction and registration. 

How do I get removed from the sex offender registry?

The first opportunity to get removed from the sex offender registry generally takes place at about the 10 year mark. That number may be different if the conviction is coming from another state — again, that is determined by the terms of the convicting state. Convictions of any sort within those 10 years lessen the chances of removal from the list. In North Carolina, there are a very complex set of considerations for the judge, and an experienced criminal defense lawyer from Rawls, Scheer, Clary &n Mingo can provide the most likely opportunity for early release. 

As with any criminal case, your attorney will want to build a case that you are are a suitable candidate for removal from the registry. Since this tends to be a very high bar, your lawyer’s charge is to gather every bit of information that reinforces the registrant’s capabilities of returning to regular society without restriction. It is our opinion that judges are a reflection of the general public and they, too, are fearful of releasing someone from this list. The best possible case to be removed is through the creation of an objective and thorough investigation of the applicant’s history, and the merits their removal from the registry.

What’s involved in building a case for removal from the sex offender registry?

The process begins with an assessment that determines whether that person presents any underlying risks. That includes an evaluation of the convictions, as well as a thorough psychiatric evaluation by a credible source. Those are arranged by a lawyer. This is also the opportunity to highlight the client’s positive history since the conviction. Is there a personal tragedy that’s been overcome? Have they created an entrepreneurial space to support themselves? What other restorative efforts, if applicable, have taken place since? Interviews with business associates, friends, pastors, etc., may also lend support to this body of work.

How can an attorney help?

Given the seriousness of what it means to be convicted of a sexual offense and be listed as a registered sex offender, there is a growing chorus of judges, attorneys, and others arguing for further reflection on the impact of these restrictions on individuals, families, and society. The experienced criminal law attorneys at Rawls, Scheer, Clary & Mingo have decades of experience advocating for those bound under these oppressive penalties.

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Your privacy is important to us. The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.