This year, thousands of names came off of New York's Sex Offender Registry. This was because of the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA), which states that offenders who are deemed least likely to re-offend can be removed from the registry after 20 years. These are Level 1, or low-risk offenders.
Meanwhile, those with higher-level offenses will remain on the registry permanently. Specifically, those who are on the sex offender registry are one of two types, which we'll discuss in today's post.
Someone may be permanently kept on the registry if:
- The offender has been listed as a sexual predator, a sexual violent offender, or a predicate sex offender (i.e., a re-offender), and this is independent of the classified level; or
- The offender has been classified as Level 2 (moderate risk) or Level 3 (high risk). These levels are determined on a points system that the courts use, and it's based on factors such as the age of the victim, and if violence, drugs, alcohol, and/or force were used in the alleged act.
The list of registerable sex offenses can be found on the New York's Division of Criminal Justice Services web page.
On a federal level, the law that required sex offenders to be registered to be registered with local law enforcement is Megan's Law. This law was meant to empower law enforcement in tracking sex offenders. Advocates want to strengthen this law because of the number of Level 1 offenders who are no longer on the registry.
But these lists are controversial. There is little evidence that they improve public safety, but strong evidence to suggest that they stoke public fears and result in the demonization of sex offenders who have already served their sentence.
Being placed on a sex offender registry has life-changing consequences, even if you are deemed a Level 1 offender. If you have been charged with a sex crime, it's imperative to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.