In many of our previous blogs, we have discussed the seriousness of sex crime allegations, including the considerable consequences of a conviction. Whether they are state or federal charges, sex crime convictions subject defendants to considerable terms of imprisonment and various long-term consequences that can create difficulties and restrictions when convicted individuals search for employment, wish to travel, and or enjoy the same individual rights and freedoms as other American citizens. While convictions, a criminal record, and time behind bars are significant penalties, one of the most notable and consequences associated with these charges is sex offender registration.
Under both state and federal law, many sex crime convictions – ranging from child pornography to criminal sexual conduct – include terms that mandate individuals to register as convicted sex offenders. For many, sex offender registration is the most severe and concerning penalty associated with sex crimes, as it can greatly restrict an individual’s rights, freedoms, and ability to assimilate back into communities and society following a conviction and / or prison sentence.
Sex offender registries are notorious for their transparency – meaning they can provide the public with access to personal information about individuals convicted of certain sex crimes, including:
- Home address / secondary address
- Registered vehicles
- Employment and school
- Crimes and terms of imprisonment
- Risk level
This information is not only available to the public and members of a community, but also prospective employers, schools, and even financial institutions that extend credit or loans to consumers. As such, sex offender registration functions as a brand on convicted individuals – a scarlet letter that can follow them and greatly limit their opportunities in life. While many advocates have challenged the way states and the federal government use sex offender registries (including challenges over the types of crimes that should be registered and the length of registration), the laws in place are still immensely harsh.
Minnesota Sex Offender Registration
Under its predatory offender registration law, the state of Minnesota requires individuals convicted of certain serious sex crimes (including in state, out-of-state, and federal sex crimes) – such as first- to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, child pornography offenses, sex crimes involving minors, kidnapping and false imprisonment, felony indecent exposure, and more – to register as convicted sex offenders for a minimum of 10 years – or for the duration of their probation if sentenced to probation for more than 10 years. Aggravated offenses, repeat sex offenders, or individuals deemed “sexual predators” are subject to lifetime registration.
Sex offender registration has terms and conditions with which offenders must comply based on their risk level (Level I, II, and II). Many restrictive terms – such as contact with children or living near schools – can also be imposed as conditions of probation or parole, or a result of local ordinances passed by cities. Still, registration does entail a number of requirements, and individuals subject to registration can face penalties for failure to register violations – including 5 additional years of registration for each violation and a 1 year and 1 day prison sentence, or more for subsequent violations. Non-compliance may include:
- Failing to report changes in address (primary or secondary), employment, school, or owned
- Failing to return Verification Forms
- Failing to register with local law enforcement as an out-of-state registrant visiting Minnesota for more than 2 weeks or living, working, or attending school in Minnesota
In addition to initial registration requirements and requirements to report changes, registered offenders may be subject to other ongoing obligations of the registration law based on their risk level. These include mandatory appearances at least every 6 months to be photographed, in-person contact with law enforcement, periodic verifications forms from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).
Sex offender registration, while one of the most concerning penalties of sex crime convictions, is only one of many consequences individuals face when being charged with a sex-related offense. Given the severity and long-term nature of these penalties, enlisting the help of proven sex crime lawyers knowledgeable in Minnesota state and federal laws is critical to one’s defense. To learn more about our criminal defense services at Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A., contact us for a free and confidential consultation.