Sex offender registries are designed to allow government authorities to keep track of the residence and activities of sex offenders, including those who completed their criminal sentences. Registration is often accompanied by residential address notification requirements as well as other restrictions, including their proximity to schools or day care centers, owning toys or other items of interest to minors, using the internet, and/or restrictions on being in the presence of minors. The U.S. is the only country with a publicly accessible sex offender registry, which adds a considerable amount of scrutiny for those on the list.
The U.S. required law enforcement to make its sex offender registry publicly accessible in 1996 when “Megan’s Law,” the federal law passed in response to the rape and murder of seven-year-old Megan Kanka. The “International Megan's Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking” expanded the notification requirements regarding sex offenders in early 2016 by requiring a “unique identifier” be placed on passports of sex offenders registered for a sexual offense involving a minor to notify foreign governments of their presence. The law also allows the U.S. Secretary of State to limit or place restrictions on the travel of convicted sex offenders.
What Happens If Someone Doesn’t Properly Register?
Under Section 2250 of Title 18, U.S. Code, it’s a federal offense for sex offenders the knowingly fail to register or update a registration as required. Convicted sex offenders may also be prosecuted if they knowingly:
- Engage in interstate travel
- Engage in foreign travel
- Enter, leave, or reside on an Indian reservation
Sex offender registry violation may result in fines and up to 10 years in prison, and sex offenders who fail to update or register and commit a violent federal crime may face up to 30 years in prison.
Sex Offender Registration in Arizona
Avoiding sex offender registry violations altogether is the best way to avoid trouble. Registry requirements vary between states, so be sure to familiarize yourself with each state’s policies before travel to ensure a smooth trip.
For those traveling or moving to Arizona, here are a few requirements to keep in mind:
- What agency registers sex offenders? Sex offenders need to register with the sheriff of the county they live in.
- Do I need to register if I’m visiting Arizona? Anyone planning to stay in Arizona for more than 10 days is required to register. Failure to do so is considered a Class 4 felony.
- What do I need to do if I’m planning on moving? A sex offender has 72 hours, excluding weekends and legal holidays, to register their change of address. It must be completed on a sex offender registration form in person. Failure to do so is considered a Class 4 felony.
- Do I need a special driver’s license or ID card? Yes. All sex offenders are required to obtain credentials from the Arizona MVD. The credential is obtained annually, and looks identical to any other license. The difference is that when a law enforcement official checks the status of the credential, it indicates the individual’s sex offender registration. Failure to obtain this credential is considered a Class 6 felony and comes with a required $250 assessment.
If you have been falsely accused of registry violations and are in need of a lawyer, our attorneys at MayesTelles have the training, knowledge, and skill to defend you in court. Call us today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help.