Do all states have a sex offender registry?

If you face charges related to sex offenses, a conviction can prove life-altering. It may force you to register with the state. However, what counts as an offense that requires registration differs by state and locality. For example, in New Mexico, a minor at 17 years old has the legal right to give sexual consent. In New York, this minor has no such right. 

How the state you live in defines sex offenses may determine whether registry becomes necessary. Even so, every state has a sex offender registry. 

What Is Megan’s Law?

According to Psychology Today, in the 90s, a young girl died at the hands of a convicted sex offender. The family did not know of the man’s criminal history. At the time, they also had no way of checking. This led to nationwide outrage and concern. New Jersey chose to address concerns in its state by enacting a law that publicized information about sex offenders. 

What Is the Sex Offender and Notification Act?

Years after New Jersey’s example, the federal government followed up with the 2006 SORNA. It required all states to track and publicize information about sex offenders in an online database that people could search freely. The following information became publicized: 

  • Work address 
  • Home Address 
  • Picture 
  • Crime 

How long do sex offenders need to register?

No one wants to find himself or herself registered on a sex offender list made available to the public. The horror can lead to misinformation that the list lasts forever, but it may last for anywhere from a decade to life. 

Registering as a sex offender can have profound effects on your personal and professional life. It determines where you live, how you travel and where you can work. Employers might also think twice about hiring you. These consequences feel especially harsh if you did not commit the crime but felt pressured to take a plea deal or you were otherwise wrongfully convicted.