Upon the release of a convicted sex offender, they may soon realize that reintegrating into a society that frowns upon any sexual-related offense may be more challenging than they could have ever anticipated.
As per the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, state authorities must require convicted sex offenders to register with them after returning to their community for monitoring purposes. Anyone in violation of this rule faces a federal crime punishable by considerable fines and prison time.
Under Maryland law, there are three tiers for varying sex offenses with corresponding registration requirements. Tier I, the least severe category, requires registration every six months for 15 years. Tier II offenses require registration every six months for 25 years. Tier III, which includes the most severe cases – like rape and sexual abuse of a minor – requires a lifetime registration every three months.
Once a convicted sex offender’s information has gone public through the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services registry, life-altering consequences follow.
Public service and continuing punishment
A recent Maryland Court of Appeals ruling specified that being on the sex offender registry will now be an inclusive punishment as part of the conviction, with restrictions that can aid in a plea deal.
But permanent consequences always come with a damaging criminal label. There are restrictions on the following:
- Residency, employment and overall mobility: The sex offender must maintain a prescribed distance and cannot live, work or stay at places frequented by children – schools, day care centers, playgrounds and parks.
- Child custody: If the sex offender is on the verge of a divorce, their spouse may use their registration against them as proof that they pose a threat to their own child.
- Privacy: Aside from inevitable biased judgments from their families, friends and neighborhood, authorities are also constantly tracking their whereabouts.
There has always been a heated debate on the role of sex offender registries as a deterrent against sex offenders re-offending. Instead of acting as a preventive measure to crime, critics argue that access to sex offender registries creates fear and pushes the public to take matters into their own hands.
Also, removing a sex offender’s name is possible if they have completed their term. In some cases, they could also obtain court order copies regarding expungement and reversal, or a governor’s pardon of their conviction.
What the future holds
A future hounded with the stigma of sexual crimes may be more than anyone can handle alone. You may find solace that you can always get the help you need. If you are suffering from overwhelming hardships, it will help to have a legal team protect your rights and fight for your and your loved ones’ future.