Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
Typically, state criminal charges are filed where Michigan prosecuted the original offense. The federal government ordinarily prosecutes those individuals registering for federal criminal offenses.
Felony Failure to Register Under SORA
Some laws require individuals convicted of a sex crime to provide personal information relative to their residence and other matters to federal and state agency databases. The purpose is to provide law enforcement and the public with a way to monitor the whereabouts of those convicted of a sexual offense and to give the government an additional avenue for prosecuting defendants and collecting money. There are federal and state laws that govern sex offender registry (SORA) requirements. The laws are strict, and the requirements for reporting are abundant. Forgetting or not submitting your data could make you vulnerable to fines, loss of freedom, and jail or prison time. If you are being investigated or charged with failure to register as a sex offender or failure to update or provide the required information, you will need to contact a sophisticated criminal defense attorney well-versed in both federal and state law.
The Federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA)
The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act is the law for sex offender registration in the United States. This act aims to provide a nationwide network of sex offender registrants for police agencies and the public. SORNA requires sex offenders to provide personal information such as a home address or a work or school location.
Michigan Sex Offenders Registration Act (SORA)
Michigan’s sex offender registry contains names, residential addresses, and types of offenses for individuals in Michigan convicted of a sexual crime. The Michigan Department of State Police maintains the SORA registry.
The registry requirements for individuals convicted as sex offenders must register their address with law enforcement after being convicted but before sentencing. There must be periodic updates in person, depending on the tier level of your crime. For instance, if you received a tier 1 sex offense conviction, you must personally appear at the police post once a year to confirm your registration data. Tier 2 offenses require two appearances, while tier 3 offenses require three appearances.
You Cannot Accidentally Violate SORA
You cannot unintentionally or mistakenly violate SORA. Under Michigan’s SORA law, the prosecution must be able to prove the violation was “willful” before convicting someone of violating SORA.
Failure to Register – Federal
An individual who knowingly fails to register as a sex offender or fails to update their information as outlined in the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act could be charged with a federal crime. Additionally, someone convicted as a sex offender on a state level that did not register could also face prosecution federally if they traveled nationally, internationally, or lived on an Indian reservation. The federal penalty for a sex offender who does not register under the proper SORNA guidelines is subject to 10 years in prison. Moreover, if the sex offender did not register and is caught in the commission of a violent federal crime, they may be subject to up to 30 years in prison.
Failure to Register as a Sex Offender – State
Failure to do certain items required by Michigan’s SORA could result in a misdemeanor. Others, however, could subject you to a four-year or 10-year felony. Michigan law enforcement has aggressively prosecuted convicted sex offenders for violations of SORA. The name of the charge is Failure to Register as a Sex Offender. Even the most technical or trivial violations can carry severe consequences, including prison time.
To best protect your freedom, take the time to look for a premier criminal defense attorney like LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., where they have a team dedicated to the defense of these types of violations.
Expungement and Holmes Youthful Training Act (HYTA)
An expunged conviction is not a “conviction” requiring registration under Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Act. Similarly, defendants who successfully complete probation under HYTA do not have to register because the court never enters a public conviction.
Tier Offenses Clarified
Sexual offenses for the registry have been grouped into three different categories. All sexual offense convictions are serious, but to attach reporting requirements, the crimes are lumped from least to worse. This list is not all-inclusive, and it is worth your time to consult with a criminal defense attorney.
Tier 1 – Reporting requirement lasts 15 years and must be done once a year
- Indecent exposure with self-fondling in front of a child
- Child pornography (and related cases)
- Unlawful imprisonment or restraint of a minor
- 4th Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC 4th Degree)
Tier 2 – Reporting requirement lasts 25 years and must be done twice yearly
- Accosting, Enticing, or Soliciting a Child for Immoral Purposes
- Crime Against Nature or Sodomy, if the victim is younger than 18 but older than 13
- 2nd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC 2nd Degree)
Tier 3 – Reporting requirement lasts a lifetime and must be done three times a year
- Gross indecency against a victim under age 13
- 1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC First Degree)
- 3rd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC Third Degree)
Penalties for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
- failure to comply with everything other than payment – punishable by imprisonment for not more than two (2) years or a fine of not more than $2000.00 or both
- failure to pay the registration fee within 90 days – punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days
- failure to sign a registration and notice – punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $1000.00 or both
- No prior convictions – imprisonment for not more than four (4) years, a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.
- One prior conviction for a violation – imprisonment for not more than seven (7) years, a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.
- Two (2) or more prior convictions for violations of this act – imprisonment for not more than 10 years, a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both.
Attorneys Experienced with Defending Charges for Failure to Register as Sex Offender
Being accused of failing to register as a sex offender in Michigan can be frightening, especially if it was not done willfully and was just an oversight. If you are accused of Failure to Register as a Sex Offender or failing to update your sex offender information, our team of knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys can help you. Call us at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form, and someone from the firm will contact you promptly.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.