Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act
Prosecutors and judges are notoriously tough on felony violations of the Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act. Your best hope of avoiding a harsh sentence is with a top, experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Sex Offenders Registration Act (SORA)
The Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) amendments require each offender to be classified into a tier. The Michigan State Police Sex Offender Registry and Enforcement Unit determines an offender’s tier classification based on the offender’s conviction and prior convictions. The tier classification determines the length of time the offender must be registered (MCL 28.725) and the number of times the offender is required to verify each year (MCL 28.725a).
- Tier I offenders must register for 15 years and verify their address annually, within the first fifteen days of January.
- Tier II offenders must register for 25 years and verify their address twice a year, within the first fifteen days of January and July.
- Tier III offenders must register for life and verify their address quarterly, within the first fifteen days of January, April, July, and October.
The Reporting Requirements
MCL 28.725 requires offenders who are residents of Michigan to report in person and notify the Michigan State Police or other applicable law enforcement agency immediately (defined as three business days) after the offender does any of the following:
- Changes or vacates their residence or domicile.
- Changes place of employment or employment is discontinued.
- Enrolls as a student with an institution of higher education, changes campuses, or enrollment is discontinued.
- Changes their name.
- Intends to temporarily reside at any place other than their residence for more than seven days.
- Establishes any e-mail address, instant message address, or other designations used in electronic communications.
- Purchases or begins to operate any vehicle regularly and when ownership or operation is discontinued.
In addition, MCL 28.725 requires offenders who are residents of Michigan to report in person and notify law enforcement three days before changing their residence or domicile to another state. Offenders who are Michigan residents must report in person and notify law enforcement 21 days before changing their residence or domicile to another country or traveling to another country for more than seven (7) days.
The Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act amendments revised the definition of “residence” in MCL 28.722 to address registering and verifying homeless offenders. The definition of “residence” now includes the statement, “If a person is homeless or otherwise lacks a fixed or temporary residence, residence means the village, city, or township where the person spends most of his or her time.” Homeless offenders must comply with the Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act, including address verification and the reporting requirements listed above.
Employee Definition Includes Volunteers
MCL 28.722 now defines “employee” as “an individual who is self-employed or works for any other entity as a full-time or part-time employee, contractual provider, or volunteer, regardless of whether he or she is financially compensated.” Accordingly, offenders who are unpaid volunteers are considered employees for purposes of the Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act, and they are required to report this employment information to law enforcement, including changes to the place the offender volunteers and if the offender discontinues volunteering for the entity.
Nonresidents and the Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act
MCL 28.723 states that a nonresident convicted in Michigan of a listed offense must register as an offender in Michigan on or after July 1, 2011. Nonresident offenders are not required to comply with the ongoing reporting requirements as long as the offender remains a nonresident and is not otherwise required to report under the SORA. A nonresident offender must also have a photograph taken as required by MCL 28.725a.
MCL 28.725(2) of the Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act requires nonresident offenders who work in Michigan to report in person and notify law enforcement of a change in place of employment or if employment is discontinued.
MCL 28.724a requires nonresident offenders who enroll with higher education institutions in Michigan to report in person and notify law enforcement within 10 days after enrolling as students, changing campuses, or enrollment is discontinued.
MCL 28.729 and MCL 28.735 of the Michigan Sex Offender Regustratuib Act list the penalties for violation of the SORA. The amendments changed the penalties listed in MCL 28.729 for violating the reporting requirements. Now, any offender who willfully violates the SORA is guilty of a felony, except:
- Failure to verify an address as required by MCL 28.725a(3) is punishable as a 2-year misdemeanor.
- Failure to sign registration forms as required by MCL 28.727(4) is punishable as a 93-day misdemeanor.
- Refusal or failure to pay a registration fee as required by MCL 28.725a(6) or MCL 28.727(1) within 90 days of the date the individual registers is punishable as a 90-day misdemeanor.
- Failure to maintain a valid identification as required by MCL 28.725a(7) is punishable as a 2-year misdemeanor.
- Residing in a student safety zone in violation of MCL 28.735 is punishable as a 1-year misdemeanor for the first offense and a 2-year felony for a second or subsequent offense.
- Working or loitering within a student safety zone in violation of MCL 28.734 is punishable as a 1-year misdemeanor for the first offense and a 2-year felony for a second or subsequent offense.
Failure to register as a sex offender is also a crime under federal law. Although rarely prosecuted in federal court, the United States Attorney’s office occasionally prosecutes these offenses.
Attorney for Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act Offenses
If you still have questions for a Michigan criminal defense attorney, please call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. for a free consultation and confidential case evaluation. Our lawyers will take the time to talk with you about the Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act, answer your questions, and work with you to develop a winning strategy. We recognize that no one budgets to hire a criminal defense lawyer, so we will work with you to determine fair, reasonable legal fees to protect and defend you on felony or misdemeanor charges.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.