Sex Offenses Law

Types of Restrictions on Convicted Sex Offenders

This content contains sensitive subject matter related to legal defense for crimes of a sexual nature.

Sex offenders who have committed a sexual offense must register with local law enforcement after release from prison. Depending on the criminal charge, convicted sex offenders may be limited in where they can live and work. Sex offender registries are public. Anyone can search for sex offenders where they live, including showing the offender’s address, physical description, and photograph.

Sex offender restrictions can make finding a place to live difficult after serving their sentence. Sex offender restrictions are different in every state, so it is vital to understand your state’s laws about registered sex offenders. Talk to a sex crime defense attorney to find out more about restrictions and registration requirements.

What Is a Sex Offender?

Sex offenders include anyone convicted of a sex crime or certain crimes involving children. Examples of sex crimes include:

The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) requires sexual offenders to register with their local law enforcement agency when released from prison. Offenders have to verify and update their registry information periodically.

Federal Sex Offender Restrictions

Under federal law, sex offenders must be registered with their local police department before release from prison. Registration information includes the offender’s residence, place of employment, and where they are going to school. Failure to register is a crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. If a person is homeless, they still have to check in with law enforcement in the location where they are.

The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act classifies sex offenders into three tiers.

Tier III offenses are for sex crimes involving force, threat, drugging, or sex crimes involving minors. Tier III is the most serious classification for a sex crime. Tier III generally requires lifelong registration, with offenders appearing to verify their information every 3 months for life.

Tier II offenders are included in sex crimes like child pornography or underage prostitution. Under federal law, Tier II offenders must register every 6 months for 25 years.

Tier I offenders don’t fall into Tier II or Tier III. Under federal law, Tier I offenders must register once a year for 15 years.

Sex Offender Restrictions Under State Law

States can also pass their own laws for restricting sex offenders. State laws can limit where sex offenders can work, live, and who they can be around. States also have different registration laws for how long someone has to register and re-register as a sex offender.

For example, in Florida, some sex offenders are prohibited from living within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare center, park, or playground. Violating this law can be a felony offense.

In California, the state court found a similar law limiting distance within 2,000 feet unconstitutional. Instead, sex offenders in California can be limited in how close they can live to schools or parks, but it is done on a case-specific basis, based on public safety.

States also do risk assessments of offenders and base sex offender residency restrictions on the likelihood the person will re-offend. Risk assessments are based on statistics, recidivism rates, sex offender treatment, and criminal history.

Some states have community notification requirements, and others do not. Other states require electronic monitoring of sex offenders on parole. Talk to a sex crime lawyer in your state to understand the specific restrictions for sex offenders and registration requirements.

Other Restrictions for Sex Offense Convictions

There may be other restrictions for sex offenders unrelated to their sex crime status. There are restrictions for convicted felons of any type of crime, including sex crimes. Felons are generally prohibited from possessing or owning a firearm. In some states, people with felony convictions cannot vote or serve on a jury.

There may also be other consequences of a criminal conviction. Even with no state restrictions, some companies may not want to hire someone with a sex crime record. It can be harder to get a job, a professional license, a place to live, or even get government benefits.

Learn From an Expert in the Law

There are federal, state, and local restrictions for sex offenders. If you are accused of a sex crime, you can find out more about the sex offender restrictions where you live or work by speaking with a knowledgeable sex crime defense attorney.

Was this helpful?