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As a previous post discussed, sex crimes can be major criminal offenses, resulting in harsh penalties that impact a defendant for much of their life. Because the severity of the crime can be grave, the penalties often associated with the crime are equally as harsh.

Depending on the circumstances and the details of the crime, the accused might have to register as a sex offender if he or she is convicted of the crime. Thus, it is important to understand what this means and how it could impact the future of the accused individual.

What is required when someone is on the sex offender registry? First, one should understand what a sex offender registry is. It is a database of stored information about individuals convicted sex offenders. The database is maintained and accessed by law enforcement as a means to monitor and track sex offenders living within a community. Some of the information provided on the registry is made available to the public, which is typically accessed through sex offender website.

Every state has its own sex offender registry, and what information is required and what is visible to the public can vary state by state. Typically, those convicted of specific sex crimes, such as those against children, are required to register at a law enforcement agency following their release into the community. This also required re-registering every year and whenever there is a change in residences. Failure to register is considered its own criminal offense that could result in additional penalties.

When an offender registers, the information provided typically includes name, date of birth, social security number, addresses, an up-to-date picture, vehicle information, offense information, fingerprints, DNA samples and other similar information. Information accessible to the public typically includes name and aliases, current address, what offense he or she was convicted of and current photos.

Having your name on a sex offender registry list can be a major penalty for defendants facing a sex crime. Thus, it is important to understand what is required of them if he or she is sentenced to this penalty. Even more so, defendants should note what criminal defense options are available, helping them reduce or even dismiss the charges against them.

Source: Findlaw.com, "The Sex Offender Registry: What You Need To Know," accessed Sept. 17, 2017

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