Federal law requires that states maintain a system that monitors and tracks convicted sex offenders after they have been released back into society. The Federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act is a comprehensive law that holds that those convicted of sex offenses must register and stay updated with a state's authorities. Failing to contact the local sex offender registry is a federal offense.
But for how long after being released must convicted sex offenders continue to report to the authorities? SORNA breaks the various categories of sex crimes into three tiers, which are based on the severity of acts committed.
In this system, those convicted and imprisoned for Tier III crimes are required upon release to report to local authorities for the remainder of their lives. Tier II offenders must report for a period of 25 years. Those who received a Tier I conviction have a 15-year reporting requirement after release.
Convicted sex offenders who deliberately fail to register, or to keep their registrations current, can face prosecution. They may be subject to fines and even prison sentences of up to 10 years in duration. If the failure to register is accompanied by charges of having committed a violent federal crime, the defendant could receive as much as 30 years in prison.
If you have been released from prison after serving time for a sex crime conviction, you likely realize that you are very vulnerable in regard to your personal life and reputation. Even an honest mistake could have serious ramifications. If you are ever accused of having failed to properly register, you may wish to enlist the representation of a New Jersey criminal defense attorney.