Every state has its sex offender registry, and Virginia is no different. Meaning, if you are convicted for a sex crime, you will be registered as a sex offender. In Virginia, this registry is done through the state police. After your detention, you must register your work and home address with the Virginia state police, who will then take you a photo. Being placed on the sex offender registry is a serious matter that can significantly negatively affect your life.
If you are required to register as a sex offender, you could stay on the registry for the rest of your life. That is why it is essential to seek help from a skilled criminal defense attorney if you face sex crime allegations. Virginia Criminal Attorney is ready to advocate on your behalf if you are facing sex crime charges in Virginia.
Sex Crimes in Virginia
In Virginia, a sex crime is defined as any coerced or illegal act against someone sexually without their consent. Sexual activities with a person who cannot consent, like a child or a person living with a disability. Sex crimes in Virginia are handled seriously, and they carry severe punishments, especially if the alleged victim sustained any injuries. Some of the most common sex crimes in this area include:
- Sexual battery
- Aggravated sexual battery
- Forcible sodomy
- Object sexual penetration
- Distribution, financing, and production of child pornography
For you to be convicted for the above sex crimes, the prosecutor must beyond reasonable doubt prove every element of the alleged offense. Different sex crimes are convicted differently, but they have one similarity; the defendant must be registered as a sex offender under VA code 19.2-390.1. You are also likely to face harsh penalties, some with significant lifelong consequences, apart from the registration.
Who is required to Register as a Sex Offender in Virginia?
There are various crimes listed under Virginia code 9.1 – 902 that require you to register as a sex offender. These crimes include:
- Any actual or attempted violation or conspiracy to commit any of the following sex crimes:
- Carnal knowledge of specific minors
- Carnal knowledge of a minor between 13 to 15 years
- Taking a child to a bawdy place for prostitution purposes
- Breaking and entering a minor’s room with the intention to rape or commit any sexual offense.
- Commercial sex trafficking of children
- Felony violations of commercial and prostitution exploitation of minors
- Receiving money to convince a minor into sexual activities
- Penetration in a child’s mouth with a lustful intent
- Soliciting a minor with a computer for sexual purposes
- Receiving money earned through prostitution with a minor
- Aggravated malicious wounding with a minor below 13 years and a defendant above 18 years.
- Criminal homicide
- Any sexual, violent offense
Sex Registration Overview in Virginia
According to the federal law of Virginia, anyone who has been convicted for a sex crime and crimes against minors must register as a sex offender. Failing to do or providing void registration information subject you to additional and harsher penalties. Registering as a sex offender and crimes against minors could lead to extended detention after conviction and have lifelong consequences. Your potential career, social life, and school admission could be affected negatively by the registration.
The main reason why every offender is included in the state’s registry is to monitor their behavior and movement. This inclusion is also important to the authorities in ensuring that the offenders do not pose any threat to society and make their information viewable to the public for more precaution.
It is advisable to reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are facing any kind of sex charges. Your attorney will help you fight the charges and ensure you get the best possible outcome.
Sex Crimes Registration and Registry Maintenance
There are various levels of sex offender registries in Virginia. Depending on the nature of the offense you are being convicted for and the victim’s nature, you may be required to register for a campus sex offender registry.
A common sex offender registry also exists for various types of sex offenses that require registration. SVP, also known as a sexually violent predator registration, also exists based on different kinds of sex offenses. The type of registry and the registration requirements are different for every offender depending on the nature of the offense, the place of conviction, and the parole or probation requirements.
The requirements for how to register as a sex offender are stated under Virginia code 9.1 – 903. If you are supposed to register, you must do so within three days after being set free. You are supposed to provide certain personal details to the state police. The Virginia state police department is responsible for monitoring and maintaining the sex offenders’ registry.
The Virginia federal law states that the police department should “keep and maintain sex offender and crimes against minors registry, separate from other records they maintain.”
The police superintendent is responsible for equipping, organizing, and staffing within the police department, the sex offender registry. They are also supposed to designate and appoint one officer who has the capability to perform assignments and duties of a sex offender and crimes against minors registry.
Here is the process of registering for the sexual offender registry:
- You will have your photo taken
- You will be required to submit your DNA sample to be used in the DNA data bank
- The police officers will also take your fingerprints and palm prints
- You will be expected to provide accurate information about your employment
- Issue the police with your chat user ID, instant message, or email address
- Provide your current address with proof of it
- Provide your vehicle registration information
If there is any change in your employment, residence, or vehicle registration, you should update the information within three days. If you happen to change your user ID, instant message, or email address, you should notify the police department within thirty minutes. And you must also inform law enforcement if you plan to leave the country ten days before leaving. You must also comply with the registration requirements of the jurisdiction you go to.
Protective Order Registry; Maintenance and Access
The state police are required to keep and maintain a computerized protective order registry under Va. Code 19.2- 387.1. The registry aims to help law enforcement protect the citizens and society. The police are also expected to make the information available upon request by criminal justice agencies through the VCIN (Virginia Criminal Information Network). However, the registry information on this section is only available to the authorities and not to the public.
Additionally, no authority member will be held liable for disseminating information or failing to disseminate information per the requirement of this section.
How to Find Information about Sex Offenders
The department of Justice NSOPW( national sex offender public website) has made it easy for those looking for information or names of sex offenders. This site has names and other relevant information of the sex offenders. You can find information on sex offenders in every state and some other U.S. You can be able to search a specific jurisdiction or the whole nation. To conduct the search, ensure you have the name of the offender or their zip code. There are times you can also be able to search by address, county, or city.
Note that you can only access little information from the site. The data available on display depends on the specific jurisdiction. The only information you can find is the offender’s name, address, -photo, and the sex crime they committed. In some situations, you can also find the offender’s weight, height, the date they committed the crime, statute violations, and the date they were born.
The National Sex Offender Registry and Maintenance
This type of registry exists, but the public cannot view it. It is only viewable and accessible to the authorities. The FBI U.S attorney is responsible for maintaining this database. The main aim of the National sex offender registry is to keep records of the sex offenders who have been registered.
Amendments in the National Sex Offender Registry
After SORNA’s inception, a few amendments were made to better the effectiveness of the registry. These amendments include:
- Military sex offender reporting act — This is one of the primary segments of the 2015 justice for victims of the Trafficking Act. The Department of defense was mandated to issue details of sex offenders charged under court-martial to NSOR and NSOPW.
- Keeping the internet safe from predators act (kids act) — The purpose of this act was to address online safety issues. This act prompted amendments to SORNA like:
- The jurisdiction to identify internet identifiers of sex offenders as they register
- Publicizing internet identifiers on a registrant as they register them on the public registry.
- International Megan’s law — This law aimed to change the registered offenders’ way of traveling globally. It prompted the following changes:
- Authorities to notify the jurisdiction if a registered sex offender is to travel internationally.
- The registered offenders to provide information to the relevant authority about any international travel plans.
How Inclusion in the Sex Offender Registry Can Affect Your Life
Your life changes drastically after the inclusion in a sex offender registry. Depending on the offense you had committed, the impacts could be lifelong. Here are some of the ways that inclusion in the sex offender registry can affect your life:
- You may face difficulties trying to secure a house
- It may be hard for you to secure a job or maintain employment after the inclusion
- When you move to a new residence, you are supposed to notify specific people like neighbors, community groups, and officials like the school president
- There may also be a negative connotation for the inclusion of your next of kin, which may affect your relationship with them.
- There are types of registries that require the police to check in at your residence or your place of work to ensure that you are abiding by the registration requirements. This may inconvenience you if you are a busy person or if you value privacy.
- You may face difficulties when moving to a new residence because your neighbors must approve your stay first.
These impacts may be overwhelming and can even cost you a lifetime opportunity. Violation of the registration requirements can also lead to more severe and harsher penalties. It is therefore vital to ensure that you follow the set guidelines.
Activities Prohibited Under V.a Sex Crimes and Crimes against Minors
If you are registered under the registry, there are various activities that you are prohibited from doing. They include:
- Entering a school bus or van
- Residing 500 feet near a daycare center, high school, primary, public par, or a facility where normal learning takes place
- Accessing or using a property open to the public at a time where the property is being used the public for any activities
- Loitering 100 feet from a facility offering education or a facility with children
- Participating in activities sponsored by the school or any activities involving children.
There are also certain codes that prohibit sex offenders from residing or working in an area close to a school, daycare, or any learning institution. These statutes include:
- Sexual offenses that restrict entry into a school or learning facility – Code 18.2- 370.5
- Sexual offenses that prevent working or employment in a school or learning facility – Code 18.2 – 370.4
- Sexual activities that prohibit residing near a school or any learning facility – Code 18.2 – 370.3
- Sexual offenses that prevent proximity to minors – Code 18.2 – 370.2
Most registered sex offenders are supposed to register annually. However, if you have been convicted for a violent sex crime or murder, you must renew your registration every 90 days.
Failing to register as a sex offender or giving false information during registration can increase your registration requirement and subject you to additional penalties. If you were expected to renew your registration annually and fail to do so, your renewal requirement would be reduced to 180 days. If you were expected to renew your registration within 90 days, your registration requirement is reduced to 30 days.
The Length of Required Registration
The period you will stay registered on the sex offender registry depends on the offense you are being charged for. There are offenses that require the offenders to remain on the registry for a limited duration while others are indefinite.
To find out the time you are required to stay on the registry, consult the Virginia Sex Offense Registry. They will provide you with a commission report which you or your attorney will use to reference the circumstances that can reference a person to be placed on the registry.
What Will Happen if you Fail to Register with the Registry?
If you are required to register as a sec offender and fail to do so, you will be charged with a misdemeanor under code 18.2-472.1. If you fail to register for the first time and have been convicted for a none—violent sex crime, you will e charged with a normal class 1 misdemeanor. The penalties for this charge include detainment in county jail for 12 months and fines of $2,500.
Failing to register for a second time for a non-violent sex charge, you will face a class 6 felony. The penalties for this charge include imprisonment for five years and fines of up to $2,500. The jury has the discretion to detain you for less than a year.
Failure to register for a murder or violent sex offense conviction subjects you to a class 6 felony; If you fail to register for a second murder or violent sex offense conviction, you will face a class 5 felony. Penalties for this charge include imprisonment n state prison for ten years and fines of up to $2,500.
How to Remove Your Name from the Sex Offender Registry
Any sex offender registered in the sex offender registry can have their name or any information removed from the registry under Va. Code 9.1-910. However, to be removed, you have to complete all the pay restitution, court-ordered counseling, and treatment. The court must also be able to establish that you pose no risk to the public.
Note that you can only be removed after fifteen to twenty-five years, depending on the sex offense you were convicted for. But if you had been convicted for a violent or murder offense, you cannot be removed from the registry.
Aside from requesting your removal, you can also file a petition to have the frequency required for re-registration reduced. You can also file a petition to be allowed to get into a school facility.
The Process of having your Name Removed from the Sex Offenders Registry
Gathering your conviction and registry records and any other relevant records is the first step of removing your details from the sex offender registry. Note that you must have a certified copy of your criminal conviction to help your attorney know if you are entitled to the removal.
You have to file a petition to be removed from the registry through a trial. After filing the petition, a hearing is set, and your l will go to court on your behalf to challenge the prosecutor during the trial. If the court determines that you are not a risk to society and follow all the registry requirements, it will issue an order for your removal from the registry.
If your petition is not granted, you will be required to wait for additional twenty-four months (2 years) to file a new petition. But if your petition is granted, the police are required to erase your name and any information linking you to the sex conviction from the registry.
Note that you should ensure that fifteen to twenty-five years have passed before filing the petition. Also, review your conviction and the factors surrounding it and hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you get your name removed from the registry.
Filing a Petition for a Lesser Registration Renewal
If you were convicted for a violent sexual offense, you are expected to renew your registration every 90 days. However, you can petition to have your re-registration period moved to one year under Va. Code 9.1 -909. But, you have to first follow the re-registration for at least three years before filing for the registration renewal. However, if your conviction provided false information during registration or failed to register, you must wait for at least five years before filing a petition.
You will also have to undergo an evaluation before your re-registration petition is granted. The assessment aims to determine if you pose any risk to society or if you have any abnormality or personality disorder that can prevent you from controlling your sexual behavior or your sexual urge. Usually, this evaluation is performed by a panel of three people. If the panel finds you clean of any abnormality, they will clear you and write a report that the court will use to reduce your re-registration frequency. But even after the reduction, you will have to re-register annually for as long as you live.
Find a Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
If you are facing a sex crime charge that requires you to register as a sex offender, the only way to avoid this is by fighting your charges through trial. Since sex crimes are among the most serious offenses in Virginia, reducing your re-registration frequency and fighting these charges require an experienced and skilled defense attorney. Your attorney can help create a solid defense and identify holes in the prosecutor’s case to have your charges reduced or dismissed.
Virginia Criminal Attorney is ready to help you fight your charges if you are facing sex crime charges in Northern Virginia, Va or Fairfax. We have helped hundreds if not thousands of people with similar problems, and we can help you too. Call us today at 703-718-5533 and speak to one of our experienced attorneys.