Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB) Hearings

You, or a loved one, just plead guilty or were convicted of a sex offense and the Judge tells you that you will now have to register with SORB (the Sex Offender Registry Board) as a sex offender. You probably have no idea what that entails or how it will affect your everyday life. So many thoughts and questions go racing through your mind like:

  • How do I register with SORB,
  • What level sex offender will I be,
  • Can I challenge my classification level,
  • What punishment do I face if I decide not to register?

These are all important questions that we at Sweeney & Associates can answer for you. Contact us today for a free consultation at or (617) 328-6900.

Which Sex Offenses Require Registration

While not an exhaustive list, common offenses that require registration include:

  • Indecent Assault & Battery on a Child Under 14,
  • Rape,
  • Statutory Rape,
  • Kidnapping of a Child,
  • Assault with Intent to Commit Rape,
  • Sex Trafficking,
  • Drugging Persons for Sexual Intercourse,
  • Sharing Earnings of a Minor Prostitute,
  • Open and Gross Lewdness, second and subsequent offense
  • Child Pornography (Possession, Dissemination, or Production of Child Pornography)

How To Register With SORB

Once you have been informed that you need to register (usually by your lawyer, the judge, and your probation officer), your next question may be how do you register? Within two days of being notified of your obligation to register, you will have to fill out a Sex Offender Registration form. These forms can be obtained online, at your probation officer’s office, and at the local police department. Once you fill out the form, mail it into SORB, and shortly thereafter you will receive a letter from SORB informing you that you have thirty (30) days to submit evidence regarding your risk of re-offense and dangerousness. If SORB concludes that you do have a duty to register because your criminal record includes a conviction for certain sex offenses, that you work, live, or attend school in Massachusetts, and that you pose a danger to the public, then SORB will determine your preliminary classification level. Many of our clients have received sex offender treatment prior to entering a plea or being convicted, and the treating psychologist can fill out the Sex Offender Treatment Status Report and submit it along with other evidence of your risk of re-offense. This can help inform SORB as to what classification level you should be and an expert’s report can make a difference in your classification level.

Once the board has preliminarily classified you, you will receive a letter in the mail with your classification level. You will also be given notice that you can appeal your classification level. If you decide to appeal, you must do so within twenty (20) days.

Do not wait to contact an attorney. If you receive a letter classifying you as a level 2 or level 3 contact us at Sweeney & Associates right away for your free consultation. We can be reached at or (617) 328-6900. If the twenty-day period passes and you do not request a hearing, you will lose the ability to contest your classification.

Appealing A SORB Classification

If you appeal your classification, then you will be given notice of a hearing date. We at Sweeney & Associates can represent you at the SORB hearing. We know what factors the hearing examiner looks at when determining your classification level. The hearing examiners at SORB look at your employment history, acceptance of responsibility, age, sex offender treatment, and lifestyle stability among other factors. Providing a report from your treating psychologist can also go a long way in reducing your classification level. We will help you put together the best case possible to reduce your offense level.

Importantly, the hearing examiner must determine your classification level based on clear and convincing evidence which is a higher standard than previously employed by SORB. After the hearing, the hearing examiner will determine your classification level. If you disagree with their decision, you must appeal your classification to the Superior Court within (30) thirty days.

Levels of Sex Offender Classifications

The following is a short explanation of the three classification levels.

Level 1 Sex Offender- Being classified as a level 1 offender is the best possibility, short of not having to register at all. If you are a level 1, you are deemed a low risk of re-offense. You will have to register annually by mail with SORB but none of your information is disseminated to the public.

Level 2 Sex Offender- If you are classified as a level 2, you are deemed a moderate risk of re-offense. The public can contact SORB and the Police Department to obtain information about you.

Level 3 Sex Offender- If you are classified as a level 3, you are deemed to be a high risk of re-offense. The police proactively disseminate your information to the public in an attempt to keep the public safe. Every person preliminary classified as a level 3 should appeal their classification and request a hearing. Your quality of life as a level 3 will be greatly diminished from where you can work to where you can live. You will likely face harassment from neighbors and members of the public who are aware of your sex offender status.

Both level 2 and 3 offenders must annually register at their local police.

Failure to Register as a Sex Offender

We have extensive experience representing clients who did not want to register and thought the criminal justice system would not notice. They were wrong. Failure to register as a sex offender, puts you in jeopardy of serious legal repercussions including jail time.

First Offense- 6 months to 2 ½ years in the house of correction

OR up to 5 years in state prison.

Second and Subsequent Offense- Not less than 5 years in state prison.

While this process may seem overwhelming, we at Sweeney & Associates can represent you in these SORB Hearings every step of the way to ensure that all the important information is presented to the Sex Offender Registry Board to help you obtain the lowest classification level possible. Contact us today at or (617) 328-6900 for a free consultation.

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