At the law firm of Sweeney & Associates, LLC in Quincy, Massachusetts, we have extensive experience with sex crimes cases and sex offender registration hearings. We understand the problems associated with sex offender registration, and we provide our clients with clear answers to important questions about their cases. Below are frequently asked questions about sex offender registration.
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What is Megan's Law?
Megan's Law is the term commonly used to describe state laws requiring convicted sex offenders, or people who are tagged as sexually deviant based upon prior convictions, to register themselves with a statewide board as sexually deviant.
What is the sex offender registry board?
- The sex offender registry board is the panel which must decide in which of the three categories of sexually deviant behavior each person who commits a sex crime in the Commonwealth belongs.
- The three levels range from modest offenses such as lewd and lascivious conduct or indecent exposure to the higher ranges where people who have been convicted of multiple counts, or sexually violent crimes, or who have been determined as sexually dangerous persons or sexual predators.
- The board also hears appeals from people who believe that they either belong in a different category of sex offenders or who believe they do not belong on the list.
How long will I be on the list if I am required to register?
Sexually violent offenders, those who have offended against a child, and those with two or more Wetterling convictions must register for life. All other sexual offenders must register for 20 years; however, they may petition the Sex Offender Registry Board for relief after 10 years following their last conviction, release from custody or discharge from community supervision.
Who will know that I am on the Sex Offender Registry?
Active community notification is conducted by the police departments where the offender resides, works and where the offense(s) took place on all offenders finally classified a Level 3. The police shall provide information about Level 3 offenders to all schools, day cares and places where the public is likely to encounter the offender. Additionally, the police shall cause such information to be transmitted through a media outlet such as television, newsprint, etc.
Information about offenders finally classified at Level 2 may be released by the police departments upon written inquiry from any individual 18 years of age or older, who certifies they are requesting the information for their own personal safety or the safety of their family. Individuals may also contact the Sex Offender Registry Board for information related to Level 2 or Level 3 offenders. This request must be made in writing on a form bearing the signature of the requester attesting to the fact that he or she is 18 years of age or older and the information is requested for his or her own personal safety or the safety of his or her family.
Information about those offenders who have finally been classified at Level 1 and those offenders pending classification shall not be released to the public, but may be shared between law enforcement agencies.
What is the penalty for not registering?
Under the law any sex offender who knowingly fails to register or re-register, or who knowingly provides materially false information to the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minor Registry, shall be guilty of a felony.
A first conviction shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than six months and not more than two and one-half years in a house of correction, nor more than five years in a state prison or by fine of not more than $1,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
A second and subsequent conviction shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than five years.
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initial case evaluation. We understand that every case is unique and will take this
time to get to know the details of your situation and begin discussing your legal
options for achieving the best possible outcome. As we understand that the reputation
of you and your family is at stake, this consultation is completely confidential.
What offenses require registration with the board?
- Indecent assault against a child younger than 14, a mentally retarded person, a person 14 years of age or older
- Rape, including rape with force of a child younger than 16, the rape and assault of a child, and aggravated rape
- Unnatural and lascivious acts involving a child younger than 16
- Assault of any person with the intent to commit a rape
- Enticing or soliciting someone, including minors, for prostitution
- Drugging someone with the intent of sexual intercourse
- Sharing or living off of the earnings of a minor prostitute
- Second and subsequent offenses of lewd and lascivious behavior
- Subjecting a minor to harmful matter
- Exhibiting a nude child
- Distributing material that exhibits a nude child
- Possession of child pornography
- Any attempts to commit the above violations
What can I do if I've been informed that I must register?
If you feel that the registry has placed you in the wrong level of offender, or if you feel that you do not belong on the registry, and you have a compelling reason why you believe so, you should contact an Massachusetts criminal defense attorney and begin the appeal process. People have had success in appeals, especially where the crime was committed a number of years ago and there has been no crime committed since, and in cases where the crime that was allegedly committed was pled to prior to the creation of the sex offender registry. We have represented a number of people in appeals before the sex offender registry board, and have had some success.
Be Equipped With A Strong Defense
In a sex crimes case, it is essential to be informed and stay informed. It is even more critical to arm yourself with strong defense representation. Every case is different. Our Quincy criminal attorneys can help you aggressively fight the charges you face and mitigate the negative impact on your life and your family.
Contact our firm today for a free, confidential case evaluation.
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