If a person commits certain sexual crimes in North Carolina, his or her name can be added to a sex offender registry. Being added to this list requires the convicted individual to register his or her name, address and other information so that his or her whereabouts are known by the public and law enforcement.

Depending on the nature of the crime, whether any similar crimes have been committed and the length of time that has passed since the offense, some individuals may be able to have their names removed from the sex offender list.

Requirement of Registration

Individuals who are convicted of an offense against a minor child or a sexually violent offense are required by North Carolina law to be registered as a sex offender on the state registry. Some examples of these types of offenses include:

• Rape
• Incest
• Sexual battery
• Felony indecent exposure
• Prostitution of a minor
• First or second degree sexual offenses
• Exploitation of a minor
• Kidnapping
• Solicitation of a child by computer to commit an unlawful sex act

This includes individuals who are convicted of attempting, aiding and abetting or conspiring to commit such crimes.

Duration of Registration

The amount of time for which a person may stay on the registry depends on the severity of the crime for which the individual was convicted and the individual’s classification. The individual may be considered an offender, sexually violent predator or recidivist.

A recidivist is a person who has been convicted two or more times of sex crimes. If a person is listed under this classification, he or she must remain on the list for his or her entire lifetime.

A sexually violent predator is an individual who was convicted of a sexually violent offense and who has been determined to possess a personality disorder or mental abnormality that makes it probable that he or she will commit a sexually violent act against another victim. This type of offender is also subject to a lifetime registration. Before an individual can be classified as a sexually violent predator, there must be a hearing and written findings to support this position.

An offender is considered the lowest classification and encompasses other sex offenders who do not fall under either of the other two definitions. These individuals are required to register for 15 years. However, they can petition to have their names removed from the list after 10 years.

Therefore, only an offender can petition to have his or her name removed from the list.

Federal Registration

There is also a federal sex offender registry. If an individual is on the federal registry, there are three tiers. Tier 1 is usually for non-violent sexual contact. Tier 2 is for non-violent sexual contact but crimes that include commercial involvement, such as sex trafficking. Tier 3 includes aggravated forms of sexual violence and kidnapping.

For Tier 3 offenses, there is a lifetime registration requirement. For Tier 2 offenses, there is a 25-year requirement. Tier 1 offenses have a 15-year registration requirement. However, the federal process allows an offender to file an application to shorten the amount of time in which he or she must remain on the list.

Eligibility criteria for shortening the applicable registration time include no convictions of crimes that can be punished by over one year’s imprisonment, no conviction of any additional sex crime, completion of a certified sexual rehabilitation course that the federal government accepts and completion of probation, parole or supervised release.

Legal Strategy

If a convicted individual is on both lists, he or she may file an application to apply for a reduction of the time on the federal list and then use this success to petition the court to remove his or her name from the state sex offender registry. If he or she is on the federal registration list, the convicted individual can inquire with his or her probation officer or former probation officer about programs that are accepted in the area. The court has the discretion to grant or deny a petition, and the district attorney can challenge the removal of his or her name from the list if he or she chooses to do so.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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