Federal law requires every state to maintain a sex offender registry. This requirement was made into law in 1994 when an amendment to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, commonly known as the federal version of Megan’s Law, was passed. Each state has the autonomy to determine which convictions require guilty defendants to register as sex offenders and how long registered individuals must remain in the database. They may also set specific penalties for individuals who violate their registration requirements.
In Michigan, individuals convicted of certain sex crimes are required to register with the Michigan Sex Offender Registry under the Sex Offenders Registration Act. Failure to register when required to do so is a felony.
The Sex Offender Registration Process
When an individual is convicted of a sex crime, he or she must register with the state Sex Offender Registry and verify his or her personal information with local law enforcement as regularly as he or she is required to according to the registration tier. Information the individual must verify includes:
- His or her residence address;
- Any addresses where he or she stays for one week or longer;
- His or her legal name and any name changes;
- His or her place of employment and any changes or discontinuation of employment;
- His or her vehicle, any other vehicles used, and discontinuation of vehicle use;
- All of his or her email addresses and other online handles; and
- Enrollment or discontinuation with a higher education institution.
Types of Sex Offender Registration Violations
The penalties an individual faces for failing to register as a sex offender become more steep as he or she accrues convictions of this type.
- For one’s first conviction, he or she faces up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000;
- For a second conviction, the individual faces up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $7,000; and
- For a third of subsequent conviction, the individual faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Additionally, unintentional failure to register is a criminal offense punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.
Failure to register as a sex offender is not the only sex offender registration violation an individual can be charged with committing. Other violations include:
- Willfully refusing to pay the required registration fee, which is punishable by up to 90 days in jail; and
- Willfully refusing to sign a sex offender registration form, punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
If you are on parole, violating your sex offender requirement is a violation of your parole.
Work with an Experienced Oakland County Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are accused of violating your sex offender registration requirements, defend your case against the charges by working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. We all make errors, and sometimes the error is on the part of the registry, rather than the individual. No matter why you are facing a violation charge, you have the right to tell your side of the story and defend your case. Contact Michigan Defense Law today to set up your legal consultation with us.