There's often a misconception that sex offenders are designated as such for the remainder of their lives, but the truth is that, for some, it's possible to get off a sex offender registry if the law provides for removal.
Though the federal government passed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 in an attempt to standardize removal laws across the states, only 8 states (Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, South Dakota and Wyoming) are currently in compliance, making the issue of removal primarily a state-specific inquiry.
For those states in compliance with federal law, sex offenders are classified into 3 tiers. If they have maintained a clean record, Tier 1 offenders can petition for removal after 10 years; Tier 2 after 25; and Tier 3 must remain on the list for life.
States not in compliance are set to lose federal law enforcement grants, instead choosing to allow registrants to get off the sex offender registry in some of the following situations:
- Actions no longer constitute a crime (sodomy, statutory rape, oral sex)
- Crime did not involve sexual conduct
- Probation has ended
- A designated timeframe with a clean record
- Expunged record
- Underage at the time of conviction
All states are required to remove sex offenders from a registry if they have been pardoned or their conviction has been overturned.
If you have more questions about whether it's possible for an individual to get off a sex offender registry, contact your state attorney general or local prosecutor's office for more information. If you still have questions, consider contacting a criminal defense attorney.
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