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Options for removal from the sex offender registry

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Being convicted of a sex-related offense with a minor and qualifying under the Sex Offenders Registration Act of 1994, will result in a listing on the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry (PSOR) website. Anyone who searches can see not only your picture, but also a treasure trove of information that includes:

  • Physical description
  • Known aliases
  • Last reported address
  • Enrollment in a post-secondary education institution
  • Employment address
  • Vehicle data

Not everyone who committed a sex offense is on the list for reasons that include:

  • Offenders convictions not listed as an offense mandating registration
  • Single Tier 1 offender
  • Adjudicated juvenile
  • Offender is out of state, yet still must register in the state where they reside
  • Deceased offender

Comprehensive data

Sex offender on the registry have comprehensive responsibilities to provide every last detail that ranges from comprehensive contact information (including name changes) to employment status. Vehicle information, passports, and proof of valid drivers’ licenses.  Even vehicle information is part of the record that include change of address notifications and verifications.

Being removed from the registry is possible for Tier 1 (15 years) and 2 (25 years) offenders. Those in the third tier must register for the rest of their lives. Getting names removed from the registry requires petitions for removal filed with the court system where they were convicted.

Federal overreach?

Early in his tenure, US Attorney General Merrick Garland put up a significant roadblock for those looking to exit their respective registries. In what many consider significant overreach, the current AG ordered that convicted offenders must register with their state, whether the state mandates it or not. All information must be supplied under federal law whether the state wants to collect that information or not.

That move was not the first attempt to federalize state law. In 2006 Congress passed the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), making a sex offender’s failure to adhere to state registration requirements a federal felony in states that already had similar laws on their books.

The answer to, “Can I remove myself from a sex offender registry?” is complex with no easy answers, particularly when federal authorities encroach into what is the purview of states.