Sex Offender Registration Removal
When someone is convicted of a non-aggravated sex offense and is neither a recidivist or considered a sexually violent offender, they may be eligible to be removed from the sex offender registry after 10 years. The initial registry requirement for most sex offenses is 30 years of registration with the opportunity to be removed from the list after 10 years. If someone was convicted in North Carolina of a sex offense for which they are eligible for removal, the request for removal must be made in the same jurisdiction as the conviction.
If someone is trying to be removed from the sex offender registry but their conviction was from another state, they must file the petition in the district that they live. Additionally, the must:
- Give notice to the jurisdiction they were convicted in that they are filing the petition for removal;
- Include with the petition for removal an affidavit stating that they have informed the sheriff of the county they were convicted in, of the petition and provide information and mailing address to the court of the sheriff’s office that was notified.
After the petition is filed, a hearing will be set up within the jurisdiction. The court may grant relief and reduce the years on the registration to 10 years, if the applicant can show the following during the hearing:
- The petitioner shows the court that they have not been arrested for any new offense that would require registration since the date of the conviction of the initial registerable offense;
- The requested relief complies with the federal guidelines laid out in the Jacob Wetterling Act as amended and any other federal law that the state must follow for federal funds; and
- The court is satisfied that the petition is not a current or potential threat to society.
The requirement that an applicant must meet the federal requirements laid out in the Jacob Wetterling Act, and subsequently comply with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), makes the 10 year removal a little more complicated. In order to comply with the federal guidelines, the courts have held that the federal sex offender registry removal guidelines have to be met. The federal guidelines for removal differ from the North Carolina’s rules and can mean more time on the registration. The federal sex offender registration guidelines break the removal process into 3 tiers.
- Tier 1: Offenses that require 15 year registration with the possibility for removal after 10 years with a “clean record” as defined by federal law.
- Tier 2: Offenses that require at least 25 years on the registry
- Tier 3: Lifetime registration
In order to be eligible for removal after 10 years, which North Carolina law allows, one also has to be seen as a Tier 1 offender under federal law. In determining which tier an offender falls into, the court will look at the elements of the offense the person was convicted of, not the facts of the case. There is an exception to this rule with regards to tier level based on the victims age. If a tier includes cases with a victims age, they must be followed regardless of whether the North Carolina charge has age as an element of the offense.
There is certainly a lot of legal requirements that need to be examined in order to determine when someone is eligible for removal. It can be a complicated process, but our attorneys have successfully navigated these waters and petitioned for clients to get off the sex offender registry. We offer free consultation*s and would be glad to sit down with you to discuss your options, what tier level you will likely fall under and answer any other questions you may have. This is a difficult process and if your petition is denied you have to wait another year before filing another petition to try again. Do not leave this to chance; talk to an attorney at The Olsinski Law Firm to guide you.