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Sex offender registration as a collateral consequence

Pennsylvanians who are charged with state or federal sex offenses face the possibility of many different types of serious consequences. Even if they are convicted and complets any prison sentence they are given, the collateral damage associated with a sex offense conviction may continue long afterward.

One consequence a person may face is the requirement to register as a sex offender on the state’s sex offender registry. Currently, more than 19,000 people in Pennsylvania are on the list. The length of the required registration depends upon the level of the offense of conviction. Tier 1 offenders are those who have the most minor of the convictions requiring registration. They must go to the state police closest to them annually to have their photographs taken and provide updated registration information for 15 years.

Tier 2 offenders must go twice each year for 25 years after they are convicted. People in this category include those who have been convicted of such offenses as prostitution or unlawful sexual contact of minors or indecent assaults. Tier 3 offenders are people who have been convicted of offenses that are considered to be the most serious, including such as rapes, aggravated indecent assaults and other similar convictions. Tier 3 registrants must register for the remainder of their lives, reporting in every 90 days.

Both state and federal charges for sex offenses may expose a person to sex offender registration if a conviction is obtained, in addition to more immediate consequences such as incarceration and fines. As a result, those who are facing these types of charges may find it advisable to retain defense counsel as quickly as possible so that a strategy can be developed to combat the accusations.

Source: The Sentinel, “A closer look at Pennsylvania’s sex offender registry,” Joshua Vaughn, March 25, 2016

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