Knowing Your Rights – Why You Can and Should Access Registered Sex Offenders Lists

A registered sex offenders list can be an invaluable asset for those looking to protect their families from potential harm. Because of the unique nature of sex crimes and the vulnerability of children to this particular class of crime, lawmakers tightened up sentencing guidelines and instituted a notification of laws in almost fifty states. Thus, a registered list of sex offenders was required to alert citizens of convicted sex criminals living in their communities.

However, despite the best intentions of law enforcement and other community officials, not everyone is notified in a timely fashion when a sex offender relocates to their neighborhood. Thus, you can be living next to someone that has been convicted of a violent sex crime and have no idea. These laws were enacted for your protection. Even if you aren’t notified, you still have the right to utilize other resources in order to find a list of registered sex offenders in your area.

You owe it to yourself and your family to use all legal means at your disposal to ascertain any potential threats to you or the ones you love. With the prevalence of reporting and studies on this particularly heinous class of crime, people are more conscious than ever of the threat of lurking sex offenders. Certain sex offenders prey on the most vulnerable members of our society, our children, which makes being aware of a sex offender’s presence more vital than ever.

These resources allow you to perform discreet searches of enormous databases in order to find the information that you are looking for. We all know the peace of mind that comes from simply knowing. How much better will you sleep knowing that you have done the due diligence of knowing exactly who is living in your community? Accessing and searching a registered sex offenders list is one the most fundamental things you can do to ensure that peace of mind.

Defense Against Sex Crime Allegations

Sex crimes cover a broad spectrum of sex-related offenses. In essence, they involve non-consensual sexual contact. They can include any unwanted touching of the sexual organs, molestation, sexual assault (rape) or sexual battery.

Sex crimes also include prostitution and solicitation of prostitution even if it was entirely consensual. Law enforcement agencies set up entire “stings” to catch prostitutes, pimps and Johns in the act. They also place ads on public forums such as Craigslist to track down and convict people who engage in prostitution. If you were accused of committing a sex crime, you have to act fast to protect yourself. If you are convicted you could face jail or prison sentencing, probation or parole, and steep monetary fines. What’s worse, the effects that a sex crime conviction might have on your reputation, your personal relationships and your career could be devastating.

For more serious sex crimes such as sexual abuse, sexual battery and sexual assault or rape you will most likely be facing mandatory sex offender registration. This means that you would have to register as a sex offender no matter where you live. What’s more, your headshot, conviction and home address would be made public information for all to see.

Escaping the stigma of a registered sex offender is fairly unrealistic. It is more likely that the offense will haunt you wherever you go. Unfortunately, many people who are accused of a sex crime are actually innocent. The challenging part is proving that your description of the events or lack of events is honest and true as opposed to the accusations coming from the alleged victim. Being innocent isn’t always enough when the accuser delivers a convincing theatrical display to the prosecution and the judge.

It is not uncommon for pubescent teens or young girls and boys to falsely accuse their parent of sexual abuse or molestation. Unfortunately, minors can make false accusations in order to please the other parent or out of pure anger or contempt for their parents. Although sexual offenses against a minor are extremely serious, whether they are founded on fact or not, law enforcement must take the necessary precautions and investigate any allegations. However, this can put the wrongfully accused in a very uncomfortable situation in the meantime, and law enforcement might not be so quick to offer you sympathy during such investigations.

Another common scenario where false allegations are made involves bitter divorces or child custody battles. Sometimes an angry or vindictive mother will falsely accuse her husband of child molestation or rape in order to gain custody of the couple’s children during a volatile divorce.

Since there are many situations in which no witnesses are around at the time of the allegation, it is essential that you retain an experienced criminal defense attorney if you have been convicted of a sex crime. Being convicted could destroy your reputation, and it might turn a lot of people against you. Sex crime allegations are also extremely embarrassing because they attack your very core. If you have been accused of a sex crime, a criminal defense attorney can handle your case in a discreet and private manner. When your reputation and freedom are on the line, you can’t afford to hire a weak defense attorney who might make costly mistakes on your case. Please take a moment to contact a criminal defense attorney to discuss your case. You deserve to have a professional on your side during this difficult time.

Arizona Senate Bill 1056 – Sentencing Changes For Sex Offenders Adjudicated Guilty Except Insane

Serving a sex crime sentence in Arizona just got harder.

During its second regular session of 2010, Arizona’s Forty-Ninth Legislature amended Chapter 234, section 13-3821, of the Arizona Revised Statutes related to “Sentencing.” It was amended by Arizona Senate Bill 1056. The new bill places stricter mandates on persons “Adjudicated Guilty Except Insane” when convicted of sex crimes.

Before the SB1056 amendment, a person who committed a sex offense did not have to register as a sex offender in the state of Arizona if the person was “Adjudicated Guilty Except Insane” or by “Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity.” The new amendment requires out-of-state sex offenders to register as a sex offender in Arizona within 10 days of conviction or after entering Arizona’s jurisdiction. The person must register in the county where convicted, or in the Arizona county where that person intends to permanently reside.

The bill also affects persons who are presently incarcerated. Persons serving a sentence after being “Adjudicated Guilty Except Insane” or by “Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity,” for sex crimes under Chapter 234, must register within three (3) days of their release with both the county sheriff and the state department of corrections. As a condition of release, blood samples will be drawn and fees assessed for sex offender website monitoring. It is too early to tell whether the defense community will challenge these provisions as unconstitutional ex post facto laws because they place a new condition of release that was not present at the time the Court issued the original sentence.

Previously, persons “Adjudicated Guilty Except Insane” escaped listing on Arizona Department of Public Safety’s Internet sex offender’s website. No longer. Sex offender registration is mandatory. Further, persons similarly convicted who wish to participate in any interstate compact must also register as sex offenders. A warrant will be issued to anyone who fails to adhere to the new registration guidelines. As a result of this new community reporting requirement, residents should feel safer knowing the sex offenders’ whereabouts.

The strongest provision of SB1056 makes sure that time sentenced is actual time served. When a person “Adjudicated Guilty Except Insane” has been deemed sane by a psychiatric security review board and the convict has a propensity to re-offend, the person will now be transferred back to the Arizona State Department of Corrections to serve the remainder of the sentence. This provision should find favor with victims and victims’ rights advocate groups.

Granted, once the review board determines that the person should be remanded to a correctional institution to fulfill the original sex crimes sentence, the person may challenge the review board’s decision. But, the burden to change the rule is heavy. The convicted person must prove by clear and convincing evidence that s/he is still insane or that the propensity to re-offend no longer exists.

In sum, persons convicted of committing sex crime(s) while insane will now be treated as sane sex crime perpetrators. Do the crime, do the time.

Sex Crime Legislation Could Soon Change

In 2006, the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act was signed into law by President George W. Bush. The act provides for the consolidation of state sex offender registries, giving law enforcement nationwide access to sex offender data and eliminating the possibility that predatory criminals can escape detection simply by moving across state borders. The data contained in the national registry is also be available for viewing by the public, enabling parents and school officials to keep abreast of threats to the children in their charge.

The act also hands down much harsher minimum sentences for sex crimes against children, especially in the arenas of child prostitution and sex trafficking. Internet predators also come under the scrutiny of the Act, which provides grants designed to fund local law enforcement in the creation of Internet Task Forces aimed at reducing the activity of sexual predators online. Finally, the act creates a National Child Abuse Registry, requiring adoptive services to check potential parents against the national database before releasing a child into their custody.

Some have objected to the Walsh Act’s requirements, arguing that its mandatory three-tiered sex crimes registry infringes on the rights of individual states to deal with criminals as they see fit. Additionally, critics accuse the government of strongarming states into compliance by assigning a 2009 deadline to have their registries online; states that don’t align themselves with the national registry are subject to a 10% reduction in federal grants-a significant portion of any state’s crime-fighting budget.

Many defense attorneys allege that the most egregious provision of the legislation is the requirement that states apply new laws regarding sex offender registration retroactively, meaning that criminals from decades past would become subject to a set of laws-and associated penalties- that didn’t exist when their crimes were committed. The controversy in this arena alone has been enough to keep sex crimes defense attorneys inordinately busy, further gumming up the works as states scramble to meet the 2009 federal deadline.

At this point, it’s difficult to see how much the Act may be affected, if at all. Only time will tell.

Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys Grateful For Release of New Study

A February study undertaken by researchers at the University of New Hampshire reveals that the stereotypical internet sex crime isn’t so stereotypical at all. America has long been treated to the image of the “dirty old man,” posing online as a teenager in order to arrange a meeting of ill intent. The study, which consisted of 6,600 separate interviews of internet users and law enforcement officials over a span of five years, reveals the fact that the “dirty old man” is actually an atypical occurrence online, at least as far as internet-based sex crimes are concerned:

Only 5% of the crimes studied involved an adult posing as a teenager.

Almost three-quarters of victims who met their offenders face-to-face did so more than once.

The youths most likely to be victimized typically engaged in one or more risky behaviors: allowing strangers onto their buddy lists, discussing sex online with strangers, or being intentionally rude and nasty online.

In reality, the study revealed that the most common type of internet-based sex crime is actually statutory rape-typically a male over 18 who establishes and develops an online relationship with a minor, which eventually becomes sexual in nature. And while still illegal, it’s a far cry from the media-fueled image of the lecherous old man kidnapping minors in his panel van.

Perhaps a proper understanding of what internet sex crimes really are can move our society away from the stigma associated with the mere mention of the words “sex crime,” enabling our justice system to do its job: determine who did wrong, not who’s too frightened to fight.