What to Know About the Sex Offender Registry in Michigan

When is SORA Registration Necessary in Michigan?

In the past, many violations that would trigger sex offender registration were prosecuted under the old Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) even when the violation was a result of a mistake, ignorance, or unintended violations. If this has happened to you, then you’ll definitely want to hire a Michigan sex crimes attorney to help. Here is some more useful information for you to know about SORA:

What Sex Crime Charges result in Sex Offender Registry?

Many different sex crimes resulting from allegations that you did something to exploit children by capturing or possessing a sexually suggestive issue will trigger SORA. This includes many child pornography crimes involving the possession or distribution of child pornography in the State of Michigan.

This also includes other criminal charges based on sexual conduct include criminal sexual assault, which law enforcement calls CSC in Michigan. The highest level of CSC is first offense, and this involved sexual penetration of mouth, vagina or anus by an adult in a position of authority over that child. This is also called criminal sex assault. Even indecent exposure will trigger SORA.

How is Compliance with SORA Determined?

The guidance judges and lawyers use to determine compliance of a registrant is rather limited but held to a high all-knowing standard. As part of an effort to remove unnecessary prosecutions and add clarity the new SORA law requires that a prosecutor must establish that any violation was willful rather a mistake.

This is a difficult standard to evaluate, but a prosecutor ultimately is better equipped to evaluate the alleged violation than to prosecute each and every (former) technical violation. Willful is a legal term of art but breaks down into an intentional and knowing act with a reasonable and intended outcome.

Under this circumstance, it would require that the registrant had intended conduct or act that violates the SORA requirements. If the registrant violated the act in some way, but is evident that they did not do so intentionally but did so mistakenly, then the spirit of the new SORA holds that they should not be criminally prosecuted.

Does the New SORA change the Reporting?

No. Whether you are a Tier I, II, or III, you will still have in-person reporting obligation. For example, a Tier I, requires you to report once per year during your birth month. This reporting will be in-person and is advisable to contact your reporting location for permissible report days and times.

This obligation remains for 15 years unless able to successfully obtain an expungement. Some Tier I registrants may be on non-public registry but whether public or private registry it will be necessary to confirm that information is cleared from the databases if a successful expungement is obtained.

Tier II Registration still requires reporting twice per year for 25 years. The reporting months will be your birth month, and then the corresponding 6-month mark. And Tier III will report 4 times per year on their birth month, and then every 3-month interval following for lifetime registration.

What do I need to do when I register?

We suggest that you create a plan for compliance. Even though the new law deters prosecution for un-intentional violation, there is still great responsibility upon you to comply and preparation and routine assist in compliance.

Similarly, it is imperative that you accurately provide the required and necessary information. Some of the basic information will include your name, social security number, date of birth, permanent address, temporary address, and the address for employers, places you work, or places of education. It will also include the cars you drive, the license plate, out of state and out of country travel.

What else should I include?

We again emphasize that the duty is placed upon you, and therefore, we suggest that you seek clarification and ask questions to make sure that you are compliant. For example, if you choose or intend to do any charity or volunteer work you should ask about including this information because it is not clear under the new law whether it is required, and when it is requried. In addition, when reporting phone numbers, it is advisable to ask about phone numbers that you use that may not be registered to you. This approach should also be used regarding any email addresses.

Do I only include this when during my regular reporting appointment?

No. If any required information changes between reporting periods you must update within 3 business days, which would count the normal work week Monday through Friday. One of the changes in the new law is that reporting these changes may be permissible in modes other than in-person but again this must be clearly expressed by your reporting location. Best practices would be in person, unless you have proof in writing for acceptable alternative methods.

What must I report in person?

Any change in residence, any change in employment, any change in student status, and any name change must be reported at your location in person. There are no alternative acceptable methods.

If you have change in your car, or telephone, or email, may be reported in person, but may also be reported utilizing the required form and using first class mail.

The old law, and the new law, both certainly contain some difficult and confusing legal interpretation, but if you are required registrant under SORA it is imperative that you become well versed in understanding what your Rights are, your requirements, and that you ask the necessary questions to avoid any additional criminal prosecution.

If you’ve picked up a sex crimes case and have been or might be charged with a sex crime due to an unlawful sexual act, then call the Michigan Sex Crimes Lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm for your FREE no hassle case review. We are a group of highly skilled criminal defense attorneys who will do our best to help you avoid SORA and possibly even years in prison. Our law firm answer calls 24/7.

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