The Michigan sex offender registry started in the mid-1990’s as a way for society to track whether neighbors and other acquaintances had been convicted of a dangerous sex offense. Throughout its existence, the Sex Offender Registration Act—otherwise known as “SORA”—has been amended multiple times. The most recent amendments were part of a federal mandate to overhaul the sex offender registry to comply with federal law.
In general, people convicted of certain sex crimes (referred to as “listed offenses”) must register on the sex offender registry for a term of years or life. However, there are some scenarios when a person convicted of a listed offense does not have to register. One such scenario would be if a person was convicted of a listed offense and completed incarceration and probation before SORA originally took effect. Another scenario would be if the person was convicted of a listed offense but avoided registration under the Romeo and Juliet provision, which either stops initial registration or leads to immediate removal from the registry.
But, beware! Those people convicted of a listed offense who are not required to register under SORA face the possibility that they will later be forced to register if they are convicted of any other felony on or after July 1, 2011. This subsequent felony need not be a sex crime felony. It can be for anything: felonious assault, felony firearm, home invasion, marijuana manufacture/delivery, or any other non-sex crime.
This is why it is imperative to hire a very skilled attorney if you are charged with a felony and have any sex crime conviction in your past. You will want an attorney who understands how to defend felony charges as well as how to fight sex offender registration requirements. Registered sex offenders cite embarrassment; shame; the requirement that they not live, work, or loiter on or near school property; and difficulty gaining employment as the worst parts of being on the public sex offender registry. It would be disheartening to escape registration only to be threatened with it after an unrelated felony conviction, even though the listed offense was many years ago. If you think, “They are trying to make me register as a sex offender,” contact a skilled sex crime defense attorney today.