Sexual Offense Charges Can Impact More Than Your Criminal Record
Criminal charges of any kind are very serious, but sex-related charges are particularly so. The evidence present in sex offenses, such as DNA, rape kits, hospital records, and computer searches can take time for your attorney to locate and have experts review. For this reason, it is essential to contact an attorney as soon as you are charged in order to build the strongest possible case.
Sex Offender Registration
Federal law requires that every state maintain what is commonly referred to as a sex offender registry. The intent of the law is to ensure that individuals convicted of sexually-based offenses are tracked by law enforcement in order to help prevent re-offense by enforcing any court orders, such as restriction from interaction with minors. States are also required to define sexual offenses and categorize them into three tiers, with the first tier being the least severe and the third being the most serious offenses.
Under Maryland law, if an individual is convicted or pleads no contest to a sex crime, the sentence will vary based on numerous circumstances surrounding the case. However, all individuals will be required to register as a sex offender. The frequency and duration of the registrations depends upon the kind of crime committed. Examples of the crimes classified under each tier include:
- Tier 1 – Every 6 months for 15 years – Possession of child pornography and sexually motivated surveillance
- Tier 2 – Every 6 months for 25 years – Creating or distributing child pornography and human trafficking
- Tier 3 – Every 3 months for life – Rape, incest, and sexual abuse of a minor
Though jail time and fines can be negotiated in your sentencing, your registry requirements are based solely on the offense for which you’ve been convicted and are not negotiable.
In addition to needing to check in with law enforcement for a significant period of time, a sex offense conviction carries significant impacts on your life. Some areas of employment, such as teaching and nursing, are unlikely to be open to a registered sex offender. You may face other limitations, depending on the sentence. The court regularly places restrictions on sex offenders, such as requirements to live a minimum distance from schools, or to eliminate interaction with minors. These restrictions will vary depending on the specific offense.
In addition to the sentencing, there are societal ramifications as well. Once you have been convicted of a sexual offense, your registration becomes public record. Members of the public can search to see who in their neighborhood is a registered sex offender. Even if you are living according to the requirements placed on you by the court, you may find yourself the subject of public criticism due to the public registry.
Contact an Attorney
If you are facing a sex crime charge, contact the attorneys at the Law Office of Hammad S. Matin, P.A. immediately. These charges are serious, with long-lasting impacts on your life, so do not face them alone. If you’ve already been convicted and simply have questions about complying with your sentencing requirements, an experienced La Plata & Waldorf criminal defense attorney can help.