Failure To Register as a Sex Offender
Sex crimes are taken very seriously by Michigan police and prosecutors. Upon conviction, a person may face a lengthy prison or jail time and pay enormous fines. On top of that, after confinement, the convicted person will also be required to register as a sex offender on Michigan’s public Sex Offender Registry.
Having your personal information made public because of your conviction may seem unfair. This is especially true if you believe your sentence was unwarranted. As such, many convicted sex offenders in Michigan are tempted to avoid or delay the sex offender registration process. This is, of course, because of the embarrassment that comes with it.
So what happens when you fail to register as a sex offender in Michigan? This will help you understand everything you need to know about failure to register as a sex offender. Before we dive in too deep, let’s first understand the sex offender registration requirements in Michigan.
Understanding Sex Offender Registration
According to MCL 28.723, any person convicted of a sex offense, as defined in MCL 28.722, has a duty to register their information with law enforcement after conviction. Michigan state law mandates the Public Sex Offender Registry to collect virtually every piece of information about the offender. These include their registrable offense, names, addresses, photographs, vehicle information, employment information, and any known aliases, as per MCL 28.727. This information may remain on the registry for up to 15 years, 25 years, or even life, based on the sex offender tier.
When a convicted offender has to move to a different state or country, they must report to their local law enforcement. The state law has set forth a quick deadline for registration. For instance, those moving to a different state must report 72 hours before moving, while those moving to another country should do so 21 days before moving.
Other sex offender registration requirements include:
- Paying a one-time $50 fee
- Not residing, working, or loitering in a student safety zone
- Maintaining a valid Michigan personal identification card or driver’s license
- Reporting enrollment (or discontinuation of enrollment) at an institution of higher learning
Failure To Register As A Sex Offender
One commits the offense of failure to register when they do not register as a sex offender on or before the deadline or in the manner required by law. That means waiting until the fourth day to register as a sex offender when moving to another state qualifies as a crime. Refusal to pay the $50 fee or sign as required may also lead to a failure to register charge.
When you are charged with failure to register in Michigan as a sex offender, you may be convicted and face several life-altering consequences, on top of those you already experienced for sex crime conviction. Under MCL 28.729, willfully failing to register or update your information with law enforcement as required is a felony offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison. However, it is important to bear in mind that the severity of the penalties imposed depends on the number of underlying convictions that require registration.
Some of the statutory penalties for conviction often include:
- A fine of up to $2,000 and up to 4 years in prison for a first offense
- A fine of up to $5,000 and up to 7 years in prison for a second offense
- A fine of up to $10,000 and up to 10 years in prison for a third and subsequent offense
If your failure to register or update your information with the law enforcement was not willful, the offense is a misdemeanor offense. Unlike a felony charge, this attracts a punishment of up to $2,000 in fine and up to 2 years in prison. Willfully refusing to sign registration forms is also a misdemeanor crime punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 93 days in jail.
Who Has A Duty To Register As A Sex Offender in Michigan?
When facing charges for failing to register as a sex offender, the first thing you need to do is establish whether your conviction is justified. In other words, you must find out whether or not you fall under the category of those who are required to register. Generally, one must register if they reside, work, or study in Michigan and fulfill at least one of the following:
- If a person is convicted of a listed sex crime after 10/01/1995
- If a person was involved with the criminal justice system for that offense after 10/01/1995
- If a person is termed in the child sex offenders or predators classification according to a similar statute from a different state
However, there are several reasons a convicted offender may not be on the Public Sex Offender Registry. Some of these include:
- The offender’s conviction date was before 10/01/1995, and that they were not involved with the criminal justice system for that offense at that time
- The offender’s conviction was not a listed crime that requires registration
- The offender is deceased
- The offender is an adjudicated juvenile
Possible Defense Strategies For Failing To Register As A Sex Offender
Today, lots of people, particularly men, are in Michigan prisons due to false sex crime allegations. Because of the embarrassment that comes with a conviction and the ‘registered sex offender’ title, the crime of failure to register has become quite prevalent. The endless requirements and confusing bureaucracy involved in the sex offender registration process have only made things worse. As a result, those found guilty of failure to register as sex offenders receive the maximum punishment, including hefty fines, lengthy prison or jail time, and revocation of probation or parole.
With so much at stake, you must not ignore this charge if you’re being charged with failure to register as a sex offender in Michigan. Whether it was not a willful criminal act or there were extenuating circumstances that caused you not to fulfill this legal requirement, you need to have a strong, skilled criminal lawyer on your side, fighting to protect you. The right criminal defense attorney will have specialized training in handling sex assault crimes and will help develop an effective defense strategy to counter the prosecutors’ evidence.
Contact An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Focused On Sex Crimes
With 20-plus years of experience in handling Sexual Assault cases, our experienced Michigan sex crime defense lawyers are ready to help. Not only can we plead your case in court, but we will also work to get your failure to register charge dismissed or your penalties reduced.
Regardless of your case’s specific circumstances, we’ll handle aspects of your case with professionalism, dedication, and perseverance from the very beginning to the conclusion. Contact us today to learn how we can fight your failure to register charge and ensure that your rights are reserved.