How to Get Off the Sex Offender Registry in Michigan
Of all the 50 states in America, Michigan has some of the most stringent sex offender registration laws. That means convicted sex offenders will risk having their personal information published on the Michigan sex offender registry for anywhere from 15 years to life!
What’s even more unfortunate is that having your personal information removed from the sex offender registry is a complicated process. Therefore, you need to consult a skilled Michigan criminal defense attorney, such as Nicole Blank Becker of Blank Law, PC, to avoid a conviction in the first place.
With Blank Law, PC, you don’t have to worry about consultation fees. We offer an initial free consultation to all our clients, which you can use to determine the eligibility of your case.
If you are already convicted, all may not be lost. The law provides for ways of getting off the registry under some circumstances. So read on to determine if you are eligible for removal.
How to Get Off the Sex Offender Registry in Michigan
The Michigan sex offender registry refers to a governmental database, maintained by the state of Michigan, that contains the personal information of convicted sex offenders. The registry was created following the enactment of the Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA).
The offender’s information required on the registry include:
- Known aliases
- Registration number
- Physical identifying characteristics, such as scars, tattoos, and body marks
- Address, including email address
- Vehicle information
- Offense information
Different offenses attract different registration requirements, depending on the nature and the category of the offense.
The Three Classification of Sexual Offenses
SORA classifies sexual offenses into Tier I, II, and III offenses.
Tier I Offenses
Offenses classified as Tier I offenses are among the least severe criminal sexual conduct (CSC) offenses. Upon conviction, the offender must register with the Michigan sex offender registry for 15 years.
Unlike Tier II and Tier III offenders, some of the Tier I offenders may not be listed on the public registry. Instead, they are listed on the private law enforcement registry.
Convictions that could result in a Tier I offense include:
- Possession of child pornography
- A sex offense committed by a sexually delinquent person
- Fourth degree criminal sexual conduct against a person aged 18 and above
- Aggravated indecent exposure
- Unlawful imprisonment of a minor
- A conspiracy to commit any of the offenses mentioned above
Tier II Offenses
Tier II offenses are more severe compared to Tier I offenses, but less severe than a Tier III offense. Upon conviction, the offender faces a state-enforced sex offender registration for 25 years on the Michigan’s sex offender registry.
Unlike some of the Tier I offenders, Tier II offenders are placed on Michigan’s public sex offender registry, where anyone can access information regarding registered sex offenders.
Convictions that could result in a Tier II offense include:
- Subsequent Tier I crime conviction
- Second degree criminal sexual conduct against a victim aged 13 and above
- Fourth degree CSC against a victim aged 13 to 17
- Assault with the intent to commit second degree criminal sexual conduct against a person aged 13 to 17 years of age
- Child sexually abusive activity – Distribution/Promoting
- Child sexually abusive activity – Producing/Financing
- Child sexually abusive material
- Soliciting a minor for an immoral purpose
Tier III Offenses
A Tier III offense is the most severe compared to the other classes of sexual offenses under SORA. Upon a conviction with a Tier III offense, an offender must register with Michigan’s sex offender registry for a lifetime.
Convictions that could result in a Tier III offense include:
- Subsequent conviction with Tier I or Tier II offenses
- Gross indecency between males and females under the age of 13
- First degree criminal sexual conduct and statutory rape
- Second degree CSC where the complainant is under the age of 13
- Third degree CSC
- Fourth degree CSC where the defendant is 17 and above and the complainant is under the age of 13
- Assault with the intent to commit first or third degree CSC
- Assault with the intent to commit second degree CSC against the complainant that is under 13 years old
- Child kidnapping
Consequences of Being on the Sex Offender Registry
1. Restricted Employment
The law limits the kinds of jobs a convicted sex offender can hold. For example, a convicted sex offender cannot work in a school or a children’s facility. Besides government restrictions on employment, employers run a background check of potential candidates before considering them for employment. This means an individual’s status as a sex offender will reflect during a search, significantly reducing their chances of getting the job.
2. Difficulty Finding Rental Housing
Like employers, landlords and their agents also run background checks on persons seeking to rent a house or an apartment. Since many landlords view sex offenders as a threat, being on the sex offender registry can negatively affect the offender’s chances of getting the housing accommodations of their choice.
3. Loss of Professional Licenses
Upon conviction as a sex offender, a person is not only restricted in the places they can work, but can also lose their professional licenses. Some of the licenses a person could lose after a conviction include: medical practitioners license, teaching license, law license, among others.
4. Loss of Custodial Authority
A convicted sex offender has the right to live with their children. With that said, in the event of a separation or divorce, the offender’s ex can use their status as a sex offender as a reason to have the court deny them custodial authority.
5. Bias, Intolerance, and Prejudice
Being on the sex offender registry means that an offender’s privacy is minimal. Once the people interacting with convicted sex offenders learn about their status, their perception of the person changes. Most people will view a convicted offender as a threat and will usually keep their distance from them.
6. Travel Restrictions
Although sex crime offenders have a right to travel, the law requires them to inform the relevant authorities of their intention to travel outside the state or country. Additionally, places frequented by children, such as Disney World, may also be out of bounds for sex offenders.
Who is Eligible for Removal from the Sex Offender Registry?
Sex offender registry removal in Michigan can be an overwhelming process. That’s why you need to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney to increase your chances of success.
Most attorneys offer an initial free consultation which you could take advantage of to determine if your case is eligible for sex offender registry removal.
Michigan law allows for an individual’s removal from the sex offenders registry under rare circumstances. These include:
- Romeo and Juliet Offenders
- Persons convicted of a Sex Crime as a Minor
- The Crimes No Longer Warrant Registration
- Specific Tier I, Tier II, or Tier III offense
Romeo and Juliet Offenders
The Romeo and Juliet laws have nothing to do with how long you could go to jail or prison, but rather they have to do with whether or not you have to register on the Michigan sex offender list based on the age of the offender and the complainant.
“Romeo and Juliet” offenders refer to persons convicted of sex crimes due to the fact that they had engaged in a consensual sexual act with another person below Michigan’s legal consensual age of 16, but above 13 years. Additionally, the offender must not be more than four years older than the alleged victim.
Michigan law holds that a person under 16 is not legally competent to consent to sex. This means that even if the alleged victim said yes to a sexual act, the actor could still face sex crime charges.
With that said, upon a conviction with criminal sexual conduct under these circumstances, you may be exempted from registration as an offender.
Persons convicted of criminal sexual conduct under the same circumstances before July 1, 2011, may be eligible for removal from the sex offender registry.
For an offender to have their name removed from the registry under these circumstances, they must appeal to the court and provide evidence to prove that:
- The other person consented to sex
- The alleged victim was between the age of 13-16
- The accused was less than five years older than the other person
When determining the age of a victim and an offender, Michigan follows the birth date rule, meaning a person does not reach the qualifying age until their birthdate. In other words, the law considers a person who is one day away from their 16th birthday as legally incompetent to consent to sex.
Persons Convicted of a Sex Crime as a Minor
Before the 1st of July, 2011, most sexual offenses resulted in the registration, irrespective of the defendant’s age. Following the revision of the laws, persons convicted of criminal sexual conduct while below 14 do not have to register.
This also means that anybody convicted of a sexual offense as a minor and subjected to sex offender registration before July 1, 2011, can petition the court, with the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney, to have their name removed from the sex offender’s registry.
The Crimes No Longer Warrant Registration
Following the revisions of the sexual offense’s laws in July, 2011, some offenses that warranted sex offender registration no longer require registration. Such crimes include: MCL 750.335a(2), indecent exposure, and MCL 750.167(1)(f), indecent or obscene conduct.
Individuals subjected to sex offender registration for crimes that no longer require registration after the revision of the laws can petition the court to have their names removed from the registry.
Certain Tier I Offenses
Persons convicted of a single Tier I offense are typically not placed on the public sex offender registry. Instead, they remain in the law enforcement’s private registry.
For offenses committed after the revision of Michigan sex crimes law on July 1, 2011, Tier I offenders aged between 13 and 16 years do not have to register as sex offenders.
Other Tier I offenders can petition the court to have their names removed from the registry if all of the following factors apply:
- It’s more than ten years from the date of conviction of the crime
- The offender has not been found guilty of a felony offense since their conviction with the Tier 1 sexual offense in question
- The offender has not been convicted of a sex crime since their conviction with the offense in question
- The offender was convicted of gross indecency
- The offender has completed a sex offender treatment program if it was a condition in their sentencing
- The judge has established the offender’s age and maturity at the time of the commission of the crime, the severity and the nature of the crimes, the offender’s criminal history, and that the offender does not pose any threat to public safety
Certain Tier II Offenses
Under Michigan law, before July of 2011, Tier II offenders were subjected to a 25-year registration, irrespective of age. However, following the revision of the laws, Tier II offenders aged between 13 and 16 do not have to register as sex offenders.
Other Tier II offenders may also petition the court to have their name removed if:
- They were convicted of sodomy or crimes against nature
- They were convicted of gross indecency
- The offense was committed against a previously incarcerated victim
Certain Tier III Offenses
After July 1, 2011, convicted juvenile Tier III offenders aged between 13 and 16 still need to register for life as a sex offender registry. However, these offenders are not placed on the public registry.
Other Tier III offenders can petition the court for removal from the sex offender’s registry if the following apply:
- The offender was a juvenile under the family court’s jurisdiction, which required them to register as a sex offender
- It has been more than twenty years from the date of the offender’s conviction or the date of release from confinement
- The offender was convicted of gross indecency between female victims, gross indecency between males, or gross indecency between male and female victims aged below 13
- The offender has not been convicted of a felony since the date of conviction with the said offense
- The offender has not been convicted of a sex crime from the time of conviction with the said offense
- The offender has completed a sex offender treatment program if it was a court requirement during sentencing
- The judge has reviewed the offender’s age and maturity at the time of the commission of the offense, along with the offender’s prior criminal history, and determined that the offender does not pose any danger to the public
It’s also important to understand that the court is under no obligation to grant the offender their petition. Instead, the court considers if the application meets the set threshold before granting a petition. Additionally, the state attorney must be notified and is allowed to challenge the removal.
If the court grants an offender the petition, it sends a copy of its order to the relevant authorities to have the offender’s name removed from the register.
Upon removal from Michigan’s sex offender registry, the offender’s name will no longer appear on the federal law sex offender registry since the national sex offender’s registry gets its information by running a search in individual state registries.
Let Criminal Defense Attorney Nicole Blank Becker Help You Get Your Name Off the Sex Offender’s Registry
This process is complicated and needs working with a skilled attorney, such as Nicole Blank Becker of Blank Law, PC.
At Blank Law, we offer an initial free consultation for all our clients, so you do not have to worry about the cost of a consultation. If you or a person you know may be eligible for removal from the sex offender’s registry, it’s important to book an appointment with a skilled criminal defense attorney who has experience in requesting offenders off the registry.
Nicole Blank Becker of Blank Law, PC is an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney and is your best bet of getting a favorable outcome for your sex crime cases. She focuses solely on sex crimes, which gives her an in-depth insight into how to handle matters related to sex crimes.
From the start, Nicole cultivates a solid attorney-client relationship that puts her clients at ease when sharing their sensitive information, which is critical in getting a favorable outcome.
If you want to have Nicole Blank Becker by your side, contact Blank Law, PC, at 248-515-6583 or fill out this online form to book your free initial consultation today.