Maryland Sex Registry
A Baltimore Criminal Defense Lawyer with 25+ Years of Experience
After a sex offense allegation or child pornography case, what most people seek to avoid is the sex registry. Sex crimes committed by repeat offenders in recent years have caused many state legislatures, including Maryland, to enact laws that increase community awareness of these offenders. State and federal laws require convicted sex offenders to register with local law enforcement and other state agencies. The registrant supplies their addresses and other identifying information such work, activities and daily routines.
If you are facing sex crime accusations, you need reliable legal representation you can trust. The Baltimore criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates offers free consultations. Call us at (443) 709-9999.
The History of the Sex Offender Registry
In the United States, “registration” was first used in the 1925’s for repeat criminals and sometimes sex offenders. They worked as a method to drive out people who were believed to be undesirables in the community. One of the earliest rudimentary state sex registration statutes was enacted in California in 1947. Since then, every state has enacted some sort of sex registration statute.
Maryland is not the first state to enact a modern-day sex registration listing. New Jersey was one of the first states to implement a sex offender registry and notification law back in 1994. The Maryland legislature soon thereafter enacted its own sex registry statute so they would be in compliance with federal law. Maryland’s first actual sex registration occurred in 1995.
Sex offenders are required to register with the sexual offender registry for at least 15 years:
- Tier 1 is a 15-year term (sometimes 10)
- Tier 2 is a 25-year term
- Tier 3 is a lifetime registration requirement
For years, courts have determined that being placed on the sex registry was not a “punishment.” In recent years, the courts have realized that a sex registry is a form of “punishment” even though it is not jail time.
Sex Offender Registry Rules in Maryland
In 1994, Congress passed the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act. The federal act requires all states to create registries of offenders convicted of sexually violent offenses or crimes against children and to establish heightened registration requirements for highly dangerous sex offenders. It further requires offenders to verify their addresses annually for a period of 10 years and requires sexually violent predators to verify addresses on a quarterly basis for life. States that do not establish registration programs, in compliance with the Act’s provisions are subject to a 10 percent federal reduction in funds.
The vast majority of states registration acts have complied within the last 15 years. Maryland has classified the sex offender laws into the various tiers. Obviously the more serious offense, the higher the tier. Most of these reclassifications were done to comply with the federal requirements.
Broken down at its core, Maryland has categorized sex defenders into four different groups:
- Typical offender
- Child sexual offender
- Sexually violent offender
- Sexually violent predator
The current theory is that registration allows sex offenders to be more visible to law enforcement and the public, with the idea of increasing awareness. The theory suggests if you know a sex offender lives in your neighborhood, then you can keep an eye on them. The psychological reasoning behind sex offenses has always been that offenders will re-offend if they are not placed in some kind of controlled environment, hence the sex registry not only notifies other individuals but “keeps an eye” on the defender.
Our Defense Firm Offers Representation for the Accused
Many psychologists have espoused an individual incapable or unlikely able to change from being a sexual predator. In other words, you can’t rehabilitate someone with those inclinations so we have to manage them and make the public aware so they can protect themselves. The first problem with the registry is that it attempts to classify everyone in the same pot. A true child predator is listed right next to someone who had a crush on a 14-year-old in high school when he was 19 and had sexual relations with her consensually. The entire basket approach is deplorable and ruins many lives.
It’s very important that your lawyer have a complete understanding as to who must register and when. Many times attorney and judges still don’t have a complete understanding as to when that should occur. Our criminal defense lawyer in Baltimore can help guide you through this difficult time.
We serve clients throughout Maryland.
Discover why the Law Offices of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates is the chosen criminal defense law firm in the Baltimore area. Call (443) 709-9999 for a consultation.