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Can Someone Be Removed from the Sex Offender Registry in New York?

Only a handful of states had any type of sex offender registry prior to the 1990s. That decade saw a quick succession of states passing their own laws in response to federal legislation.

New York passed its Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) in 1995 with an effective date of January 1996. Since that time, anyone convicted of a sex offense or certain other crimes against children must register.

Low-level offenders, however, have the legal right to petition to be removed from the registry. Higher-level offenders can also seek a reduction in their classification.

At Collins Gann McCloskey & Barry PLLC, we know the devastating effects that a sex offense accusation can have on someone’s reputation and future. We build the strongest defense possible to help our clients avoid such consequences.

SORA Registration Requirements

All sex offenders are classified as either low (Level 1), moderate (Level 2), or high risk (Level 3) of repeat offenses and a threat to public safety. A judge assigns the risk level after a court hearing. In addition to the threat level, the judge also determines whether the convicted person should be designated a sexual predator, a sexually violent offender, or a predicate sex offender.

These levels and designations determine how long they must remain on the registry.

Anyone convicted of the following crimes must register as a sex offender upon their release from prison:

  • Luring a Child
  • Sexual Misconduct
  • Rape (All Degrees)
  • Incest (All Degrees)
  • Criminal Sexual Act (All Degrees)
  • Sodomy (All Degrees)
  • Forcible Touching
  • Sexual Abuse (All Degrees)
  • Aggravated Sexual Abuse (All Degrees)
  • Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child
  • Predatory Sexual Assault Against a Child
  • Persistent Sexual Abuse
  • Patronizing a Prostitute
  • Promoting Prostitution
  • Unlawful Imprisonment (Depends on the Victim’s Age)
  • Kidnapping (Depends on the Victim’s Age)
  • Sex Trafficking
  • Unlawful Surveillance
  • Promoting a Sexual Performance by a Child
  • Predatory Sexual Assault

The lowest-risk level offender with no additional designation must register for 20 years. Level 2, Level 3, and any level with an upgraded designation are required to register for life.

Furthermore, offenders who move here from another jurisdiction (including another country) must register if they have been convicted of an offense that requires registration according to the New York State Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders. Offenders must register within 10 days of moving to the state.

Anyone who does not follow the registration requirements will face felony consequences:

  • A first conviction is punishable as a Class E felony
  • A second or subsequent conviction is punishable as a Class D felony

Petition for Relief of Registration

A Level 2 sex offender can request to be removed from the registration mandate when they satisfy two requirements:

  • They have completed a minimum of 30 years of registration
  • They have not been designated a sexual predator, sexually violent offender, or predicate sex offender.
  • The petition can only be filed once every two years.

The petition to remove is made to the sentencing court or the court that determined their registration and notification level.

Petition to Modify Risk Level

The law also provides an avenue for a registered sex offender or district attorney to petition the sentencing court or the court that made the determination regarding the level of notification for an order modifying the offender’s risk level and notification requirement.

The petition specifies the requested risk level and the reasons such should be granted:

  • The offender bears the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that their risk level should be changed.
  • A petition will not be considered more than annually.
  • If the petition is granted, the district attorney may appeal.

Best Offense Is a Good Legal Defense

Accusations of sex offenses are among the most ruinous charges anyone can face. Such allegations harm your reputation, socially and professionally. On top of incarceration and fines, sex offenders are required to register on a public database often for the rest of their lives.

The most effective way to fight the stigma of sex offender registration is never to be labeled as one in the first place. The attorneys at Collins Gann McCloskey & Barry PLLC zealously defend our clients accused of any sex-related offense.

Our extensive defense experience includes a wide range of sex-related offenses including rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse of a child, and more.

Contact Collins Gann McCloskey & Barry PLLC immediately if you face sex crime charges. Seasoned representation is vital. Reach us online or call (516) 218-5131.