The sex offender registry is a database that is maintained by every state and in that database is every person who has been convicted of a qualifying sex-related crime. These would include rape or sodomy, object sexual penetration and other things of that nature. If you are convicted of that then you are required to register with that registry. The registry is a database that contains your photograph, your address, what you were charged with, what you were convicted of, and what kind of sentence you served. If anybody wants to see if there is a sex offender living in their neighborhood all they have to do is go on to the internet, do a search of their area, and they will see it. Every state has one and failing to comply with the sex offender registry is a felony that will result in incarceration if the Commonwealth can prove that that occurred.
When Do You Have to Register?
Almost every single sex related crime is considered a qualifying offense for the sex offender registry. So any conviction that has to do with sex and this includes child pornography related offenses as well also need to be registered as a sex offender.
Consequences of Sex Offender Registration
You’re on there for life. If you commit a qualifying sex crime at the age of 20, you still have to be registering when you are a grandparent which is long after your case has been resolved and long after you’ve paid whatever debt is deemed appropriate by the judge or jury. Anybody that looks will know that you did this thing even if it was years and years ago.
Well, it can certainly affect one’s ability to find a comfortable home and to live peacefully among one’s neighbors. It certainly is going to have the potential for uncomfortable questions being asked by neighbors or friends. There is really no assurance of things. I can tell you just from having been doing this for as long as I have, that it is second to prison time. It is a thing people are most concerned about and most scared of is the fact that they now have to be on this list. It will follow you for the rest of your life.
Here are some additional resources on the sex offender registry in Virginia:
- Virginia State Police Website: Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry
- Code of Virginia: Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry Act