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New York Sex Offender Registration – An Introduction

If you have been convicted of an offense in New York or elsewhere that triggers New York State’s sex offender registration laws, your criminal defense attorney must be familiar with the New York Sex Offender Registration Act (hereinafter “SORA”). Registration as a sex offender in New York is governed by Article 6-C of the New York Correction Law. Article 6-C is referred to and cited as the Sex Offender Registration Act. NY Corr. Law 168. The New York State Legislature’s passage of SORA brought New York into compliance with the federal Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Program (hereinafter the Wetterling Act) (42 U.S.C.A. ‘ 14071). Any state that failed to comply with the Wetterling Act would lose ten percent of its Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act funding. 42 U.S.C.A. 14071(g)(1)(A).
Under the Wetterling Act, the United States Attorney General shall establish guidelines for State programs that require a person who is convicted of a criminal offense against a minor or of a sexually violent offense or who is considered a sexually violent predator to register a current address with the local chief law enforcement officer.. 42 U.S.C.A. ‘ 14071(a)(1). One required to report in one state must inform that state when they move to another state and must also inform their new state of residence that they were required to report in their old state. The state they are leaving must also have procedures in place to inform the state the offender is moving to that the offender was required to register in their state. 42 U.S.C.A. ‘ 14071(b)(5).

The Wetterling Act also set forth guidelines establishing the length of time an offender must register for. The length of registration is either 10 years or life depending on the offense. The registration period commences on the date the offender is either released from incarceration, placed on parole or placed in supervised release. 42 U.S.C.A. ‘ 14071(b)(6).

The list of registerable offenses under SORA is quite lengthy and will be discussed in a future blog. Suffice it to say that New York can and does make mistakes about who must register. In addition, your level as determined by the Court, can greatly impact your life. If you are charged with any sex offense in New York or are moving to New York and are currently registered in the state where you currently live, consult an experienced New York Criminal Lawyer familiar with New York’s Sex Offender Registration Act.