Recently, in Nassau County, we successfully argued for the reduction of a Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) Offender to have his risk assessment classification reduced from a level two down to a level one. This change can have a dramatic effect on the life of a convicted sex offender who is rehabilitated and trying to move on with his or her life.
New York Corrections Law sec 168-o gives registered offenders the right to argue up to once per year for a downward reduction in their offender status and further gives the offenders the right to argue to be relieved of all registration requirements after 30 years after the date of initial registration. This application can only be made once every two years after the 30 years has expired.
Generally, registered sex offenders in New York are designated into one of three classifications. Level 3 offenders are considered the most likely to reoffend and are monitored the most closely. Level 3 registration for example in addition to all of the other requirements for Level 1 and 2 offenders will need to personally verify their address with law enforcement every 90 days. In addition, level 3 offenders will need to have their picture taken by law enforcement every year as opposed to level 1 and 2 offenders every 3 years.
Most importantly though, only level 2 and 3 offenders are listed on the publicly searchable New York State public Sex Offender Registry. Therefore having your offender classification reduced to a level one can have a substantial impact on a person’s ability to get a job. Level one offenders are not listed on the internet and so neighbors who search by County or by zip code cannot locate a level one offender. In order to find out if a person with a level one designation is registered a person would need to call the 800 number and have a specific name.
A registered offender who wishes to reduce his sex offender category must file a Notice of Petition and Petition with the Court pursuant to New York Correction Law 168-o (2). In addition, while not required, this firm prefers to file a memorandum of law outlining why the law requires in a particular case that the Court make the requested modification. An affidavit from the client may also be advisable in certain situations.
After a Petition is filed with the Court the Court is required to forward a copy of the Petition to the board of examiners of sex offenders and to the prosecutor’s office. The Board must give the Court an updated recommendation. After receiving the recommendation from the Board the Court must forward that recommendation to the offender filing the petition along with a date for a hearing on the Petition. The Court after the hearing is required to make a determination and set forth both the Court’s findings of fact and conclusions of Law.
Registering as a sex offender can be extremely onerous and can effect every aspect of a registered offenders life including where they live, whether and where the can live and who they associate with. For offenders who can demonstrate a commitment to rehabilitation and treatment and a reduced risk of offending, the ability to reduce their registration level or completely eliminate the requirement to register can be life altering.
If you would like a confidential consultation about the ability to alter your registration requirements call one of our experienced sex crimes attorneys.