Maryland Sex Offender Registry Frequently Asked Questions
People who are convicted of a sex offense are required by law to register on the sex offense list. The list is comprised of three tiers. The tier level denotes the length of time each type of offender must remain on the list. The law is specific; therefore, it is important to understand each aspect. Although we provide basic information on the law surrounding sex offenses and the sex offender registry, you should consult a Maryland sex crimes lawyer for any questions regarding how the law applies to your situation.
What constitutes a sex offense conviction?
An obvious conviction is when a person is found guilty by a judge or jury or when a person pleads guilty to the crime. The expanded definition of conviction in the state of Maryland makes the picture much clearer. The definition includes anyone who receives probation before judgment (PBJ), anyone who pleads Nolo Contendere, or someone who is found not criminally responsible for his or her actions.
What are the tier levels?
Tier I: This tier is the least restrictive of the three. People required to register under tier I must stay on the list for 15 years. People convicted of fourth degree sex offenses are included in this tier. It also includes, but is not limited to, video surveillance and/or “peeping” without the permission of the victim, child pornography material possession, misleading information on the internet and trafficking sex.
Tier II: This tier includes, but is not limited to, distributing child pornography, sale of a minor and any third degree sex offense. People placed on this list must remain on it for 25 years.
Tier III: People on this tier level must remain on the list for the rest of their lives. The offenses include, but are not limited to rape of any type, incest, kidnapping, murder with the intention of raping, assault with the intention of raping, and the sale of a minor.
The law regarding the sex offenders list is retroactive. That means that anyone who was convicted of these crimes before the date the law went into effect in the state of Maryland must register. There are no exceptions.
Offenders must register within three days of being released from community supervision. If the offender is given jail time for the offense, he or she must register prior to release from prison. He or she must also register three days prior to moving from the state of Maryland.
The law requires that registrants report at various intervals during their tenure on the sex offense list. Tier I and Tier II offenders must report every six months to authorities. Tier III registrants must report every three months to assure their profiles are up-to-date.
Other than the tier-specific time periods elapsing, are offenders ever removed from the registry?
A person may be removed from the registration list for several reasons. Those reasons include the offender dying, being pardoned for the crime, having the crime expunged from his or her record or relocating. However, if the person is removed because of relocation, his or her name is forwarded to the authorities in the jurisdiction to which the offender has moved.
What information is provided on a sex offender registration?
Information provided on the registration of a sex offender includes his or her name, address and age. A photo is included in the profile. The address of any schools the offender is registered in, as well as any places of employment, are also included. The vehicle information of the offender and a legal description of the crimes committed are also included. The description of his or her crimes is also given in lay terms so that it is more easily understood. If the convicted sex offender has any aliases, they will be included in the profile. All of this is public information that can easily be accessed.
What happens if the offender does not register?
A sex offender who does not register his or her information at the appropriate times is subject to jail time and a fine. It is a misdemeanor in the state of Maryland to knowingly avoid registering the correct information. The offense is punishable with up to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
What about non-residents who work or attend school in Maryland?
If an offender from another state attends school or works in Maryland, he or she must register with the state of Maryland no later than three days after the start date at work or registering for school. It does not matter what type of school the offender will attend.
Sex offenders must make themselves aware of the laws regarding registration. They must report any change, including email addresses and user names in social networking sites on the internet. Any deviation from the regulations could result in a warrant being issued for arrest.
More information on the Maryland sex offender registration process is available on the state’s Sex Offender Registry site.