In Virginia, you are required to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry Act if you are convicted of certain sex offenses. If you fail to do so, or if you provide false registration information, you can face additional charges and penalties.
Who Is Required to Register as a Sex Offender?
The crimes that require you to register as a sex offender are listed in Virginia Code § 9.1-902. Some of these offenses include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Carnal knowledge of a minor who is 13 or 14 years old and the perpetrator is more than five years older than the victim
- Forcible sodomy
- Object sexual penetration
- Aggravated sexual battery
- Taking indecent liberties with a minor
- Any sexual violent offense
- Attempted rape, forcible sodomy object sexual penetration, or aggravated sexual battery
- Criminal homicide
In addition, certain misdemeanor sex offenses trigger registration requirements. The list of offenses requiring registration can be changed by the legislature periodically, so it is very important to consult an experienced attorney regarding whether a charge you face will require you to register as a sex offender.
How to Register for the Sexual Offender Registry
Virginia Code § 9.1-903 states the requirements for how to register for the Sexual Offender Registry. If you are required to register, you must do so within three days of being released from prison or jail. You do so by providing certain information to the Virginia State Police, which is the agency that monitors sex offenders and maintains the sex offender registry. Here is what you must do:
- Have your picture taken
- Provide a DNA sample that will be used in the DNA data bank
- Submit your finger and palm prints
- Provide information about your employment
- Provide your email address, instant message, or chat user ID
- Provide documentation of your current address
- Provide registration information for any vehicle you own, such as your car, motorcycle, ATV, and boat
You are required to update your information within three days of a change of residence, employment, or vehicle registration. You must notify law enforcement within 30 minutes of any change in your email address, instant message, or chat user ID. If you plan to go out-of-state, you must notify the Virginia State Police at least 10 days prior to leaving the Commonwealth, and you must ensure compliance with the registration requirements of any jurisdiction you move to.
If you are a non-violent sex offender and fail to register with the registry or provide false information when registering, you may be charged with a misdemeanor offense that is punishable by a jail sentence of up to twelve months and a fine of up to $2,500. A second or subsequent violation is a Class 6 felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison. For those convicted of a sexually violent offense or murder and who knowingly fail to register or knowingly provide false information when registering, the penalty is a Class 6 felony, while a second or subsequent violation is a Class 5 felony, which is punishable by up to ten years in prison.
Do you have further questions about your duty to register as a sex offender? Are you being charged with a sex crime? Our experienced sex crimes defense lawyers are here to answer your questions and help you build an aggressive defense against the charges you face. To learn more about how we can assist you, call our Fairfax office to schedule your free consultation today.