Helping Clients Combat Sex and Violent Offender Registry Offenses
If you have been convicted of a sex or violent offense in Indiana and are required to register with the Indiana Sex and Violent Offender Registry, you must comply with the sex offender registry laws regardless of whether you are in prison or living at home. While these laws are designed to protect communities and children by providing public access to online records of convicted sex and violent offenders, the special units of police and sheriffs’ departments responsible for monitoring compliance are well known for targeting offenders for technical violations of a very complex & confusing body of rules and regulations. These law enforcement officials often look for simple mistakes and any minor violations they can find in order to bring charges against the offender.
The Stracci Law Group has extensive experience helping individuals who have been charged with violating Indiana’s sex and violent offender registry laws. Our team has a thorough understanding of Indiana’s criminal justice system and the specific requirements individuals must adhere to when they are ordered to register with the state as a sex or violent offender. Our firm’s founder, Paul Stracci is a highly respected criminal defense attorney and his legal team includes two former prosecutors as well as an associate with the distinction of previously serving as the youngest Lieutenant on the Lake County Sheriff’s department prior to entering the legal profession. We are a smart and aggressive group, heavily experienced and will versed in Indiana’s registry requirements who are fully prepared to help you combat the serious charges you are facing.
Our firm knows far too well that many of these cases stem from overzealous police taking an overly broad interpretation of the registry requirements in order to charge an offender with a technical violation of the law. Whether a law enforcement official has overreached in filing a charge against you, or if you had good reason or necessity for violating a requirement, (we’ve got to find another place to use that phrase, it just doesn’t work here) will work with you to build a powerful and persuasive defense strategy.
Indiana’s Sex or Violent Offender Registry Requirements
Under Indiana Code § 11-8-8-19, a sex or violent offender is required to register with the Indiana Sex and Violent Offender Registry for a period of 10 years and certain offenders are required to register for life, including:
- Sexually violent predators
- Sex or violent offenders who are 18 years of age or older and commit an offense against a victim who is under the age of 12
- Sex or violent offenders who are convicted of an offense that proximately resulted in serious bodily injury or death of the victim, used or threatened force against the victim or his or her family (except for offenses classified as Level 6 felony) or rendered the victim unconscious or otherwise unable to give consent voluntarily
- Sex or violent offenders who are convicted of at least two (2) unrelated offenses under Indiana Code § 11-8-8-5(a)
The rules and restrictions placed upon registered sex and violent offenders are complex and extensive. For instance, sex and violent offenders must notify the state within 72 hours of a change in residence or incarceration status. They must also submit to a photograph for placement on the registry website and provide their full name, a physical description, identifying information and vehicle information. Additionally, sex and violent offenders must register in all places where they own real property which they intend to visit at any time, along with the county where they are employed or enrolled in school. Moreover, they must submit to an in-person verification visit from a law enforcement official and report in person to local law enforcement for re-registry and photographing at least once per year. These are just a few of the requirements placed on sex and violent offenders so it is important to check with an experienced attorney who can help you make certain that you are taking the right steps to comply with all of the sex and violent offender registry rules and regulations.
Indiana Code § 11-8-8-17 sets forth a number of different grounds upon which registered sex or violent offenders can be charged with registry offenses, including:
- Failure to register when required
- Failure to register in every location where required to do so
- Making a material misstatement or omission when registering
- Failure to register in person
- Not residing at the registered address or location
Failure to comply with these provisions of the Indiana Code can lead to severe penalties. Violations of Indiana’s registry requirements are classified as Level 6 felonies punishable by a 6 month to 2 ½ year prison sentence and a maximum fine of $10,000. Additionally, if the sex or violent offender has a prior unrelated conviction for a registry offense, the offense may be elevated to a Level 5 felony, punishable by 1 to 6 years in prison and a fine of up to to $10,000.
Sexually Violent Predators, Offenders against Children, and Serious Sex Offenders
In addition to the Sex or Violent Offender Registry obligations discussed above, certain types of sex offenders are subject to stricter requirements under Indiana law, these include: (1) sexually violent predators, (2) offenders against children, and (3) serious sex offenders. In the state of Indiana a court can impose sexually violent predator status upon the petition of the prosecutor. Individuals with this status must comply with more stringent registry obligations, such as being required to register for life as opposed to 10 years. These offenders must also generally register and give notice sooner than other sex or violent offenders and they are required to give notice if they will be absent from their primary residence for more than 72 hours.
Indiana Code § 35-42-4-11 defines an “offender against children” to include sexually violent predators and those convicted of the following offenses:
- Child molesting
- Child exploitation
- Child solicitation
- Child seduction
- Kidnapping a victim under the age of 18 when the individual is not the child’s parent or guardian
- Attempt to commit/conspiracy to commit any of the offenses listed above
- Commission of a substantially similar offense to any of the offenses listed above in another jurisdiction
Under Indiana Code§ 35-42-4-14 a “serious sex offender” includes sexually violent predators and those convicted of the following offenses:
- Child molesting
- Child exploitation
- Possession of child pornography
- Vicarious sexual gratification
- Performing sexual conduct in the presence of a minor
- Child solicitation
- Child seduction
- Sexual misconduct with a minor
- Conspiracy or attempt to commit any of the offenses listed above
- Commission of a substantially similar offense to the offenses listed above in another jurisdiction
In addition to the regular registry offenses, under Indiana Code § 35-42-4-11 sexually violent predators and offenders against children can be charged with residency restriction violations for the following:
- Residing within 1,000 feet of school property, a youth program center, or public park; or
- Establishing a residence within 1 mile of the victim’s residence.
These violations are considered Level 6 felonies punishable by a 6 month to 2 ½ year prison sentence and a maximum fine of $10,000. Additionally under Indiana Code § 35-42-4-14 a serious sex offender who knowingly or intentionally enters school property will be charged with unlawful entry by a serious sex offender. Similar to the other violations, this offense is also classified as a Level 6 felony.
Contact The Stracci Criminal Defense Team for a Free Evaluation of Your Case
If you have been charged with violating the sex and violent offender registry laws in Northwest Indiana, we encourage you to contact the Stracci Law Group at (219) 525-1000 immediately. Our firm is comprised of a small team of highly qualified criminal defense lawyers who are committed to doing everything we can to help protect your rights and fight the serious charges you are facing. We offer free, comprehensive case evaluations where you can discuss your case confidentially with a member of our legal team. Our lawyers understand the difficult challenges that you are dealing with and we want you to feel confident that you are making the right choice when you retain us to handle your case.