A sex offender is a person who commits a Sex Offense. Sex offenders must Register with the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS).

Risk Levels-There are 3 levels of sex-offenders divided by the risk of re-offense, meaning how likely it is that the sex offender will commit another sex related crime. The sex offender level is set by the court. The 3 levels are:

Level 1 – lowest risk

Level 2 – moderate risk

Level 3 – highest risk

There are also three designations that the court can give a sex offender: sexual predator, sexually violent offender and predicate sex offender. These designations and the risk level assigned determine the sex offenders reporting requirements and how much information is open to the public.

Sex Offender Obligations– Sex offenders have many reporting responsibilities and requirements. Some of these include:

  • Reporting every year where they live to DCJS.
  • Notifying DCJS in writing of a new address no later than 10 days after moving.
  • Reporting in person to a local police agency to have a current picture taken every 3 years (Level 1 and 2 offenders) or every year (Level 3 offenders).
  • Notifying DCJS in writing of any school they are attending, enrolled in, living at or employed. Any changes must be reported to DCJS no later than 10 days after the change.
  • Providing written information to DCJS about their Internet service providers, Internet screen names and e-mail accounts.
  • Level 3 offenders and offenders with a sexual predator designation must personally verify their addresses every 90 days with law enforcement. Law enforcement may take a picture of a level 3 offender if that offender’s appearance has changed.
  • Level 2 and 3 offenders have to report the address of their employer to the DCJS.

Failure to perform any of the registration obligations is a felony.

Sex Offender Petition for Relief or Modification

Corrections Law §168-o says when a sex offender can ask to be removed from the registry or change his or her risk level. The way to ask is by filing a motion. After filing the motion, the sex offender is entitled to a court appointed attorney if he or she can’t afford one.

Removal: After 30 years, a level 2 sex offender who has not been designated a sexual predator, sexually violent offender or predicate sex offender, can petition the court to be relieved from all registration requirements and be removed from the registry. This petition can be made once every 2 years starting 30 years after the first registration.

Modification: A registered sex offender can petition the sentencing court or the court which made the determination regarding the level, for an order downwardly modifying his or her risk level. This petition can be made once per year. The petition should say which new level is being requested and the reasons why the change should be granted. For example, a level 3 sex offender might ask the court to change to level 2 because there have been no new sexual offenses for many years, and/or the sex offender has been in treatment, and/or the risk level is keeping the sex offender from getting a job or housing, and/or the sex offender has changed his or her life. It is helpful to speak to an attorney.

The District Attorney can also ask the court to modify the risk level when the sex offender has been convicted of a new crime or has violated a condition that the District Attorney thinks increases the risk of re-offense.

Civil Management of Sex Offenders

Some convicted sex offenders are strictly supervised and treated after they have served their sentence. This happens when the sex offender is considered likely to commit a sex offense again because of a mental abnormality. This is called civil management. The civil management law is called the Sex Offender Management and Treatment Act.

This happens in a small number of cases. The Attorney General decides whether to file a petition in the court for civil management. The defendant has a right to have a lawyer. At trial, the Attorney General must prove that the defendant has a mental abnormality that requires supervision. Learn more from the Attorney General.

Sex Offender Registration Consequences

The law requires Sex Offenders to register with the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services when convicted of a Sex Offense. Sex offender registration can lead to social disgrace and humiliation, loss of relationships, jobs, and housing, and both verbal and physical assaults. There may be restrictions on where you can live and what job you can hold. For example, a sex offender can’t work on an ice cream truck and may not be allowed to drive a school bus.

Sentencing Basics

If you are found guilty or plead guilty, you will get your punishment from the judge. This is called sentencing. For violations and minor misdemeanor cases you may be sentenced right away. Where the possibility of prison time exists, you will most likely get a date a few weeks away for a sentencing hearing. A Pre-Sentence Report will be made to help the Judge decide your punishment. At your sentencing hearing, you, your lawyer, the Prosecutor and, in some cases, the victim of your crime, all have a chance to speak to the Judge about your sentence. The Judge decides your sentence.

Your lawyer and the Prosecutor may have agreed on your punishment by Plea Bargaining. But, the Judge does not have to follow any agreement between the prosecutor and your lawyer about your sentence. Your sentence depends on different things, like your background, your past convictions, what happened when you committed the crime, and the attitude of the victim. Different Types of Criminal Cases have different ranges of punishments. This means that a Judge can’t sentence you to years in prison for a violation like jumping a turnstile. Your lawyer can explain the possible sentence for your crime. Also, there are many kinds of punishments besides jail or prison time that a Judge can use to punish a defendant, like probation, conditional discharge, unconditional discharge, Restitution and fines. There are also a number of Surcharges and Fees, like the Crime Victim Assistance Fee, or mandatory surcharge, that the court orders you to pay.

A criminal sentence can also punish other areas of your life in ways you may not realize. It is important to understand what can happen. Speak to your lawyer and read Collateral Consequences Basics and use the calculator to see the possible consequences. Some consequences, like losing your apartment or a license for your job, can be avoided by getting a special certificate that gives you back your rights. You may be able to ask the Judge for this at your sentencing. It can also be asked for later.

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