If you’ve been convicted of a sex crime in Pennsylvania, you are required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law. Depending on the type of conviction, you may be required to register annually, every six months, or every 90 days. Failing to register or to update your home and work addresses when you move or change jobs, or providing inaccurate information, can result in a felony conviction and prison time.
Megan’s Law and SORNA
Although Megan’s Law requires that the Pennsylvania State Police maintain a sex offender registry to protect the public, there are federal laws that also apply to sex offenders. The Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Act, or SORNA, is a federal law that requires convicted sex offenders to be categorized under three tiers. Tier I offenders are required to register annually for 15 years, Tier II offenders are required to register every six months for 25 years, and Tier III offenders are required to register every 90 days for the rest of their lives.
Photos of offenders and information such as height, weight, birth date, vehicle information, employment information, and home address are published on the Pennsylvania sex offender registry website. It is extraordinarily difficult to game this system, so if you’re required to register, an experienced sex crimes lawyer will advise you that it’s best to comply with all requirements. If the Pennsylvania State Police do not send you a notice or information about registering, you are still required to register, and you can still be arrested if you don’t.
Penalties for Failure to Register
If you are convicted of failure to register, the penalties you face will depend on the circumstances of your original sex crime conviction. Penalties can range from third to first degree felonies, seven years to life in prison, and up to $25,000 in fines.
These are the criminal penalties for failure to register as a first offense – if you have subsequent violations, you may face a longer term of incarceration. Failing to register can also result in a revocation of probation, parole, or conditional release.
What to Do if You’ve Been Arrested
Even if you’re charged with Failure to Register due to an honest mistake or miscommunication, don’t assume that you won’t be convicted. Regardless of the circumstances, it is always a good idea to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney if you’re facing charges. Do not give a statement, answer questions, or speak to law enforcement officers or prosecutors without your attorney present. A lawyer will fight to protect your rights and may be able to get charges reduced or dismissed.
Whether you’ve been criminally charged or you have been a victim of a crime, you don’t have to go it alone. Our team of defense attorneys, drug crime lawyers, and domestic violence lawyers believe everyone deserves fair, competent legal representation. If you need assistance with a Protection from Abuse order or another legal matter, we’re here for you.