It’s no secret that Virginia takes a tough stance on sex offenders. For example, in addition to long prison sentences and the creation of a permanent criminal record, when someone is convicted of certain Virginia sex crimes, they also face inclusion on the Virginia sex offender registry. This applies to both nonviolent and violent sex offenders and in spite of little evidence that the sex offender registry prevents sex crimes, this practice continues in Virginia and across the country. The only clear result from these draconian rules is that people with even minor, nonviolent sex offenses face decades of stigma and stifled opportunities.
However, there are options to consider for individuals who have served their sentence and deserve a second chance at a normal life, free of this hassle. To discuss the possibility of being removed from the Virginia sex offender registry, contact the Roanoke criminal attorneys with Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico.
Can I Be Removed from the Virginia Sex Offender List?
Your ability to get off the sex offender registry depends on the kind of sex crime you were convicted of committing. In Virginia, sex offenders are separated into two categories:
- Violent offenders–If convicted of a sexually violent offense, the murder of someone under the age of 15, or the murder of someone under the age of 18 in connection to a sex offense, you are considered a violent sex offender. Some violent sexual offenses include rape, forcible sodomy, abduction for immoral purposes, taking indecent liberties with a minor, and sexual object penetration.
- Nonviolent offenders–This category is for people convicted of any registerable sex offense besides a sexually violent offense, such as possession of child pornography. Alternatively, a manslaughter conviction arising out of the delinquency, abuse, or neglect of a child may put you in this category.
The law in Virginia is simple. Violent offenders face zero possibility of ever obtaining their removal from the sex offender list. Nonviolent offenders, on the other hand, may file a petition for removal 15 to 25 years after their first registration, depending on the offense. Multiple offenders may sometimes need to register for life, even if the offenses were nonviolent.
How Does the Removal Petition Process Work?
According to Virginia code § 9.1-910, the following conditions must be met before you can legally file a petition for removal from the sex offender registry:
- You must have completed all counseling, treatment, and victim registration ordered by the court in connection with your conviction
- 15 (or in some cases 25) years must have elapsed since the date you began registering.
To be accepted, your petition must include your complete criminal and sex offender registration history as well as documentation that you went through any required counseling or treatment. The court will grant you a hearing where the burden of proving that you are a risk to others is on the Commonwealth. Essentially, it is up to the prosecutor to prove you still pose a danger and should continue registering. If the court accepts your petition and you are no longer deemed a risk, they may order your removal from the sex offender registry. If the court denies your request, you must wait two years from the date you filed your petition before you can file a new one.
Your Best Option is to Work with a Skilled Roanoke Sex Crimes Lawyer
At Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico, we are passionate about helping our clients get off the sex offender’s list and to move on with their lives. If you want to file a petition for your removal from the Virginia sex offender registry, our Roanoke sex crimes lawyers can help. From gathering the necessary documentation to compiling convincing evidence of your rehabilitation, we will ensure that your case gets presented in the best possible light.
If you want to know more about removal from the sex offender registry, call us today at (540) 343-9349 for a free consultation or submit a request online. To learn more about sex offender registry removal in Roanoke, VA, visit our page here.