Sex offender registration is one of the most burdensome collateral consequences of a Virginia sex crime conviction. As a sex offender, you need to regularly check in with local law enforcement and provide them with a wealth of information, which is then made accessible to the public. It’s not only inconvenient, it is embarrassing and in many cases a significant barrier to obtaining housing and employment. That’s why many are tempted to avoid registering after a sex crime conviction.
If you fall into this category, it is essential to keep in mind there are harsh penalties for failing to register as a sex offender in Virginia or providing authorities with false information. Unfortunately, there is little you can do to change your registration requirements if you’ve been convicted of a sex crime. This is why you need to think carefully before pleading guilty to these offenses. Often, the registration requirement is lifelong, so it may be worthwhile to fight your sex crimes charges now.
Whether you’ve been charged with failure to register or have yet to be convicted, you have options to consider if you’re charged with a sex crime. Call the Virginia sex crimes lawyers with Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico today at (540) 343-9349 or submit a request online to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
What Are the Sex Offender Registration Requirements in Virginia?
If you’ve been convicted of an offense that requires registration, you have three days after your release to provide the local police or sheriff’s office with your registration information, which includes:
- Your photo
- A DNA sample
- Job information
- Your email address and social media usernames
- Vehicle registration
- Proof of residence and address
Your local law enforcement office will share this information with the Virginia State Police, which manages the state’s sex offenders registry. If you move to a different home within Virginia, get a new job, or change your vehicle, you will have three days to re-register with the law enforcement office (possibly in a new municipality). A change in your social media or email must be reported almost immediately. And if you plan on leaving Virginia, you will need to let the authorities know at least 10 days before your departure.
What Are the Penalties for a Failure to Comply With the Requirements?
Virginia Law calls for stiff penalties for anyone who fails to comply with the state’s sex offender registration requirements. The penalties for providing false information or for failing to register are:
- First offense–The first time you fail to register, you will be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and $2,500 in fines.
- Second offense–The second and any subsequent offenses are treated as a Class 6 felony, which involves a term of imprisonment of one to five years, along with fines of up to $2,500.
- Failure to register after a violent sex crime conviction–If the underlying offense involved violence, your first failure to register will be treated as a Class 6 felony. Subsequent offenses are charged as Class 5 felonies, which are punishable by one to ten years of prison and fines of up to $2,500.
The exact penalties you might receive depend on the circumstances, and how your defense lawyer articulates the facts of the case in your favor. For example, it may be possible to show that your providing of false information was due to a mistake, which may result in a relatively lenient penalty. But if there is evidence that you provided fake information to thwart the authorities’ attempts to track you, the penalties will be closer to the statutory maximums.
Charged with Failure to Register in VA? Call a Roanoke Sex Crime Lawyer Now
At Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico, we believe that everyone deserves a second chance. If you have been charged with a sex offense or with a failure to register on the sex offender registry, we will vigorously fight for your rights. Our goal is to help every one of our clients to obtain the best resolution possible under their circumstances.