There are few things that can affect your life as much as being accused of a sex crime. Even before you have been convicted, the accusation of a sex crime will motivate a series of unpleasant events, emotions, stresses and worries in your mind and the community at large. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, an individual may be charged with a sex crime when they engage in any sexual act that is considered illegal. Sex crimes include unwanted sexual comments, touching, or gestures to a child or an adult, and any lewd or lascivious act committed upon or with a child. The stakes are high when dealing with any sexual related offense. A criminal conviction may require a prison sentence, as well as a lifetime on the sex offender registry. Please do not hesitate to contact an experienced sex crimes defense attorney as soon as possible after you’ve been investigated or arrested for a sex crime. In certain circumstances, early intervention by a lawyer may be hugely beneficial on the outcome of a case.Sex Offender Registry
In Massachusetts, if you are convicted of a sex crime, not only will you face some harsh punitive measures, but you will also be required to register as a sex offender with the Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB). In an effort to educate the public and prevent further victimization, SORB compiles a comprehensive list of all the sex offenders registered in Massachusetts and classifies them so that the information is readily available to the public. Pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 6, Section 178D, the Sex Offender Registry Board requires those convicted of a sex crime to provide their name, aliases, date and place of birth, sex, race, height, weight, hair color, social security number, home address, work address, photograph, fingerprints, description of the crime, and any other information deemed useful in assessing the risk of the sex offender to be submitted and available to the public.Length of Registration
The required length of registration for a sex offender ranges from 20 years to life, and is based on the type of sex offense rather than the actual classification. The Sex Offender Registry Law (SORL) requires an individual to register for 20 years if they are convicted of a single sex offense or if the offense was committed as a juvenile. If the offense involved a child, is a violent offense, or the offender has any prior convictions, they will be required to register for life. Persons whose only sex offense was committed as a juvenile may request relief from their duty to register; requests are not automatically granted and are viewed on a case specific basis.
Following the initial registration, a sex offender must verify their address once a year, notify the Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB) within 45 days upon becoming homeless, notify the SORB 10 days in advance of intent to change home, work, post-secondary school address, and notify the SORB 10 days in advance of intent to move outside Massachusetts. Registration with the SORB costs an initial fee of $75 and an additional $75 annual renewal fee. Failure to register with the Board, verify information, or provide adequate notice for a change of address is a criminal offense in Massachusetts set forth by Chapter 6, Section 178H of the General Laws, and carries a significant punishment for those who violate the law. To learn more about this offense, visit our page here.Levels Of Classification
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, sex offenders are categorized into three levels based on their dangerousness and their likeliness to re-offend. Classification is a two-step process. First, at the preliminary stage, the Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB) makes a recommendation about the duty to register and the sex offender classification based on factors such as previous criminal history, nature of the crime, degree of harm, characteristics of the victim, offenders in treatment programs, and other evidence. An offender is allowed to submit evidence on his or her own behalf, such as completion of a treatment program. However, it is highly recommended that an offender consult the advice of an experienced Massachusetts sex crimes attorney prior to submitting any documents to the court. Secondly, after the preliminary hearing, the Board will send their recommendation to you, if you accept their recommendation it becomes final, but if you reject their recommendation, you have a right to a hearing.
- Level One
Level One is the least extreme classification in Massachusetts. An individual designated as a Level One offender means that the Sex Offender Registry Board determines the risk of re-offense to be low and there is a minimal degree of dangerousness posed to the safety of the public. Level One offenders may submit their annual registrations by mail. Information on Level One offenders is not made available to the public, but will be accessible by the Department of Correction, any county correctional facility, Departments of Probation, Mental Heath, Social Services, Youth Services, the FBI and the Parole Board.
- Level Two
Those offenders designated as Level Two are those that with a moderate risk of re-offense and with a potential threat to the public safety. Therefore, a public interest is served by making their registration information available to the public. Level Two sex offenders must re-register each year in person at the local police station. Information on Level Two sex offender is accessible through the local police department and through the Sex Offender Registry Board. If you have been classified as a Level Two or Level Three sex offender, you are required to register at the local police station within 48 hours.
- Level Three
If the Sex Offender Registry Board determines that an individual’s risk of re-offense is high and there is substantial degree of dangerousness posed to the public, that individual shall be deemed a Level Three offender. Level Two sex offenders must re-register each year in person at the local police station. In order to protect the safety of the public, registration information for a Level Three offender is made available to the public through the local police department, and the Sex Offender Registry Board. In addition, police departments actively distribute this information to the community. If you have been classified as a Level Two or Level Three sex offender, you are required to register at the local police station within 48 hours.Development of The National Law
The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (P.L. 109-248) is a federal law that took effect in July 2006 in an effort to nationalize the sex offender registry and create a unified system of classification and registration. Among the changes implemented, this law divides sex offenders into three tiers and requires different registry periods for each tier. The law also imposes stricter penalties on sex offenders and requires those registered to update their whereabouts more often. In addition, the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act mandates that failing to register and update information will be a felonious crime. The law intended for states to adopt the act and implement the changes necessary before 2009, while curtailing funding for states that did not comply. As of July, 2011, the only jurisdictions deemed in substantial compliance with the Act are: Ohio, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, Delaware, Florida, South Dakota, Michigan, Nevada, Wyoming, Pennsylvania. As of 2012, Massachusetts remains in defiance of this law.Smart and Shrewd Massachusetts Sex Crimes Lawyer
If you’re facing a criminal charge for a sex crime, you will inevitably face many challenges. Although the U.S. Constitution asserts that an individual remains innocent until proven guilty, sexually related crimes often eclipse this notion and impose a bias against the alleged offender before the trial even begins. Being as it may, a Massachusetts attorney experienced in the complex area of sex crimes will be instrumental in maintaining and proving your innocence. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy has been successfully representing and defending clients in the greater Boston area for 18 years, and with his comprehensive knowledge of the law and sharp advocacy skills, Patrick J. Murphy, Esq. is the sensible choice for your legal representation. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy is available 24/7 to provide you with a free and confidential legal assessment of your case. For additional information, please call (617) 367-0450 or complete the contact form on our website.
Some common crimes characterized as sex crimes include the following:
- Assault with Intent to Commit Rape
- Failure to Register, Verify Information or Provide Notice of Change of Address
- Possession/Dissemination of Child Pornography and Posing/Exhibiting a Child
- Rape and Aggravated Rape
- Statutory Rape
- Forcible Rape of a Child Under Sixteen
- Prostitution, Pimping and Soliciting
- Sex Offender Registration Laws