Being convicted of a sex crime often leads to lengthy prison sentences, but it always leads to compulsory sex offender registration. For many people, the stigma of being labeled a sex offender and the restrictions registration brings are the most difficult part of the sentence.
Numerous federal laws have been enacted that require states to keep a listing of sex offenders and to require those convicted of certain sex crimes to register regularly with local law enforcement. The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), the Jacob Wetterling Act, and Megan's Law are the keystone acts of federal legislation requiring sex offender registration and notification.
Oklahoma complies with federal sex offender registration requirements through the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registration Act, which details the requirements and restrictions of convicted sex offenders.
Sex offender registration is intended to keep tabs on violent and habitual sex offenders. However, although failure to register is a serious felony, many convicted sex offenders prefer to fly under the radar, risking a subsequent arrest and conviction for failure to register rather than face life with the restrictions and shame associated with a sex offender brand.
If you have been convicted of a sex crime, you likely have many questions about your registration status and how to comply. You may not understand all of the exclusions and restrictions associated with your conviction, but your attorney can help. Furthermore, Oklahoma's sex offender registration laws are continually changing, often becoming more and more restrictive. Recent Supreme Court rulings, on the other hand, have found the unconstitutionality of several aspects of sex offender laws in Oklahoma, and a lawyer with the Law Firm of Oklahoma can help you understand what implications these changes may have for you.
The Oklahoma legislature understands that not every sex offense is equally egregious. For this reason, and to help the public determine which offenders pose the greatest risk to safety and well-being, the state developed a risk level assessment for sex offenders.
Unfortunately, this offense-based system provides no real indication of the seriousness of an offense. While it makes sense that violent or habitual offenses would be among the high-risk offenses, the crime of statutory rape - consensual sex with someone who is legally unable to provide that consent - is classified along with predatory crimes.
The following offense-based risk levels determine how long and how frequently a convicted sex offender must register:
As a Level 1 offender, a person must register with authorities yearly for 15 years; a Level 2 offender must register every six months for 25 years; and a Level 3 offender must register every 90 days for life.
If you are required to register as an Oklahoma Sex Offender, you will be subject to numerous restrictions. Everyday activities which you once took for granted will now be forbidden. Limitations include residency restrictions which make an estimated 84 percent of Oklahoma City off-limits for housing.
Convicted sex offenders cannot:
Convicted sex offenders must:
Additional limitations may include GPS ankle monitoring, "Sex Offender" stamped across the driver's license, and loss of certain professional licenses.
With the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registration Act continually revised, and with the Supreme Court affirming the unconstitutionality of certain aspects of the Act, it can be confusing to comply with a constantly changing law. If you have questions about sex offender registration or the constitutionality of your registration requirement, call (405) 608-4990 to speak with an attorney about your case.