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Connecticut criminal defense attorney for sex crimesIn 1994, the U.S. Congress passed the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, which required all states to establish and implement some sort of sex offender registration program. Since then, many amendments and additions have been made to laws pertaining to sex offender registration, including the creation of a national online sex-offender registry that is accessible to the general public. While this has been touted as a way to increase public safety, sex offender registries can have severe consequences on the lives of those who are required to register.

When Is a Person Required to Register as a Sex Offender in Connecticut?

Each state is allowed to use its own discretion when it comes to the sex offender registry, and states can choose which offenses require offenders to register if they are found guilty. The state of Connecticut has certain requirements for those who must be included on the sex offender registry and how long they must register. In Connecticut, you are required to register as a sex offender in the following cases:

  • You have been convicted of a sexual act or crime against a minor. Registration lasts for at least 10 years, though subsequent convictions require registration for life.
  • You were convicted of a non-violent sexual offense. In these cases, registration also lasts for 10 years and typically requires lifetime registration for subsequent offenses.
  • You were convicted of a sexually-violent crime. Lifetime registration as a sex offender is non-negotiable in these cases.
  • A court finds that a felony was committed for a sexual purpose. In these cases, a person will be required to register as a sex offender for 10 years.
  • You were convicted of risk of injury to a minor involving contact with the intimate parts of a child under the age of 16. In these cases, the court will have discretion as to whether to require sex offender registration.

Effects of Sex Offender Registration

Being convicted of a sex crime and required to register as a sex offender can mean your life will be forever changed. When you register as a sex offender, your personal information, including your name, age, address, and the nature of your conviction(s), are all available to be viewed by the general public. This means that your friends and family can see this information, as well as your neighbors, employers, or anyone else who goes looking. Registration as a sex offender can also result in the following consequences:

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Hartford sex crime defense attorney

In the wake of the viral “Me Too” movement that swept across social media in recent years, many state and local jurisdictions have taken a second look at their current sexual assault laws to determine whether changes should be made. Connecticut is the latest state to pass legislation concerning sexual misconduct laws. The Connecticut legislature recently voted to pass a bill that would make a number of changes to state law, including extending the statute of limitations for prosecuting sexual assault charges.

Disagreement Among House Members

Though the bill passed unanimously in the Senate, the vote in the House was not as one-sided. The bill passed by a vote of 121-23, with those 23 naysayers expressing worries about the changes to the law. One member suggested that a person’s memories are not always accurate as time goes on, and a longer statute of limitations could mean that a person may be accused of sex crimes based on untrustworthy testimony. Another member was concerned with the bill’s possible interference with the constitutional right to a fair and speedy trial. Proponents of the bill have stated that lengthening the statute of limitations helps the victims but does not detract from the rights of the accused, because the burden of proof will remain the same.

Current Laws on Statute of Limitations

Under Connecticut’s current laws, the statute of limitations in cases concerning sexual misconduct vary depending on a couple of different factors. Class A felonies have no statute of limitations -- they can be prosecuted at any time. These crimes include first degree sexual assault when force or the threat of force is used and the victim is under the age of 16, first degree sexual assault when the victim is under the age of 13 and the perpetrator is more than two years older than the victim, first degree aggravated sexual assault when a victim is under the age of 16, and aggravated sexual assault of a minor. Sexual assault or abuse cases that are not Class A felonies typically have a five-year statute of limitations, while misdemeanor cases typically have a one-year statute of limitations.

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