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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 crimes defense attorney sex offender registrySex crimes are some of the most serious crimes you can be charged with in the United States. If you are convicted of certain sexual offenses, you could be required to register as a sex offender in the state where you reside. Sex offender registries are available for the public to access, meaning anyone can see your information on the registry website, including your address and the offense you were convicted of. This can make it hard for those who have been convicted of a sex crime to find a job or a place to live, which is why the state of Connecticut is currently considering changes to the state sex offender registry.

Major Changes to Registry

There are a couple of major changes to the Connecticut sex offender registry that have been proposed in SB 1113. If the bill becomes law, a new sex offender registry board would be created. The board would determine the length of time a person will remain in the registry by examining each person’s risk of re-offending based on information provided by probation and parole officials. The goal would be to make decisions based on the person’s risk, rather than the actual offense they allegedly committed.

The bill would also create two different sex offender registries -- one that is much like the current one and available to the public, and one that is only available to law enforcement. The public registry would contain information about high-risk offenders, while low-risk offenders would be placed in the private registry.

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sex offender, Hartford criminal defense attorneyWhen a person is convicted on charges of certain sex crimes, he or she may be required to register on the state’s sex offender registry for a period of time following any applicable prison term. Depending on the severity of the offense, registration may be required for 10 years or for the rest of the offender’s life. Because such a registry is considered by most people to be important in maintaining public safety, there is a common belief that every person on the list still poses a danger to his or her community.

Members of the Connecticut Sentencing Commission, however, say that a “one-size-fits-all approach to registration of sex offenders” is not always in the public’s best interest. In 2015, the Connecticut General Assembly directed a Commission subcommittee to consider a risk-based alternative to the current offense-based system.

The subcommittee announced a risk-based proposal in October that would require an in-depth evaluation of each individual convicted of a sex crime. Alex Tsarkov, the sentencing commission’s executive director, said, “We’re not trying to make life easier for offenders. We’re trying to focus on public safety.”

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sex offender, sex offender registry, Connecticut Criminal Defense AttorneyThe application and development of laws and public policies pertaining to sex offenders are often a “very politically charged and emotionally charged issue,” according to Andrew Clark, acting executive director of the Connecticut Sentencing Commission. The Commission, thanks to a recently passed legislative measure, has been tasked with conducting a full review of the state’s sex offender registry and its effectiveness in promoting public safety. In order to do so, the Sentencing Commission has created a task force co-chaired by Robert Farr, former chair of the state Board of Pardons and Paroles and longtime legislator, and Stephen Grant, executive director court support services for the Connecticut Judicial Branch.

The State of the Sex Offender Registry

Connecticut’s sex offender registry was created by law in 1999 and now consists of more than 6,000 names in an online database. While it was designed to help alert the public about potentially dangerous sex criminals, critics maintain that the lack of organization and the use of unnecessarily complex language makes the list all but impossible for most citizens to utilize easily.

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