Nobody wants to have their name registered in a state sex offender database. The best way to get off the registry is to never get on it in the first place, but once you’re on it, it’s a real struggle to have your name removed. Maryland, like most states, has gotten tougher on those accused and convicted of sex crimes.
So, let’s walk through the process a bit.
The basics of the registry
The Maryland Sex Registry database classifies sex offenders as follows:
- Out of State
The length of time someone is place in the sex registry depends on the nature of the offense:
- Up to 15 years. This tier one category includes the crimes of peeping, sex trafficking, possessing child pornography, and fourth-degree sex offenses.
- Up to 25 years. This tier two category is for crimes involving distribution of child porn and third-degree sex offenses.
- For a lifetime. This tier three category is for crimes of rape, assault with intent to rape, incest, murder with intent to rape, and sale of a minor.
If you are convicted of a sex crime and forced to register, call me. I can explain exactly when you must register, where you need to register, and how. I’ll explain the likely jail sentences and fines for failing to register, too.
Registration information generally requires providing:
- Your name and address
- Your age
- A photo of yourself
- The addresses of any schools you attend
- The addresses of where you work
- The crimes you committed
- Your vehicle information
- Any aliases or other names you’re known by
The three ways of being removed from Maryland’s offender list
The first thing to know is, you need to speak with a lawyer if you hope to have any chance to get off the list. There’s no simple form to file. The prosecution isn’t going to change its mind. There’s no magic fairy dust. This is serious stuff, and you need legal help.
Next, understand that there are three ways to be removed from the list, but even then, there’s really one way.
- Obtaining a pardon. The main way for being approved for removal is to get an official pardon from the Governor of Maryland, for the sex crime that landed you on the registry. (I’ll get into this a bit more below.)
- Expungement for sex crimes is generally not allowed – unless you receive a pardon or if your conviction is overturned. If your criminal record is expunged, the reporting requirements for those crimes are then removed. Thus, you have to have the pardon in order to get the expungement.
- You can be removed from Maryland’s registry if you move – but the state will just send the records over to wherever you relocate. It’s technically true that you’re removed from this list, but it’s still on your record.
The thing about getting a pardon
Look – getting a pardon is incredibly difficult. If you’re facing charges brought up by the state, you’ll need a pardon from the Governor. If you’re convicted of federal charges, you need a pardon from the President. (Good luck getting either one of these guys to hear your story, either.)
Furthermore, sex crimes are considered crimes of violence. That means you’re not even eligible for one until you’re out of prison and crime-free for 20 years. (Sometimes they hear cases at 15.)
However: all hope is not lost if you’re still incarcerated. If you appeal and you win, you should be able to have your record overturned. It’s still a long process, but that’s what I’m here for, right?
If you’re on the offender list, I will review your removal claim and advise you of your rights. If there are grounds for removal, I will steer you through the legal process. To learn whether you have any chance of removal from the sex registry database please call – Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law – at 410.777.8103. I have been a criminal defense advocate for two decades. Please call or use my contact form to set up an appointment at my Annapolis office.
Just remember: Keep Calm – and Call Drew.