The Penalties of Failure to Register as a Sex Offender in North Carolina

Being convicted of a sex offense can carry jail time and heavy fines. A conviction can also result in a permanent criminal record. Additionally, defendants who are convicted of certain types of sex offenses are required to register as sex offenders under North Carolina General Statute 14-208.11(a).

What Constitutes Failure to Register as a Sex Offender?

Failure to register as a sex offender is a crime in itself and happens when a person is a sex offender required to register and willfully fails to register. When a person fails to comply with any aspect of the relevant statute or includes false or misleading information, they may be facing an additional felony charge. Failure to register as a sex offender is a separate, new charge that can result in other penalties, including jail time.

A person can also be charged with this crime for failure to notify the last registering Sheriff of a change of address or to return a verification notice as required under the law. Individuals can be charged for foraging or submitting under false pretenses information related to the sex offender registration process or forging the verification notices that are required.

Failure to inform the registering Sheriff of enrollment, termination of enrollment as a student, or unemployment at an institution of higher education can also result in a charge. Failure to report in person to the Sheriff's office is also a crime. Finally, failure to notify the registering Sheriff of out-of-county employment or any new changes to existing online identities is also considered a crime in North Carolina.

The Penalties for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender in North Carolina

Many people do not realize how serious the crime of failure to register as a sex offender is in North Carolina. This crime is considered a class felony and carries a maximum punishment under the law of 62 months of incarceration.

How Long Will I Have to Register as a Sex Offender in North Carolina?

The answer to this question depends on the specific type of crime of which you have been convicted. The minimum registration period is 30 years, but the required registration time can be a lifetime, depending on the sex offense. Those convicted of an aggravated crime, a repeat offense, or those who have been determined to be sexually violent predators will be subjected to the following:

  • Lifetime registration as a sex offender
  • Verification of residence every 90 days
  • Ineligibility to petition for a shorter registration period unless their sentence is reversed or they receive a pardon from the governor

For all other reportable convictions, defendants are subjected to Sex Offender Registration of at least 30 years from the initial date of county registration. After being registered as a sex offender for ten years, the individual may petition the Superior Court to terminate their registration.

Sex Offender Residency Restrictions

Registered sex offenders must abide by limitations regarding where they can live and work. A person convicted of specific sex offenses must notify the appropriate state authorities when they are located. Sex offenders may not knowingly reside within 1,000 feet of a childcare center or school. There are some exceptions. For example, If the child center is located on or within 1,000 feet of the property of an institution of higher education where the sex offender has been employed or as a student, they can live on campus. An offender's residence may not be used as a place to care for a child, such as in at-home daycare.

Interested in Learning About Removal From the Sex Offender Registry? We Can Help

As you can see, registering as a sex offender requires complete compliance. If a person makes a mistake or misses the deadline to register or re-register, they can face additional severe felony charges in jail time. Suppose you or your loved one is legally required to register as a sex offender. In that case, the impact can be devastating because of the many limitations and restrictions placed upon convicted sex offenders.

It is possible to petition the court for removal from the sex offender registry in some cases. However, the process can be complicated, and it is crucial that you hire an experienced attorney who can help you obtain the best likelihood of successfully petitioning the court. Do not hesitate to contact the criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about your options.