State and federal law require that anyone convicted of a sex offender must register as a sex offender with local law enforcement, and a list of all registered sex offenders is available through both state and national sex offender registries. Because of high-profile violent sex crimes, it is believed that all convicted sex offenders are dangerous predators. Legislators and activists assert that it is in the best interest of the public to know where these sex offenders lurk.
Unfortunately, the fact is that a sex offender registry does little to prevent the most violent high-risk offenders from striking again. Instead, it penalizes and vilifies people who may be guilty of little more than a lapse in judgment. Offense-based risk level assessments penalize people convicted of statutory rape to the same degree as a violent rapist who preys on children.
Restrictions on convicted sex offenders can make it difficult to find an acceptable place to live. Finding employment is challenging with many jobs and certain professional licensing prohibited. Perhaps the most challenging aspect of sex offender registration is the stigma which follows the person for 15 years, 25 years, or life.
In Oklahoma, if you are convicted of a Level 3 sex offense as an aggravated or habitual offender, you will have SEX OFFENDER emblazoned on your driver's license. This means that every time a sales clerk asks for your license to accept a check or credit card, every time you attempt to buy cigarettes or alcohol, every time you try to enter a nightclub or bar, every time you are pulled over in a traffic stop, the person checking your ID with judge you as a sex offender or pedophile, even if your offense did not involve children.
If you have been convicted of a sex crime, your lawyer can help you understand and comply with your sex offender registration requirements. He can also help fight against wrongful placement on the list or a violation of your constitutional rights as sex offender registration requirements continually evolve.
The restrictions the Oklahoma legislature places on those convicted of sex crimes are severe. They limit your options for housing, recreation, employment, and attending worship services. They place an undue burden on families with children, preventing a parent convicted of a sex offense—even if the crime did not involve a child—from taking his or her own children to school or attending school events. You cannot take your children or grandchildren to the park, and you cannot attend their sporting events.
Other sex offender restrictions include:
If a convicted sex offender fails to register every year, 6 months, or 90 days as required by the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registration Act, he or she faces a separate and additional felony conviction for failure to register.
Sex offender registration and notification is required by state and federal legislation. Notable sex offender registration acts include:
A national sex offender registry is available on the United States Department of Justice's Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website, and the FBI website provides links to each state's sex offender registry.
State and federal law require a 3-tier assessment of a convicted sex offender's likelihood of re-offending. These determinations are made despite the evidence that recidivism rates for convicted sex offenders are surprisingly low.
In Oklahoma, the level assessment is based strictly upon the offense, giving no consideration any other mitigating factors or characteristics of the person convicted.
The distinction between the severity of each offense seems arbitrary at best. These assessments seem bent on penalizing the convicted person rather than protecting the general citizenry.
For help with sex offender registration and any unconstitutional infringement on your rights, contact a lawyer with expertise to provide quality legal representation.