If you are convicted of a sex crime and forced to register on the New York state database of sex offenders, you may think the best solution is to simply move to another state.

Except that won’t solve your problems. Under Megan’s Law (the code that permits states to keep a registry in the first place), anyone who is subject to registration is required to register (or re-register) in their state of residence. If you try to skip that step, you may fly under the radar for a while, but the authorities will catch up. At that point, you could be re-imprisoned, fined or hit with new restrictions.

In New York, anyone subject to Megan’s Law who moves into the state must register with the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) within 10 days of establishing residency. At that point, your case will be reviewed to determine how New York’s laws apply and whether you’re required to register. If the Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders decides that you do need to register, you’ll be required to attend a court hearing to fix your “risk” level — and thereby set the restrictions that you’re under.

It’s similar in most other states. Given the varied way that state laws treat sex offenses, moving may mean trading a bad situation for a worse one.

The reality is that sex offenses are treated incredibly harshly in this country — even when it’s unfair. If you’re charged with a sex offense and you’re concerned about your future, the smart thing to do is to hire an aggressive defense that will work to protect your rights.