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Michigan’s new sex offender registration laws can be confusing

On Behalf of | Oct 29, 2021 | Sexual assault |

If you were convicted of a sex offense and you’re on the state’s sex offender registry, you should have received a notice back in March (or shortly after) that explains the way the new rules work.

Confused? You’re probably not the only one. In fact, the Michigan State Police admit that the new rules are causing confusion among both registrants and the police.

What are the key changes?

The old rules have been overhauled thanks to a ruling in 2016 by the Michigan Supreme Court that they made the registry unconstitutional. It’s simply taken that long to fully overhaul the entire system. The main aspects of the changes are as follows:

  • Offenders are no longer barred from living within 1,000 feet of a school, which makes it much easier for registrants to find housing.
  • The “loitering” element that could put a registrant in violation of the law was eliminated.
  • Homeless registrants are no longer required to have a valid driver’s license to avoid violations.
  • If you were convicted of a violation prior to July 1, 2011, you do not have to provide your email address or social media names to the authorities.
  • If you were a youthful offender who completed probation as part of a deferred adjudication program, you may not have to register at all.
  • If your record was expunged by the state, you may have your name removed from the registry.

What if you’re not sure if you’re in compliance? What if you missed the letter? What if you’re sure you’ve forgotten to update your information since your recent move?

Mistakes happen, but you don’t want to end up in jail over a simple error. If you’re unsure of what you need to do now, it may be time to explore your legal options — before you end up in an unpleasant encounter with the police.