Contact : 617-657-4LAW

Failing to Register as a Sex Offender

In Massachusetts under M.G.L. chapter 6 section 178H all persons designated as sex offenders must register. Anyone who knowingly fails to register or knowingly fails to verify their information, including change of address, employment or even school is in violation. Providing false information is also a crime.

Who’s a sex offender?

If you were convicted of a sex offense, you are an offender.

If you’ve been adjudicated as a youthful offender for a sex offense or a delinquent juvenile you are considered an offender.

What if I didn’t go to jail?

You need not have been incarcerated:  Probation, and even supervision by the Department of Youth Services is viewed similarly, likewise, those who received no supervision but plead guilty, even those who received a plea of”guilty filed” must register as sex offenders.

What does the DA have to prove?

The Commonwealth must prove that you are the person they believe has the registration requirement and that you were on notice of this requirement and obligation.

 

How can they actually find me in violation of failing to register?

There are four areas where the State can find you in violation.

1. Initially failing to register

-A person must register by mail with the Sex Offender Registry Board

within 2 days of notice of parole or release, or if coming from out of state, within 2 days of arriving in Massachusetts. This applies to level 1 sex offenders.

-Level 2 and 3 sex offenders must register in person with the police department.

-If attending a Massachusetts school, whether public or private, or working in Massachusetts as an outof state resident, one must complete and submit a board approved form 10 days before                commencing work or school.

2. Failing to report a status change such as school, employment or new address.

This means that before moving in, out of, or around Massachusetts, before changing schools or work; 10 days notice must be given

Level 1 offenders must notify the board in writing

Level 2 and 3 offenders must go in person to the police station

3. Failing to follow up with annual registration information, or in the case of the homeless, failing to do so every 45 days. ***

***This was statutorily amended so that any offense committed on or after July 1, 2006 who reports as homeless or transient, must report every 45 days instead of the previous 90 day requirement. The amendment also provided that all registrants must provide secondary addresses or intended secondary addresses.

What is a secondary address?

A secondary address is any and all places where a sex offender lives or sleeps for 14 days or more in a year that is not their primary residence.

-or-  any place where an offender stays for 4 or more days in a month. That means if an offender visits an aunt or uncle for a long weekend they would have to list the residence as a secondary address.

If you’ve been accused of failing to register the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew that you had to register, not that you should have known, probably knew or likely knew. They need to prove that notice was given and information provided so that you could understand and attempt to abide by this complicated law.