The Consequences of a Sex Offender Registration in NM
The sex offender registration process and notification system was implemented to make the public aware of potential threats in their community. It is also intended to keep track of known sex offenders. While the general purpose is useful, the overall collateral consequences are not always as fair to offenders – especially those convicted of nonviolent acts or those wrongfully convicted.
Regardless, all states participate in registration, including New Mexico. Therefore, if you are facing a sex offense charge, you need to not only understand the seriousness of that conviction but the long-term consequences of a sex offender registration.
When Does an Albuquerque Defendant Register as a Sex Offender?
Pursuant to NN Statute Section 29-11A-4, anyone convicted of a sexual offense residing in the state of New Mexico must register with the county sheriff’s office where they live.
Also, you have ten days to register after being released from custody. Therefore, after you serve your sentence, you must register immediately.
By registering, you will provide the following information to the sheriff’s office:
- Your legal name (and aliases)
- Your date of birth
- Your current address
- Your social security number
- Your current place of employment, including contact information
- Your conviction
- The time and place where your offense took place and where you served your sentence
Even if you are a resident of another state but you are attending school or visiting for work, you must register with the county sheriff’s office. You also have no more than ten days to do so, or you will violate the statute.
What Is the Sex Offender Registry?
The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, known as SORNA, is a federal law that requires all states to maintain their registry system. Therefore, no state can opt out of this process. All 50 states, including Native American tribes, must comply. The Department of Justice (DOJ) monitors the state registries and requires states to report on their process.
The law was passed by Congress in 2006 and allows each state to define what types of crimes they consider sexual offenses are worthy of entry into the system. SORNA does have three required tiers. These are based off factors including age the of the victim, aggravating circumstances, and the time spent in jail.
These tiers are guides for each state on how long they must require an offender to register:
A Tier III offense is the most serious. Under the Act, a person will have served at least one year in prison and committed an aggravated sexual assault crime or a crime against a minor under the age of 13. The offense may also include kidnapping or a secondary crime after committing (and being convicted of) a Tier II crime previously.
If convicted of a Tier III crime, the federal government requires that states impose a lifetime registration. The offender must register for the rest of his or her life, regardless of where they live.
Tier II also carries a prison sentence of at least one year. However, these offenses typically involve crimes like sex trafficking, enticement, transporting, criminal sexual activity, or sexual activity with a minor under 13 years. Soliciting a minor also qualifies for a Tier II.
Under the federal law, a person will have a 25 year reporting requirement after incarceration. Therefore, you must report all employment and residence changes for 25 years.
Tier I crimes are any sexual crimes that do not fall under the requirements of the tiers mentioned above. While they are not as severe, they still carry a 10 year reporting period. Furthermore, you must maintain a clean record in that 10 year period. That means you cannot be convicted of any other crime or sexual offense. If you do not have a clean record, then the registration period increases to 15 years. If you were to commit a crime in the future that qualifies for a Tier II or III category, then the registration requirement would increase to that tier respectively.
The Consequences of Reporting
Unfortunately, even a decade of registrations as a sex offender will impact your life significantly. You may find that you are turned down for housing, cannot seek federal aid, or even get a job. Even if you do find housing, there are online databases that allow neighbors to look for sex offenders in their area and your information will be made public. Therefore, you will not be able to keep your conviction secret.
Friends and family may feel the consequences as well. They may have to deal with the social stigma and community outrage. Because of this, some defendants find it too burdensome to live with friends and family while they must report.
The Consequences of Not Reporting
While the consequences of reporting are severe, you must report your employment and residence changes. If you knowingly fail to report, you will be arrested and prosecuted. You could pay a fine and face up to 10 years in prison. If you fail to register and commit a sex crime after that, you will face up to 30 years in prison and a lifetime of reporting after that.
The Best Way to Avoid Registration – Hire an Attorney
Ultimately, the representation you have during your case will determine the outcome. Do not wait too long to get an attorney involved. Even a minor sexual offense can result in a 10 year registration requirement. No one wants to be labeled as a sex offender let alone deal with the social, employment, and housing pitfalls that come afterward.
Schedule a free case evaluation now with the team at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices today. We can help find the best possible solution to your criminal charges and defend you from the long-term consequences of a sex offender conviction and registration.
Call us now at 505-200-2982 or request more information online.