New York Sex Offender Registration Act
The New York State Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) was enacted in 1995. It requires certain individuals convicted of certain crimes to register as sex offenders. The purpose of the law is to help protect the public by providing information about individuals who have been convicted of sex crimes and who may pose a risk to the community. If you have been convicted of a crime that is subject to SORA registration (a registrable offense) or if you have been charged with a registrable offense, it is important to consult with experienced New York sex crime lawyer who can help you understand the legal requirements and obligations associated with registration.New York Sex Offender Registration Act
Under SORA, individuals who have been convicted of designated sex crimes are required to register with the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). These crimes include but are not limited to rape, sexual abuse, and child pornography. Individuals who are required to register must provide their name, address, and a description of the crime for which they were convicted. The information is then entered into the state's sex offender registry, which can be accessed by the public through the DCJS website.
SORA requires registered sex offenders to keep their information up-to-date, including any changes to their address, and to provide notification of such changes to the DCJS. This helps to ensure that the information in the registry is accurate and up-to-date. As an experienced New York sex crime lawyers can explain, failure to comply with SORA requirements, such as failing to register or update information, can result in criminal charges and possible imprisonment.
In addition to the registration requirements, SORA also imposes other restrictions and obligations on registered sex offenders. For example, certain sex offenders may be subject to community notification, which means that local law enforcement may inform the public of their presence in the community. Sex offenders may also be prohibited from living or working in certain areas, such as near schools or parks.
SORA also provides a process for individuals to request a risk assessment to determine their risk level. The risk level is based on factors such as the nature of the offense, the offender's criminal history, and other relevant information. The risk level determines the level of public notification, as well as the restrictions and obligations placed on the sex offender.
It is important to note that not all individuals who have been convicted of sex crimes are required to register under SORA. The registration requirements only apply to individuals who have been convicted of certain designated crimes and only apply to those crimes that have been committed after the effective date of the act. In addition, SORA does not apply to individuals who were convicted before the act was enacted or to those who have been pardoned or had their convictions overturned.Crimes Subject to SORA
There are about 40 crimes, mostly sex crimes, that are registrable offenses. If convicted of any of these offenses, the defendant will be required to registered as a sex offender. Examples of registrable offenses include:
- Rape in the first degree (Penal Law § 130.35)
- Criminal sexual act in the first degree (Penal Law § 130.50)
- Predatory sexual assault against a child (Penal Law § 130.96)
- Sexual abuse in the first degree (Penal Law § 130.65)
- Course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree (Penal Law § 130.75)
- Aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree (Penal Law § 130.70)
- Sexual conduct against a child in the second degree (Penal Law § 130.60)
- Sexual abuse in the second degree (Penal Law § 130.60)
- Forcible touching (Penal Law § 130.52)
- Incest (Penal Law § 255.26)
A experienced sex crimes attorney in New York can let you know if a conviction of the crime that you are charged with is a registrable offense.Notable New York SORA Cases
- People v. Allen, 182 N.Y.S.3d 112 (N.Y. App. Div. 2023)– The defendant challenged the constitutionality of the provision of the Sex Offender Registration Act that requires reporting of change of address. Correction Law § 168-f(3). Defendant's registration requirement was based on his conviction for first degree sexual abuse arising from his sexual contact with a minor less than 11 years old. He was adjudicated a risk level three sex offender. The defendant argued that he did his best to comply with the SORA requirements, but was unable to comply with the address requirement because he was homeless. The court sided with the plaintiff, finding the change of address registration requirement of Correction Law § 168–f(3) to be too vague to be enforced against defendant here and is, therefore, unconstitutional under the due process clauses of the New York and United States Constitutions.
- People v. Cassano, 34 AD3d 239 (N.Y. App. Div. 2006). The defendant challenged the applicability of SORA to crimes that did not have sex as a component. According to Correction Law § 168, certain abduction-related crimes committed against children by persons other than their parents are deemed registrable offenses. The defendant argued that that SORA was unconstitutional as it applied to him because these was not a sex component to what he was charged with. The court disagreed, stating that the defendant has a history of sex crimes and that his kidnapping of a child was committed under circumstances that did not negate a possible sexual motive.
If you have been convicted of a crime that is subject to SORA registration, it is recommended that you consult with an experienced sex crimes attorney serving New York who can help you understand your legal obligations under SORA, as well as any potential legal defenses or avenues for challenge. Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County, Westchester County, and Suffolk County.