Sex Offender Registery Removal

Recently the Michigan Legislature took a major step forward and enacted an amendment to the Michigan Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA).  This amendment now makes it possible for certain sexual offenders to be removed from the sex offender registry list. The amendment went into effect on July 1, 2011 and is a valuable tool in helping those convicted of certain sex crimes.  Some of those who may be eligible for removal from SORA are those who meet the “Romeo and Juliet” exception, and juvenile offenders who were convicted before July 1, 2011 and were below the age of 14 when convicted.

Michigan Sex Offender Registry Act – The Tier System

The new SORA laws separate sexual assaults and sex offenses into three different tiers: Tier I, II, and III.  Tier I are the less serious crimes and Tier III are the most serious crimes.  Tier in which you conviction places you dictates what type of registration you face as well as the opportunities for removal from the sex offender registry.

Tier I

If you are convicted if a Tier I offense, you must register on the non-public list for 15 years with an opportunity to petition for removal after 10 years.   The non-public sex offender registry is only available to law enforcement officials.  Registrants must verify their residence one time a year, between January 1st to 15th.  If you have been convicted of any of the offenses below (including attempt or conspiracy) you are included in Tier I:

  • Knowingly possessing child sexually abusive material;
  • Indecent exposure with fondling of self, if the complaining witness (victim) is a minor;
  • Unlawful imprisonment/restraint if the victim is a minor;
  • Criminal Sexual Conduct – 4th Degree, IF the victim is 18 or older;
  • Assault with the intent to attempt to sexually assault IF the victim is 18 or older;
  • Surveillance of or distribution, dissemination, or transmission of recording, photograph, or visual image of individual having reasonable expectation of privacy, IF the victim is a minor.

Tier II

If convicted of a Tier II offense, you are required to register on the public Sex Offender Registry for 25 years.  This means that your name and address will be available to anyone searching for you or searching in your geographic location.  Registration under Tier II requires that you verify your residence twice a year; between January 1st and 15th and between July 1st and 15th.   If you have previously been convicted of a Tier I offense and are now being convicted of another Tier I offense, you must register as thought convicted of a Tier II offense.  The Tier II offenses are as follows:

  • Accosting, enticing, or soliciting a child less than 16 years of age, with the intent to induce or force that child or individual to commit an immoral act;
  • Accosting, enticing, or soliciting a child less than 16 years of age, with the intent to induce or force that child or individual to commit an immoral act – with a prior conviction;
  • A person who persuades, induces, entices, coerces, causes, or knowingly allows a child to engage in a child sexually abusive activity for the purpose of producing any child sexually abusive material;
  • A person who distributes or promotes, or finances the distribution or promotion of, or receives for the purpose of distributing or promoting, or conspires, attempts, or prepares to distribute, receive, finance, or promote any child sexually abusive material;
  • Use of the internet to solicit or commit an immoral act except for a violation arising out of a violation of 750.157c (coercing a minor to commit a felony);
  • Sodomy against a minor; unless either of the following applies: (A) victim consented, was 13 up to the age of 16 and no more than 4 years age difference OR (B) victim consented, was 17 or older and was not under custodial authority of the individual;
  • Gross indecency where the complaining witness (victim) is 13 up to the age of 18, unless either of the following applies: (A) victim consented, victim 13 up to the age of 16, not more than 4 years age difference, OR  (B) victim  consent, victim 16 or 17 and victim was not under custodial authority of the individual.
  • Soliciting to commit prostitution if the victim is a minor;
  • Pandering – enticing female to become a prostitute;
  • Criminal Sexual Conduct – 2nd Degree, IF the complaining witness (victim) is 18 or older;
  • Criminal Sexual COnduct – 2nd Degree IF the complaining witness (victim) is between 13 and 18 years old;
  • Criminal Sexual Conduct – 4th Degree IF the complaining witness (victim) is between 13 and 18 years old;
  • Assault with the intent to commit (touch) if victim is between 13 and 18 years old.

Tier III

If you are convicted of a Tier III offense, you are required to register on the public sex offender registry for the rest of your life.  That means that you and your information will be available to anyone searching for you or searching in your geographic area.  Registration includes verifying your residence four times a year, between January 1st to 15th, April 1st to 15th, July 1st to 15th and October 1st to 15th.  The following are Tier III offenses:

  • Gross indecency between males where the complaining witness (victim) is under 13;
  • Gross indecency between females where the complaining witnesses (victim) us under 13;
  • Gross indecency between male and female where the complaining witness (victim) is under 13;
  • Kidnapping committed against a minor;
  • Kidnapping where the complaining witness (victim) is under 14;
  • Criminal Sexual Conduct – 1st Degree.  DOES NOT APPLY WHERE a court determines victim consented, where the complaining witnesses (victim) is between 13 and 16 years old AND there is an age difference between the defendant and the victim of less than 4 years;
  • Criminal Sexual Conduct – 2nd Degree where the complaining witnesses (victim) is under the age of 13;
  • Criminal Sexual Conduct – 3rd Degree, DOES NOT APPLY WHERE a court determines victim consented and where the complaining witness (victim) is between 13 and 16 years old AND there is an age difference between the defendant and the victim of less than 4 years;
  • Criminal Sexual Conduct – 4th Degree where defendant is older than 17 and the complaining witnesses (victim) is under 13 years old;
  • Assault with the intent to commit penetration, DOES NOT APPLY WHERE a court determines victim consented and the complainging witness (victim) is between the ages of 13 and 16 AND there is an age difference between the defendant and the victim of less than 4 years;
  • Assault with the intent to commit a touch (sexual assault) where the complaining witness (victim) is under the age of 13.

Are you eligible for removal or reduction?

There are 4 different ways to petition a court for removal from the registry or a reduction in the time that you are required to register.
1) Removal in consensual cases (Romeo and Juliet)
2) Reduction in length of registration for Tier I and III offenses
3) Removal of some juvenile adjudications
4) Removal for individuals convicted of offenses no longer considered listed offenses

“Romeo and Juliet” – Statutory Rape

Statutory rape occurs when one or both parties involved in a sex act are under the legal age of consent in Michigan, which is 16-years-of-age. Michigan law states that a person under the age of 16 years is legally incompetent and cannot consent to sex. Because of this, if an older male teenager has sex with a girl below the age of 16 and the girl’s parents press charges, he can be convicted as a sex offender. It does not matter if the girl said “yes”, Michigan law states any sex act with a girl below the age of 16 in Michigan is illegal. The new amendment now makes it possible for minors convicted of statutory rape to be removed from the SORA list. This is a major breakthrough as it will allow convicted sex offenders – who were otherwise innocent adolescents consenting to sex – to be completely removed from list for life. The sex offender must appeal to the court for removal and they must qualify for a hearing by meeting these requirements:

  • The “victim” consented to the sex act, and
  • The “victim” was no younger than 13 years old, and
  • The “offender” was no more than 4 years older than the “victim”.

If the above qualifications for the petition are met, the defendant may be granted a hearing in which s/he can attend. Keep in mind that just because a hearing is scheduled, this does not grant automatic removal from the list.

Reduction of Time for Tier I and III Offenses

Tier I offenders can petition for removal from the registry after 10 years from the date of conviction IF they can prove certain things to the court.  See below.  Tier III offenders who were juveniles at the time of their offense can also petition for removal from the registry after 25 years from the date of conviction if they can prove certain things to the court.  See below.  Adult defendants have no relief.  Unfortunately there is no relief for those convicted of Tier II offenses.

The court must make a determination of whether or not an individual remains a threat to the public.  The factors to be considered are:

  • The individual’s age and level of maturity at the time of the offense;
  • The victim’s age and level of maturity at the time of the offense;
  • The nature of the offense;
  • The severity of the offense;
  • The individual’s prior juvenile or criminal history;
  • The individual’s likelihood to commit further listed offenses;
  • Any impact statement submitted by the victim;
  • Any other information considered relevant by the court – this should include letters of support by family, friends and others in the community who know the petitioner.

Expert Sex Crime Lawyers at Nessel Defense Law

It’s important to know that you only get one shot at clearing your name, and the process of sex offender removal is incredibly complex. Both petitioning for removal and going through the hearing process involve extensive paperwork and other technicalities often present problems preventing defendants from being removed from the list. If your hearing does not go well and your name is not removed from the SORA, you will remain on the registry for the full term dictated by law. Don’t go through this process alone! You need the experienced and skilled sex crime attorneys at Nessel and Kessel Law to make the most of your one opportunity at clearing your name for good.