Many people believe that Michigan’s sex offender registry laws are far too broad. In fact, Michigan has the fourth largest per capita number of people on its registry.
Sex offender registry laws in Michigan apply to a variety of crimes ranging from brutal assault to sexual contact between teenagers and certain kidnapping charges that do not involve any form of sexual contact. In addition to being listed on the registry, offenders must also appear in person to update information whenever they purchase a new vehicle or acquire a new email or messaging account.
Under current state laws, convicted sex offenders in Michigan are not allowed to live, work or loiter within 1000 feet of a school. These laws have long been argued as being ineffective and going far beyond simply protecting the public.
Removing Your Name From Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry
Fortunately, it is possible to have your name removed from Michigan’s sex offender registry. The Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA), Public Act of 2011, has made it possible for certain sex offenders in Michigan to petition to have their name removed from the registry after a period of ten years. Individuals that qualify for removal include those that meet the “Romeo and Juliet” exception as well as juvenile offenders that were convicted when they were less than 14 years of age if the conviction occurred before July 1st, 2011.
The SORA Tier System
SORA laws separate sex offenders into three tiers. Each tier determines the type of registration required as well as an individual’s eligibility for removal from the registry.
Tier I offenses are the least serious. Tier I offenders must register on a non-public list for 15 years with the opportunity to petition for removal after 10. Non-public sex offender registries are only available to law enforcement officials. Tier II offenders must register on the public sex offender registry for 25 years, while Tier III offenders are required to register on the public registry for life. The public sex offender registry lists the names and addresses of sex offenders, and is available to anyone searching a specific geographic region.
Not everyone is available for a removal or reduction in the time required to register. The following are the four ways in which an individual can petition the courts for a removal or reduction.
1. Removal in “Romeo and Juliet” consensual cases
2. Reduction in length of registration for Tier I and Tier III offenses
3. Removal of juvenile adjudications
4. Removal for individuals convicted of crimes no longer listed as offenses
Statutory Rape “Romeo and Juliet” Cases
The legal age for consent in Michigan is 16 years old. If one or both parties are under 16 when they participate in a sexual act, the older party can be convicted as a sex offender even if the sex was consensual. The new SORA laws allow convicted sex offenders to petition to be removed from the registry for life as long as the “victim” consented to the sex act and was no younger than 13 years old, and the “offender” was no more than 4 years older than the “victim”.
Tier III Reductions
Tier III offenders who were minors at the time of their offense might be able to petition for a removal from the registry 25 years after the date of conviction. In order to be eligible for a removal or reduction of time on the registry, the individual must prove that they are no longer a threat to the general public. It’s important to note that adult offenders and Tier II offenders are not eligible for removal or reduction.
The petition and hearing process is extremely complex, and you only get one chance to clear your name. It’s important to have an experienced lawyer on your side. The attorneys at Nessel and Kessel Law have many years of experience dealing with sex crimes. Please contact us to learn how we can help.