The DC Sex Offender Registry

What is the sex offender registry?

The sex offender registry is a database that individuals who have been convicted of a sex offense, whether it was in DC or another jurisdiction, are put into if they reside, work, or go to school in the District of Columbia. Their personal information, meaning their name, date of birth, address, and the specific details about their offense, will be placed in this database called the sex offender registry and disseminated to the public. People can access the database online or they can go to the police department and obtain a hard copy of the information. There are also other agencies that keep that information in order to protect the public by providing them with information about who in our community has been convicted of a sex offense. If someone is placed on the sex offender registry, there are dramatic consequences to their personal life. They can expect to have a very chilly reception from anyone who finds out that they are on the registry or anyone that they are required to inform. The average person in our community does not want to live, work, or go to school near someone who has been convicted of a sex offense and most people would not necessarily look into the specific allegations. People tend to assume the worst of someone for just being on the sex offender registry and they will believe that anyone on the registry is some form of sexual predator and react accordingly. Every jurisdiction has some form of sex offender registry, so if someone who is on the sex offender registry in the District of Columbia wants to move to another jurisdiction, whether it be Maryland, Virginia, or California, it is incumbent upon that person to check what the registration requirements are for that state and then follow those requirements. Once someone is on the registry, there are a lot of requirements that they have to fulfill; they can be charged with a crime for failing to do so.

How long does an individual need to stay on the sex offender registry?

In the District of Columbia, the most serious offenders, meaning people who have been convicted of a higher level felony sexual abuse, would have to register for life. Examples would be first or second degree sexual abuse, first degree child sexual abuse committed against a person under the age of 12 years old, or an attempt or conspiracy to commit one of those offenses. Anyone who is convicted of one of those offenses, whether they were convicted in DC or outside of DC, if they live, work, or go to school in DC, they will have to register in DC forever. For other felony sexual abuse offenses, the registration period is 10 years in the District of Columbia. Those time frames can differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but those are the two time frames in the District of Columbia.