Failure to Register
Like most states Maryland has a fairly complex set of rules regarding the sex offender registry, and failure to abide by these rules could lead to prosecution. There are more than 20 different sex crimes under state law and any defendant that is convicted of one of these offenses will likely be required to register. For purposes of the registry these crimes are divided in to three tiers. The three tier system determines how long a person must register for, and how often he or she must check in with local law enforcement. Tier 1 offenders include those convicted of crimes such as fourth degree sex offense and possession of child pornography. Tier 1 status lasts for 15 years and requires registration in person every six months. Tier 2 status lasts for 25 years and includes crimes such as human trafficking, distribution of child pornography and third degree sex offense. This tier also requires updating information in person with local law enforcement every six months. Tier 3 lasts for life and includes crimes such as kidnapping, sexual abuse of a minor and rape, with the additional requirement of registration every 3 months in person. Violation of these requirements could trigger new criminal charges under section 11-721 of the criminal procedure code. For a first offense failure to register is a misdemeanor that carries a possible three-year jail sentence. A second or subsequent offender of this law could face a felony conviction and a possible five-year sentence.
The crime of failing to register as a sex offender includes providing false information or not providing complete information in a timely matter, which is a requirement that lasts the entire duration of the term. A defendant could report in person as directed for years, and then one slip up could bring new charges. It is a violation to fail to provide notice of a new address, new cell phone number, new email address or a new car within 3 days. Even moving temporarily or traveling for more than 7 days requires notification. The requirements can sometimes seem endless, which is why these cases are so common in Maryland. Most defendants are actually making a solid effort to do the right thing and keep up with all their requirements, but sometimes life takes over and people just forget. Unfortunately though the law and the people that prosecute these offenses are just not that forgiving. This means that anyone charged with this crime must have an experienced and skilled lawyer at their side. Benjamin Herbst has defended clients in all types of sex offenses and crimes involving failure to register. He will put the time and effort into your case that is necessary to assure your rights are protected, and he will not back down to judges or prosecutors that continue to fail to understand the hardships that convicted defendants face.
There are a variety of defenses that may be available to those facing this type of charge. For example, the state must prove that violation for failure to register was done so knowingly. The knowledge element is not assumed, as this is not a strict liability crime. If a defendant is not informed that he or she must sign up or properly informed of the requirements then the charges may be dismissed. The state must also prove that the defendant was convicted of an offense that requires registration, which can be harder than it seems for defendants from out of state. Each case is different and Benjamin will explore every possible defense that you may have. If you or a loved one has a current case for this charge or think charges may be filed then call anytime for a free consultation.