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How long must a convict register as a sex offender in Maryland?

Being convicted of a sex crime can have long-term ramifications, even after an individual believes that he or she has paid his or her debt to society by serving time in prison. This is because a Marylander who is convicted of a sexual offense must be included on the state's sex offender registry. Failing to register could result in a three-year prison sentence and/or a $5,000 fine.

How long an individual must register as a sex offender depends on the crime for which they were convicted. For Tier I crimes, a convicted individual must register as a sex offender for 15 years. Some examples of Tier I crimes include possession of child pornography and travel with intent to engage in illicit conduct.

For Tier II crimes, a convicted person must register as a sex offender for 25 years. Some examples of Tier II crimes include distribution of child pornography and certain 3rd degree sex offenses. Those who were convicted of two or more Tier I crimes must register as a Tier II sex offender.

For Tier III crimes, a convicted individual must register as a sex offender for life. Some examples of Tier III crimes include rape, sexual abuse of a minor, and certain 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree sex offenses. Those who were convicted of two or more Tier II crimes or a Tier I and a Tier II crime must register as a Tier III sex offender.

That being said, if an individual is registered on Maryland's sex offender registry and is pardoned or has his or her conviction overturned or expunged, then his or her name no longer needs to appear on Maryland's sex offender registry. In addition, once the registration period expires, the individual's name will be taken off the sex offender registry.

While in Maryland there are no restrictions as to where a registered sex offender may live, it is still possible for any member of the public to get a copy of the individual's sex offender registration statement. This could damage a person's reputation in his or her professional and personal lives. Therefore, those who are facing allegations of a sex crime, such as sexual assault, may want to consult with a criminal defense attorney so that a solid defense can be wagered against the charges they face.

Source: Maryland Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services, "Sex Offender Registry FAQs," accessed May 8, 2017

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