What are Maryland’s sex offender registration laws?

People convicted of sexual offenses in Maryland may have to participate in the state’s sex offender registration program.

Being accused of a sexual crime in Maryland can naturally leave a person feeling scared and nervous about what the future holds. During the defense process, it can be helpful to get educated about the potential consequences of a conviction. One of these may be the requirement to participate in the state's sex offender program.

In addition to Maryland's own state program, there is a tool called OffenderWatch. According to Fox Business, Maryland became the 17th state to participate in this. The goal is to make it easier for law enforcement agencies to access and share information about convicted sexual offenders.

Three levels of offenses and registrations

In Maryland, sexual offenses may be classified as Tier I, Tier II or Tier III with Tier I being the least severe and Tier III being the most severe. The period of required registration for each tier is 15 years for Tier I, 25 years for Tier II and life for Tier III.

Examples of Tier I offenses include fourth degree sexual crimes and possession of child pornography. Distribution of child pornography is a Tier II offense. Third degree sexual crimes can be either Tier II or Tier III offenses. Other Tier III offenses include incest, first or second degree crimes and attempted first or second degree crimes.

Removal from the sex offender registration

There are four means via which a person may be removed from the sex offender registry. If a defendant's conviction is overturned or the person receives an expungement or a pardon, their information will be taken off the registry. They will also be removed from the registry after successful completion of their term, if any, or if they die. A permanent move to another state is the final way of eliminating their Maryland sex offender registry participation.

Restrictions during the registration period

Unlike many other states, Maryland does not restrict where a person can live during the time that they must register as a sex offender. However, a person on the registry is not allowed to be on the premises of a child care facility, an elementary school or a secondary school.

Information available to the public

Any person may access information on a registry except for details which may identify a victim, the defendant's social security number or the defendant's fingerprints.

Details such as residence, photograph, employment and registration term are available to the public. Also part of the registry is a person's employment, enrollment in school and contact information.

Legal assistance is important

When dealing with accusations of a sex crime, people in Maryland should always contact an attorney. This allows defendants to have someone on their side to explain the laws and all ramifications of them.