This is the next post in a series of articles discussing the ability for certain Arkansas residents to terminate their obligations to register as a sex offender. Our previous post provided an overview of the topics to be discussed throughout this series. The deregistration process can be beneficial to those who are eligible. Navigating the process can become complicated. For these reasons, it is important to retain knowledgeable criminal defense counsel to assist you through the process. This article will address the benefits of successful deregistration. If you need assistance with a sex offense registration question, contact our office today to speak with an attorney.
Every state in the country now has some form of sex offender registration requirements. While laws and requirements differ, they are generally based on the premise that a person found guilty of committing certain sexually-related offenses continues to pose a risk to the public. To reduce the public’s risk, such individuals are required to keep law enforcement notified of their current address, which information is maintained in a registration database and made available to everyone. While this policy is justified by public safety needs, the registration requirements significantly limit the rights of those impacted and may even lead to additional criminal exposure. Requirements include:
- keeping the state informed of one’s home address;
- having one’s name, address, and sometimes photo published on the state’s sex offender website and available to the public;
- prohibitions on living within a specific radius of daycares and schools;
- being precluded from working in certain positions entirely;
- facing criminal penalties for failing to register, even if inadvertently;
- being denied employment or housing based on failing background checks; and
- general harassment and ostracism from neighbors.
Fortunately, Arkansas law allows certain eligible individuals to terminate their obligation to register as a sex offender. For those who qualify, the benefits of doing so cannot be overstated. First and often foremost, one will be free from unwanted negative attention that inevitably accompanies registration. Information about your whereabouts and history will be removed from the searchable state-wide database, giving you a chance to make a fresh start. Opportunities to obtain housing and find a job may also significantly improve once one is removed from the state registry. Furthermore, freedom from the potentially life-long conditions of registration will go a long way to restoring privacy for both the offender and their family. This removes the constant risk of inadvertently failing to register or meeting other conditions, therefore incurring additional criminal charges. These conditions can be invasive and may prevent someone who has completed their criminal sentence from putting the event behind them. It is important to note that deregistration will not erase one’s criminal record or seal the information from being discoverable on criminal background checks. That said, removing the requirements of registering in the future can help eligible individuals begin to move on with their lives.
If you are eligible for deregistration, consider beginning the process as soon as possible to take advantage of the benefits available to you. If you need assistance with deregistration, contact our Little Rock office today to speak with a lawyer. We also handle matters in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff, and throughout the rest of Arkansas.