Michigan’s Romeo & Juliet Law

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Lansing Michigan Sex Crimes and Sex Offender Registry Lawyer

 

ROMEO AND JULIET LAWS
In 2004, the Michigan Legislature passed and later amended in 2011 MCL 28.728c, known as the “Romeo and Juliet Law” which gives certain sex offenders the opportunity to petition the court to no longer be required to register under the Sex Offender Registration Act. (SORA). This law gave hope to some destined to be forever publicly labeled as a sex offender for many years or in some cases, the rest of their lives. This is a discussion on who meets the criteria to petition the court to discontinue registering and how the process works. You either have to register as a Tier I, II, or III Offender. They each have different circumstances they can petition.

A. WHO IS ELIGIBLE
TIER I OFFENDERS
You must meet all of the following:

  • At least 10 or more years have passed since the date of your conviction or from your release from jail or prison, whichever occurred last
  • You have not been convicted of any felonies or a listed offense since the date of conviction
  • You have successfully completed any assigned periods of supervised release, probation, or parole without revocation
  • You have successfully completed a sex offender treatment program certified by the United States Attorney General or any other appropriate treatment program. Note: the Court may waive this requirement if such a program was not a condition of your release from confinement, probation, or parole

 

TIER III OFFENDERS
You must meet all of the following:

  • You were required to register based on an order of disposition under the probate code
  • At least 25 years have passed since the date of adjudication for the listed offense or since your release from jail or prison, whichever occurred last
  • You have not been convicted of any felonies or a listed offense since the date of conviction
  • You have successfully completed a sex offender treatment program certified by the United States Attorney General or any other appropriate treatment program. Note: the Court may waive this requirement if such a program was not a condition of your release from confinement, probation, or parole

 

TIER I, II, OR III OFFENDERS
If the act was consensual and if you fall into any of these categories:
a. All of the following apply:

  • The victim was between the ages of 13 and 16 at the time of the offense
  • The petitioner is no more than four years older than the victim

b. All of the following apply:

  • The victim was between the ages of 13 and 16 at the time of the offense
  • The act was consenual
  • The petitioner is no more than four years older than the victim
  • Petitioner was convicted of violating MCL 750.158 (Crime Against Nature or Sodomy), MCL 750.338 (Gross Indecency Between Males), MCL 750.338a (Gross Indecency Between Females), or MCL 750.338b (Gross Indecency Between Males and Females)

c. All of the following apply:

  • The victim was 16 years of age or older at the time of the offense
  • The victim was not under custodial authority of the petitioner at the time of the offense
  • Petitioner was convicted of violating MCL 750.158 (Crime Against Nature or Sodomy), MCL 750.338 (Gross Indecency Between Males), MCL 750.338a (Gross Indecency Between Females), MCL 750.338b (Gross Indecency Between Males and Females), or MCL 750.520c (Criminal Sexual Conduct in the 2 degree)

d. Both apply:

  • Petitioner was adjudicated as a juvenile
  • Petitioner was less than 14 years old at the time of the offense

 

B. HOW THE PROCESS WORKS

Now that you have determined that you are eligible to petition the Court, what are the next steps you take? Here it is in a nutshell.

1. Draft and File the Petition

You will need to draft and file a petitioner, or a motion, with the Court where you were convicted citing the reasons why you are eligible and why the Court should grant your petition. You will need to serve a copy of this petition to the county prosecutor.

2. Get a Hearing Date

You will need to get a hearing date from the judge’s clerk for a day and time in which the judge will orally hear your motion. You will need to serve a copy of this Notice of Hearing on the prosecutor as well so they know when to be there.

3. Proof of Service

You will need to file a Proof of Service to the Court clerk stating that you have served a copy of your petition and notice of hearing upon the prosecutor.

4. Notifying the Victim

The victim has to be notified of the petition and hearing and has a right to be there. It is the responsibility of the prosecutor to find and contact the victim, not your’s. If you know the victim would not object to your petition or could testify that the act was consensual, feel free to give the prosecutor their contact information if you have it and you know the prosecutor doesn’t.

 

C. THE HEARING

This is the court date when the judge will orally hear argument and maybe testimony on your written petition. The prosecutor can object if they want to and if they believe you do not fit the eligibility criteria or are likely to still be a threat and thus complying with SORA is in the public’s best interest. The victim may be there and can testify and you can present testimony to the judge as well. Hopefully the judge grants your petition and you will not longer be required to register under SORA. It is a good idea to have an order prepared for the judge to sign to bring to the hearing with you.

DO I NEED A LAWYER?

While it is not required to hire an attorney to file this or any other motion, it is always a good idea. Preparing and filing motions correctly can be cumbersome and it is always better to have someone professional and experienced do it for you. At least that way you don’t have to worry if it is being done correctly. You certainly want to have a lawyer if the prosecutor has indicated that they will be objecting to your petition. The stakes are too high to risk going at it alone. If you are a registered sex offender then you already know how much that affects your life, especially in terms of obtaining housing and employment, not to mention public scorn. An experienced attorney will always be a good investment.

If you are currently required to register under SORA and believe you may qualify to be removed or petition to discontinue registering as a sex offender, call Austin Legal Services, PLC today at (517) 614-1983 to speak to our sex offender registry removal attorney. We can help you put your past behind so you can move forward.

Representing Sex Offense Clients throughout Michigan in the counties of: Ingham, Eaton, Jackson, Livingston, Shiawassee, Kent, Clinton, Barry, and Gratiot and in the cities of: Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, St. Johns, Bath, Ithaca, Charlotte, Jackson, Brighton, Howell, Corunna, Grand Rapids.