Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA) Requirements
If you have been convicted of a listed sex offender under MCL 28.721, on or after October 1, 1995 you must comply with a number of requirements under the Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA). If you were convicted prior to that date but still incarcerated, on probation, or on parole when the law went into effect, you have to comply. The severity of the convicted offense will determine what tier offender you are which dictates what requirements you are obligated to perform and for what length of time. Most SORA requirements are universal and I will discuss them in detail.
Verify Your Residence to Your Local Policy Agency
Tier I– Must verify your residence once a year between January 1-15. You must do this for 15 years.
Tier II– Must verify your residence twice a year: January 1-15 and July 1-15. You must do this for 25 years.
Tier III– Must verify your residence four times a year: January 1-15, April 1-15, July 1-15, and October 1-15. You must do this for Life.
You Must Report the Following Changes Within Three (3) Business Days
- Change in residence or domicile
- Temporary lodging information more than seven (7) days (other than permanent residence)
- Change in employment, including discontinuation
- Vehicle information– owned and operated by the offender, including discontinuation
- Legal name changes
- Email addresses and screen names
- Enrollment or discontinuation in an institute of higher learning
You Must Report the Following Information During Your Scheduled Verification Reporting
- Any new telephone numbers or discontinuation of previous telephone numbers
- Copies of passport or immigration documentation
- Occupational licensing information
- Annual registration fee of $50 (can be waived if you are indigent)
- Must maintain a valid Michigan driver’s license or identification card
- Sign all required registration forms
- Must not reside, work, or loiter within 1,000 feet of a school (if you lived or worked within 1,000 feet of a school before the school safety zone was enacted on January 1, 2006 you can be grandfathered in and not forced to quit your job or relocate)
Penalties for Noncompliance
Failure to Register– punishable by up to four years in prison and $2,000 in fines
Failure to Comply with Verification Duties– punishable by up to two years in prison and $2,000 in fines
Failure to Sign Registration Form– punishable by up to 93 days in jail and $1,000 in fines
Failure to Pay a Fee– punishable by up to 90 days in jail
Failure to Change or Update Your Address
First Offense– punishable by up to four years in prison and $2,000 in fines
Second Offense– punishable by up to seven years in prison and $5,000 in fines
Third Offense– punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines
Failure to Abide by School Safety Zone
First Offense– punishable by up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines
Second and all subsequent Offenses– punishable by up to two years in prison and $2,000 in fines
Anyone who divulges, uses, or publishes non-public registration information about an offender is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail and $1,000 in fines. The sex offender also has a cause of action for civil damages against the responsible party.
If I’m Homeless do I Have to Verify my Address?
Yes. The Michigan Supreme Court held in People v Dowdy, that homeless sex offenders need to register as 123 Homeless in the city in which they perpetually stay or are perpetually homeless. This judicial interpretation was later incorporated into SORA amendments in 2011. They have to report this temporary lodging every seven (7) days until they secure a permanent residence.
If I was Given Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA) status, do I Have to Register?
No. For purposes of SORA, a deferred sentence under HYTA is not a conviction. The Michigan Supreme Court held that forcing offenders to register under SORA for convictions that do not appear on their public record is cruel and unusual punishment.
Being on the Sex Offender Registry comes with a great deal of responsibility and life altering consequences that for some last a lifetime. If you or someone you know has been charged with a sex crime or charged with a SORA violation, contact a Michigan Sex Offense Registry Act attorney or sex crimes lawyer at Austin Legal Services, PLC. Call (517) 614-1983 today!
Defending Sex Crimes and SORA violations throughout the state of Michigan and in the counties of: Ingham, Eaton, Jackson, Clinton, Barry, Shiawassee, Kent, Washtenaw and in the cities of: Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Charlotte, Jackson, St. Johns, Ann Arbor, Corunna, Howell, Brighton, Jackson, and Grand Rapids.