Michigan Sex Offender Registry (SORA)

SORA

 This is an act requiring defendants convicted of certain sex crimes to register on the list of sex offenders known as SORA. Depending on what type of offense you were convicted of will determine whether you register on a public or non-public list, the duration of how long you have to be on the list, and how many times per year you have to verify your residence. Some sex offenses do not require registration.

 Public vs Non-public List

Some offenders are only required to register on a non-public list, meaning only law enforcement officials have access to the information. Most offenders have to register on a public list (PSOR), meaning the information you have to provide (name, aliases, address, convicted offense, employment, duration of registration) is available to anyone who searches for sex offenders in a particular geographic location or for your name.

The Tier System

Under the new SORA laws, the Michigan legislature demonstrated some wisdom in establishing a classification for sex offenses and sex offenders instead of lumping everyone and every offense under the same umbrella. The result was the creation of a three-tiered system, ranging from least to worst on the severity of the offense. The type of tier offense you were convicted of dictates the length of registration and its requirements as well as the procedures and eligibility for petitioning for removal.

Tier I

If you are convicted of any of the following offenses, you will be classified as a Tier I Sex Offender:

  • Knowingly possessing sexually abusive material involving children (public)
  • Indecent exposure with fondling of self and if the victim is a minor (public)
  • Unlawful imprisonment or restraint of a minor (public)
  • Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) 4th Degree of a minor
  • Assault with Intent to Attempt Sexual Assault of a minor
  • Surveillance, dissemination, or transmission of any recording, photograph, or visual image of a minor that has a reasonable expectation of privacy (public)
  • Assault with Intent to Commit CSC in the Second Degree, if the victim is more than 17 years of age
  • Capturing/Distributing Image of Unclothed Person, if the victim is less than 18 years of age (public)
  • Any violation of state law or local ordinance that by its nature constitutes a sexual offense against an individual who is less than 18 years of age.
  • Any offense committed by a person who was, at the time of the offense, a sexually delinquent person.
  • Any offense substantially similar to a listed offense under federal law, any state, or any country or under tribal or military law.

This list is both public and non-public depending on the offense. All Tier I offenses were initially non-public when the tier system was created in 2011. However, amendments to SORA in early 2013 allowed for some Tier I offenses to be placed back on the public list.

 

Registration is required for 15 years with eligibility to petition for removal after 10 years

Residency must be verified once a year between January 1-15t

Tier II

If you are convicted of any of the following offenses, you will be classified as a Tier II Sex Offender:

  • Accosting, enticing, or soliciting a child less than 16 years old with the intent to induce or force that child to commit an immoral act
  • Persuading, inducing, enticing, coercing, causing, or knowingly allowing a child to engage in sexually abusive activity for the purpose of producing sexually abusive material involving children
  • Distributing, promoting, or financing the distribution or promotion of, or receiving any sexually abusive material involving children for the purposes of distributing or promoting such material
  • Using the internet to solicit or commit an immoral act, except for violations under MCL 750.157c (coercing a minor to commit a felony)
  • Sodomy against a minor, unless either of the following exist: 1) victim was between the ages of 13-16, victim consented, and victim was no more than a four-year age difference  between victim and offender, or 2) victim was at least 17 years old, victim consented, and victim was not under the custodial authority of the offender
  • Gross Indecency, where the victim is between the ages of 13-18 unless either of the following exist: 1) victim was between the ages of 13-16, victim consented, and victim was no more than a four-year age difference  between victim and offender, or 2) victim was at least 17 years old, victim consented, and victim was not under the custodial authority of the offender
  • Soliciting to commit prostitution with a minor
  • Pandering (enticing a female to become a prostitute)
  • CSC 2nd Degree, if the victim is at least 18 years old
  • CSC 4th Degree is the victim is between the ages of 13-18
  • Assault with the intent to commit or touch a victim between the ages of 13-18
  • Convicted of a Tier I offense after previously being convicted of a Tier I offense

This list is a public list

Registration is required for 25 years

Residency must be verified twice a year: January 1-15 and July 1-15t

Tier III

If you are convicted of any of the following offenses, you will be classified as a Tier III Sex Offender:

  • Gross indecency between either males or females where complaining witness is less than 13 years old
  • Gross Indecency between both males and females where complaining witness is less than 13 years old
  • Kidnapping against a minor
  • CSC 1st Degree (Does not apply where the complaining witness consented, the complaining witness is between 13-16 years old, and there is less than a four year age difference between the complaining witness and offender)
  • CSC 2nd Degree where the complaining witness is less than 13 years old
  • CSC 3rd Degree (Does not apply where the complaining witness consented, the complaining witness is between 13-16 years old, and there is less than a four year age difference between the complaining witness and offender)
  • CSC 4th Degree where the offender is older than 17 and the complaining witness is less than 13 years old
  • Assault with Intent to Commit Penetration (Does not apply where the complaining witness consented, the complaining witness is between 13-16 years old, and there is less than a four year age difference between the complaining witness and offender)
  • Assault with Intent to Commit a Touch (sexual assault) where the complaining witness is less than 13 years old

This is a public list

Registration is required for LIFE

Residency must be verified four times a year: January 1-15, April 1-15, July 1-15, and October 1-15

Do Convictions for all Sex Crimes Require SORA Registration

This is a frequently asked question and thankfully the answer is “No.” There are some offenses that you can be convicted of that do not put you on the list. These few options can be used as plea bargains, normally reserved for weak cases or where the victim is very reluctant or un-cooperative. An experienced Michigan sex crimes attorney knows which offenses these are and can use weak spots in the case as leverage during plea negotiations to help keep a defendant from registering.

Can I Petition for Removal from SORA?

Maybe. Depending on what you were convicted of, when, and under what circumstances will dictate if and when you can petition to discontinue registering under SORA. For a more detailed discussion on this issue click here. 

 

Being charged with any kind of sex crime can have long lasting impacts on your life and future. Not only will you be convicted of a felony and face serious prison time, but you may have to register as a sex offender under SORA possibly for the rest of your life. This affects your career prospects, where you live, where you work, and your community reputation. Many become frustrated as the system seemingly has installed a permanent roadblock preventing rehabilitation.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a sex crime, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer with experience in sex crimes defense. We can help you fight your case and keep you off the list. Call Austin Legal Services, PLC to speak to a sex crimes attorney today at (517) 614-1983.

Defending sex crimes throughout Michigan and in the counties of: Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Barry, Jackson, Shiawassee, Washtenaw and in the cities of: Lansing, Mason, St. Johns, Bath, Charlotte, Jackson, Ann Arbor 

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.