Megan’s Law refers to laws providing information on sex offenders to the public. Individuals who have been convicted of various sex offenses are required to register with law enforcement upon their release from prison. Not only do you have to check in with the police regularly or whenever you move, but your sex offender status is also shared with your neighbors and the community and published on the Internet.
The laws in Pennsylvania related to sex offender registration and to sharing sex offender information under Megan’s law are clear and unambiguous. If you are convicted of a sex offense that requires registration, you will have no choice but to comply and to face the public embarrassment and limitations that go along with being a registered sex offender. As such, the best thing you can is to take action before conviction by getting help from an experienced sex crimes lawyer.
When you are a registered sex offender, you have to check in with law enforcement several times per year depending upon the nature of the offense that led to your registration. You may be restricted from living close to a school or by certain public areas. You may have to report your email address and Internet user ids to law enforcement before you begin to use them. You may be restricted from holding certain jobs and you will typically need to notify law enforcement if you are going to be attending school or participating in an academic program.
These are just a few examples of the many limitations that exist when you are a registered sex offender. Under Megan’s Law, notification of your sex offender status is also made available to interested parties including neighbor’s and individuals on the Internet. Websites maintained online allow for anyone to search for information about sex offenders and to find out details about where you live and what you look like. This can cause serious embarrassment, make it very difficult for you to engage in relationships and hinder your career.
Because Megan’s law and rules related to sex offender registry are considered necessary to protect the public and are considered to be in the public interest, there is essentially nothing you can do if you are required to register as a sex offender and comply with registration requirements, since failure to comply can result in additional criminal penalties.
However, if you take action as soon as you are accused of any sex offense, your criminal defense attorney may be able to raise defenses or keep evidence out of court so that the prosecutor has to drop the charges or so you get an acquittal. When avoiding conviction and a criminal record isn’t possible, your attorney may also be able to help you plea bargain down to lesser charges that do not require sex offender registration. This would allow you to better move forward with your life after sex offense accusations or a sex offense conviction.
To learn more about Megan’s law, sex offender registration or how we can help you to avoid conviction or minimize the long-term consequences of conviction, contact the Pennsylvania criminal defense law firm of Lawrence R. Dworkin today using our online form or via phone at 610-566-0610.