The stigma associated with being a convicted individual, more so a sex offender, is a severe impediment that may affect an individual's ability to obtain gainful work, housing, or even relationships. Albeit there is an essential purpose for having a sex offender registry, there are also legitimate and practical reasons why an individual might want to get their name out of the registry.
What is the Virginia Sex Offender Registry?
The Virginia Sex Offender Registry is a public database that lists all individuals convicted of a sex offense in the state. The registry is designed to help law enforcement track sex offenders and protect the public.
Is it Possible to Get Out of the Virginia Sex Offender Registry?
Yes, it is possible. Generally, convicted sex offenders are categorized into three tiers, and each of these requires that an offender be listed in the registry for a specific amount of time.
However, if a convicted sex offender wishes to get their name out of the sex offender list before the mandated time to be in the registry, then they can:
- File a petition with the court to remove their name from the sex offender registry.
- Get the individual's sex conviction overturned.
It is important to note that both ways listed above require a legal process to be filed with the court, and the legal assistance of a well-experienced criminal lawyer is valuable to ensure that the best possible case is presented to the court.
What Are the Tiers of Sex Offenders in Virginia?
The Commonwealth of Virginia categorizes convicted sex offenders into three (3) different tiers. These tiers are as follows:
- Tier 1 includes offenders who have committed less serious sex offenses, such as indecent exposure. Tier 1 offenders must register with the Virginia Sex Offender Registry for ten (10) years.
- Tier 2 includes offenders who have committed more severe sex offenses, such as statutory rape or forcible sodomy. Tier 2 offenders must register with the Virginia Sex Offender Registry for twenty (20) years.
- Tier 3 includes offenders who have committed the most severe sex offenses, such as child molestation or aggravated sexual battery. Tier 3 offenders must register with the Virginia Sex Offender Registry for life.
In addition to the tier system, Virginia also has a risk assessment system that is used to determine the level of risk that a sex offender poses to the public. The risk assessment system is based on various factors, including the nature of the offense, the offender's criminal history, and the offender's treatment history.
The tier and risk assessment systems are designed to help law enforcement track sex offenders and protect the public. The tier system determines how long an offender must register with the Virginia Sex Offender Registry, while the risk assessment system helps law enforcement determine the level of supervision an offender needs.
How Can an Individual Petition The Court to Remove Their Names From The Virginia Sex Registry?
First, a person must be eligible to remove one's name from the sex offender registry before completing the required time on the list. In order to qualify, an individual must meet the following criteria:
- The individual must have been convicted of a non-violent sex offense.
- The individual must have completed all court-ordered treatment and counseling.
- The individual must have paid all restitution.
- The individual must demonstrate to the court that they no longer pose a risk to public safety.
Second, the individual must file the petition with the court for removal from the Virginia sex offender registry by:
- Filing a petition with the court that convicted you of the sex offense.
- The petition must include the following information:
- Petitioner's name, address, and date of birth.
- The conviction that the petition is seeking to have removed.
- The reasons why the petitioner believes they should be removed from the registry.
- Any supporting documentation, such as letters from the petitioner's therapist or counselor
- The court will then schedule a hearing to consider the petition.
- At the hearing, the individual will have the opportunity to present their case to the judge.
- The judge will then decide whether to grant the petition.
How Does One Get Their Sex Offense Conviction Overturned?
Another way to get out of the sex offender list is to have their conviction overturned. This is a stricter process, but it is possible if it can be proven that their conviction was obtained in error. The legal representation of a knowledgeable and reputable criminal lawyer will be extremely valuable in this challenging process.
Generally, a conviction can be overturned if it meets the following criteria:
- There was a fundamental error in the proceedings that prejudiced the convicted's rights.
- There was newly discovered evidence that would have changed the outcome of the case.
- The convicted was coerced into pleading guilty.
- The convicted were denied the practical assistance of counsel.
Our firm is here to help defend you from criminal allegations. We will listen to your side of the story, and we will dedicate ourselves to helping preserve your innocent. For a free consultation, call us today at (757) 267-4949 or contact us online.