One of the most enduring effects of a conviction for a sex crime in Virginia, and really throughout the entire country, is the sex offender registration that follows. Virginia, like most states, maintains an online database of individuals who have been convicted of certain sexual offenses. The registry includes the individual's home and work addresses, their picture, as well as the convictions that triggered registration. Citizens can search this registry with ease, using zip codes as a search term.
The registry is maintained by the Virginia State Police, and according to the website, its purpose is to "make information more easily available and accessible, not to warn citizens about any specific individual." That is all well and good, but the practical effect is that individuals on the registry who may have little to no likelihood to reoffend are forced to endure a lifetime of ridicule and harassment. And you can't avoid this scorn simply by leaving the state, as each state requires registration regardless of where the conviction occurred.
Certain offenses trigger registration, and registration is typically a lifetime requirement. However, depending upon the nature of the offense, an individual may petition the Circuit Court for removal from the registry after either 15 or 25 years.
Sex offender registries in Virginia and throughout the country are political gold for politicians. Any measure that seeks to make life more difficult for people convicted of these sorts of offenses is sure to receive widespread approval from voters. What these people fail to understand is that the risk of reoffending in most cases is quite low. Meanwhile, individuals on these registries find it impossible to secure employment and maintain any degree of normalcy.
If you or someone you love is facing a sex charge, you must contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. We handle every type of sex crime, from possession of child pornography to the most serious crimes involving physical contact with minors.
Please call; we are here to help.