Sex Offender Registry Requirements Across the United States

What is the Sex Offender Registry?

Every state and U.S. territory requires those convicted of sex offenses to be added to a registry to be monitored and tracked after their release back into the community.  Information about the offender is collected and shared with local and federal authorities, as well as the general public.  Requirements and restrictions are often placed on registered sex offenders.  That registration process is unique in each state and U.S. territory.

Reentry (2)

What is SORNA?

The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) was passed in 2006 as part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act to provide federal standards for jurisdictions to follow.  SORNA calls for states and U.S. territories to meet minimum requirements for sex offender registration and notification.

Why Are the Requirements for Sex Offender Registration Different Everywhere?

While SORNA’s guidelines streamlined registration and notification requirements across the country, these requirements are far from uniform.  Each jurisdiction determines the details of their own registration process.  This leaves a patchwork of rules for sex offenders that vary widely depending on where a registrant lives or works.

Where PIN Comes In

Probation Information Network developed a list of questions regarding the sex offender registration requirements across the country.  These are questions that might concern the public, victims and their advocates, or those who are facing registration or are currently registered and their loved ones.  We then searched the statutes or code of each jurisdiction for the laws surrounding sex offender registration and notification.  Where necessary, we consulted with the law enforcement agency in charge of the jurisdiction’s registry to provide clear and concise answers to the following questions:

 

    • What is the duration of registration?

How long must a sex offender remain on the registry?  The length of time a sex offender must comply with registration requirements varies widely depending on the jurisdiction where the registrant lives, and the level of the offense committed.  All but 2 jurisdictions offer a path for eventual removal from the registry for at least some of their registrants.

 

    • Must the immediate community be notified directly, either by the offender or law enforcement?

Every jurisdiction has passive community notification in the form of a public sex offender registry website.  Concerned citizens are free to search the website and can sign up for email notifications if a sex offender moves into their neighborhood.  Some jurisdictions go even further and require active notification, where either law enforcement or the offender themselves is required to directly notify the immediate community that a sex offender is in the area.  This can take many forms, including electronic, mail, or in-person notification, publication in local newspapers, and community meetings.

 

    • What are the residence distance restrictions?

Are there any restrictions on where a registered sex offender can live?  Some jurisdictions restrict registrants from living within a measured distance of certain places.  This restriction could be for all registrants, or only for higher-level offenders or those under supervision.  Some jurisdictions do not have a state-wide restriction but do allow local jurisdictions to enact their own.

 

    • What are the employment distance restrictions?

Registered sex offenders are usually restricted from certain types of employment, and from working at establishments that specifically cater to minors.  Some jurisdictions go even further and restrict registrants from working within a measured distance of certain places.

 

    • Is an employer’s information included on the public registry?

Returning citizens of every type need to find employment upon reentry, and sex offenders are no exception.  Some jurisdictions include registrants’ employment information on the public registry website.  This could be the employer’s address or in some cases the name of the employer.

 

    • Are online identifiers included on the public registry?

Some jurisdictions require registered sex offenders to report any identifiers they use online, such as email addresses and social media user names.  In some jurisdictions that information is included on the public registry website, separate from the registrant’s profile, in a feature that allows the pubic to search by specific identifiers.

 

    • Is a state-issued ID required to be labeled?

Some jurisdictions require a state-issued ID, such as a driver’s license, to be labeled to identify the holder as a registered sex offender.  This label could be the words “Sex Offender” printed on the ID in a prominent place or a more subtle designation known to law enforcement.

 

    • What is the cost of registration?

Is there a fee to register as a sex offender?  Some jurisdictions pass on some of their administrative costs to the registrants.  This could be a one-time fee paid only upon initial registration, or an ongoing fee paid annually or quarterly.  Some jurisdictions charge a fee every time a registrant updates their information.

 

    • How long can a registrant be in the state for work or education before registration is required?

Does a sex offender have to register if they work or go to school in a different state?  It depends on the state, and how long the registrant will be there.  Some jurisdictions require registrants to notify authorities immediately, while others allow limited stays without requiring registration.  Registrants currently under supervision usually need permission from their Parole or Probation Officer before traveling and should always consult their supervising officer.

 

    • How long can a registrant visit the state before registration is required?

Can a registered sex offender go on vacation?  Does a sex offender have to register if they visit a different state?  It depends on the state, and how long the registrant will be there.  Some jurisdictions require registrants to notify authorities immediately, while others allow limited stays without requiring registration.  Registrants currently under supervision usually need permission from their Parole or Probation Officer before traveling and should always consult their supervising officer.

 

The answers provided are taken directly from the laws found on the state or territory’s legislative website or, where necessary, from the website of the law enforcement agency in charge of the jurisdiction’s registry.  In some cases, we contacted state or territory officials for clarification and have directly quoted those conversations.

Disclaimer

While we stand by our research, it is for informational purposes only.  It should not be considered legal advice and, while we strive to provide accurate and up to date information, it is not guaranteed to be complete or correct.  We provide links to each jurisdiction’s legislative and law enforcement websites and maintain a directory of lawyers who specialize in sex offender registration laws.  For those currently under supervision, consult with your Parole or Probation Officer for guidance.

What are the employment distance restrictions?

Registered sex offenders are usually restricted from certain types of employment, and from working at establishments that specifically cater to minors.  Some jurisdictions go even further and restrict registrants from working within a measured distance of certain places.

Employment Distance Restrictions Map

8 states and territories enforce an employment distance restriction for all or for certain offenders.

This comparison chart is intended to be a quick reference guide to compare the sex offender registry requirements across jurisdictions.  It does not provide enough details for a full and accurate picture and should not be used by itself, but rather as a tool alongside the full-text versions.

StateWhat are the employment distance restrictions?
Alabama2,000 feet: school, childcare; 500 feet: playground, park, athletic field or facility
AlaskaNone
ArizonaNone
ArkansasNone
CaliforniaNone
ColoradoNone
ConnecticutNone
DelawareNone
FloridaNone
Georgia1,000 feet: childcare, school, church; SDP includes area where minors congregate
HawaiiTerms of supervision may have restrictions
IdahoNone
IllinoisNone
IndianaNone
IowaNone
KansasNone
KentuckyNone
Louisiana1,000 feet: school, public park or recreational facility, early learning center, in-home childcare, residential home
MaineNone
MarylandNone
MassachusettsNone
MichiganNone
MinnesotaNone
MississippiNone
MissouriNone
MontanaHigh-risk offender - 300 feet: school, day care, playground, park, athletic field or facility or business that primarily serves minors
NebraskaNone
NevadaTier 3 offenders under state supervision - 500 feet: school, school bus stop, day care, arcade, amusement park, playground, park, facility for youth sports, movie theater
New HampshireNone
New JerseyNone
New MexicoNone
New YorkNone
North CarolinaCertain offenders - 300 feet: any location intended primarily for minors when the place is located on premises that are not intended as such
North DakotaNone
OhioNone
OklahomaNone
OregonNone
PennsylvaniaNone
Rhode IslandNone
South CarolinaNone
South DakotaNone
Tennessee1,000 feet: school, childcare, public park, playground, recreation center, public athletic field
TexasNone
UtahNone
VermontNone
VirginiaNone
WashingtonNone
West VirginiaNone
WisconsinNone
WyomingNone
Washington DCNone
GuamNone
NMINone
Puerto RicoNone
US Virgin IslandsNone

Alabama

AL Code §15-20A-13

(a) No adult sex offender shall accept or maintain employment or a volunteer position at any school, childcare facility, mobile vending business that provides services primarily to children, or any other business or organization that provides services primarily to children, or any amusement or water park.

(b) No adult sex offender shall accept or maintain employment or a volunteer position within 2,000 feet of the property on which a school or childcare facility is located unless otherwise exempted pursuant to Sections 15-20A-24 and 15-20A-25.

(c) No adult sex offender, after having been convicted of a sex offense involving a child, shall accept or maintain employment or a volunteer position within 500 feet of a playground, park, athletic field or facility, or any other business or facility having a principal purpose of caring for, educating, or entertaining minors.

(d) Changes to property within 2,000 feet of an adult sex offender’s place of employment which occur after an adult sex offender accepts employment shall not form the basis for finding that an adult sex offender is in violation of this section.

(e) It shall be unlawful for the owner or operator of any childcare facility or any other organization that provides services primarily to children to knowingly provide employment or a volunteer position to an adult sex offender.

(f) For purposes of this section, the 2,000-foot measurement shall be taken in a straight line from nearest property line to nearest property line.

Alaska

None.

Arizona

None.

Arkansas

None.

California

None.

Colorado

None.

Connecticut

None.

Delaware

None.

Florida

FL Stat § 775.21

(10)(b) A sexual predator who has been convicted of or found to have committed, or has pled nolo contendere or guilty to, regardless of adjudication, any violation, or attempted violation, of s. 787.01, s. 787.02, or s. 787.025(2)(c), where the victim is a minor; s. 794.011, excluding s. 794.011(10); s. 794.05; former s. 796.03; former s. 796.035; s. 800.04; s. 827.071; s. 847.0133; s. 847.0135(5); s. 847.0145; or s. 985.701(1); or a violation of a similar law of another jurisdiction when the victim of the offense was a minor, and who works, whether for compensation or as a volunteer, at any business, school, child care facility, park, playground, or other place where children regularly congregate, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

Georgia

GA Code § 42-1-12

(a) As used in this article, the term:

(3) “Area where minors congregate” shall include all public and private parks and recreation facilities, playgrounds, skating rinks, neighborhood centers, gymnasiums, school bus stops, public libraries, and public and community swimming pools.

GA Code § 42-1-15

(c)

(1) On and after July 1, 2008, no individual shall be employed by or volunteer at any child care facility, school, or church or by or at any business or entity that is located within 1,000 feet of a child care facility, a school, or a church if the commission of the act for which such individual is required to register occurred on or after July 1, 2008. Such distance shall be determined by measuring from the outer boundary of the property of the location at which such individual is employed or volunteers to the outer boundary of the child care facility, school, or church at their closest points.

(2) On or after July 1, 2008, no individual who is a sexually dangerous predator shall be employed by or volunteer at any business or entity that is located within 1,000 feet of an area where minors congregate if the commission of the act for which such individual is required to register occurred on or after July 1, 2008. Such distance shall be determined by measuring from the outer boundary of the property of the location at which the sexually dangerous predator is employed or volunteers to the outer boundary of the area where minors congregate at their closest points.

-Or-

GA Code § 42-1-16

(a) As used in this Code section, the term:

(1) “Area where minors congregate” shall include all public and private parks and recreation facilities, playgrounds, skating rinks, neighborhood centers, gymnasiums, school bus stops, and public and community swimming pools.

(c)

(1) Any individual who committed an act between July 1, 2006, and June 30, 2008, for which such individual is required to register shall not be employed by any child care facility, school, or church or by or at any business or entity that is located within 1,000 feet of a child care facility, a school, or a church. Such distance shall be determined by measuring from the outer boundary of the property of the location at which such individual is employed to the outer boundary of the child care facility, school, or church at their closest points.

(2) Any individual who committed an act between July 1, 2006, and June 30, 2008, for which such individual is required to register who is a sexually dangerous predator shall not be employed by any business or entity that is located within 1,000 feet of an area where minors congregate. Such distance shall be determined by measuring from the outer boundary of the property of the location at which the sexually dangerous predator is employed to the outer boundary of the area where minors congregate at their closest points.

Hawaii

Chapter 846E, HRS, does not restrict where a registered covered offender may reside or work. However, certain covered offenders, still under supervision, may have restrictions in their Terms and Conditions of supervision. For example, a judge may order that a registered covered offender may not contact or attempt to contact, directly or indirectly, any minor child, or reside in the same residence with minor children, without permission from the supervision officer. Restrictions may also arise in other circumstances as well.

– Hawaii Department of the Attorney General

Idaho

None.

Illinois

None.

Indiana

IC 35-42-4-10

(c) A sexually violent predator or an offender against children who knowingly or intentionally works for compensation or as a volunteer:

(1) on school property;

(2) at a youth program center;

(3) at a public park;

(4) as a child care provider (as defined by IC 31-33-26-1);

(5) for a child care provider (as defined by IC 31-33-26-1); or

(6) as a provider of:

(A) respite care services and other support services for primary or family caregivers; or

(B) adult day care services;

commits unlawful employment by a sexual predator, a Level 6 felony. However, the offense is a Level 5 felony if the person has a prior unrelated conviction based on the person’s failure to comply with any requirement imposed on an offender under IC 11-8-8.

Iowa

None.

Kansas

None.

Kentucky

None.

Louisiana

LA Rev Stat § 14:91.2

A .The following acts when committed by a person convicted of a sex offense as defined in R.S. 15:541 when the victim is under the age of thirteen years shall constitute the crime of unlawful residence or presence of a sex offender:

(1) The physical presence of the offender in, on, or within one thousand feet of the school property of any public or private elementary or secondary school or the physical presence in any motor vehicle or other means of conveyance owned, leased, or contracted by such school to transport students to or from school or a school-related activity when persons under the age of eighteen years are present on the school property or in a school vehicle.

(3) The physical presence of the offender in, on, or within one thousand feet of any of the following:

(a) Public park or recreational facility.

(b) Early learning center as defined by R.S. 17:407.33.

(c) Residence in which child care services are provided by a family child care provider or in-home provider who is registered pursuant to R.S. 17:407.61 et seq.

(d) Residential home as defined by R.S. 46:1403.

(5) The physical presence of the offender in or on public library property.

B. The following acts, when committed by a person convicted of an aggravated offense as defined in R.S. 15:541 when the victim is under the age of thirteen years, shall constitute the crime of unlawful residence or presence of a sex offender:

(1) The physical presence of the offender in, on, or within one thousand feet of any of the following:

(a) Early learning center as defined by R.S. 17:407.33.

(b) Residence in which child care services are provided by a family child care provider or in-home provider who is registered pursuant to R.S. 17:407.61 et seq.

(c) Residential home as defined by R.S. 46:1403.

LA Rev Stat § 15:553

A. It shall be unlawful for any person who is required to maintain registration pursuant to Chapter 3-B of Title 15 to operate any bus, taxicab, or limousine for hire.

B. It shall be unlawful for any person who is required to maintain registration pursuant to Chapter 3-B of Title 15 to engage in employment as a service worker who goes into a residence to provide any type of service.

C. It shall be unlawful for any person whose offense involved a minor child and who is required to maintain registration pursuant to Chapter 3-B of Title 15 to operate any carnival or amusement ride.

D. It shall be unlawful for any person who is required to maintain registration pursuant to Chapter 3-B of Title 15 to engage in employment as a door-to-door solicitor, peddler, or itinerant vendor selling any type of goods or services including magazines or periodicals or subscriptions to magazines or periodicals.

Maine

Pre-2013 applies to a person sentenced prior to January 1, 2013.

Post-2013 applies to a person who commits criminal conduct and is sentenced on or after January 1, 2013.

Pre- and Post-2013 None.

Maryland

None.

Massachusetts

None.

Michigan

None.

Act No. 295, Public Acts of 2020, repealed these restrictions effective March 24, 2021.

Minnesota

None.

Mississippi

None.

Missouri

None.

Montana

MT Code § 45-5-513

(1) A high-risk sexual offender as provided in this section may not:

(e) accept, maintain, or carry on regular employment at or within 300 feet of a school, day-care center, playground, developed or improved park, athletic field or facility that primarily serves minors, or business or facility having a principal purpose of caring for, educating, or entertaining minors.

MT Code § 46-18-255

(1) A judge sentencing a person convicted of a sexual or violent offense shall, as a condition to probation, parole, or deferment or suspension of sentence, impose on the defendant reasonable employment or occupational prohibitions and restrictions designed to protect the class or classes of persons containing the likely victims of further offenses by the defendant.

Nebraska

The Nebraska Sex Offender Registration law does not have any restrictions on registered sex offenders.  This is a common misperception.  The SOR law also does not have the legal jurisdiction to prevent an offender from attending events, limiting employment, restrict an offender from entering any facilities, or refrain from living with or socializing with children or vulnerable persons.  The SOR law can only mandate the offender to register his or her required information under statutes 29-4004 and 29-4006 at the sheriff’s office within the required time.

– Nebraska State Patrol

Nevada

The registration statutes do not restrict employment location, however for those under Nevada state supervision the following may apply:

NRS 176A.410

1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 6, if a defendant is convicted of a sexual offense and the court grants probation or suspends the sentence, the court shall, in addition to any other condition ordered pursuant to NRS 176A.400, order as a condition of probation or suspension of sentence that the defendant:

(m) Unless approved by the parole and probation officer assigned to the defendant and by a psychiatrist, psychologist or counselor treating the defendant, if any, not knowingly be within 500 feet of any place, or if the place is a structure, within 500 feet of the actual structure, that is designed primarily for use by or for children, including, without limitation, a public or private school, a school bus stop, a center or facility that provides day care services, a video arcade, an amusement park, a playground, a park, an athletic field or a facility for youth sports, or a motion picture theater. The provisions of this paragraph apply only to a defendant who is a Tier III offender.

New Hampshire

None.

New Jersey

None.

New Mexico

None.

New York

None.

North Carolina

NC Gen Stat § 14-208.18

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person required to register under this Article, if the offense requiring registration is described in subsection (c) of this section, to knowingly be at any of the following locations:

(1) On the premises of any place intended primarily for the use, care, or supervision of minors, including, but not limited to, schools, children’s museums, child care centers, nurseries, and playgrounds.

(2) Within 300 feet of any location intended primarily for the use, care, or supervision of minors when the place is located on premises that are not intended primarily for the use, care, or supervision of minors, including, but not limited to, places described in subdivision (1) of this subsection that are located in malls, shopping centers, or other property open to the general public.

(3) At any place where minors frequently congregate, including, but not limited to, libraries, arcades, amusement parks, recreation parks, and swimming pools, when minors are present.

(4) On the State Fairgrounds during the period of time each year that the State Fair is conducted, on the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center grounds during the period of time each year that the North Carolina Mountain State Fair is conducted, and on any other fairgrounds during the period of time that an agricultural fair is being conducted.

(c) The subdivisions of subsection (a) of this section are applicable as follows:

(1) Subdivisions (1), (3), and (4) of subsection (a) of this section apply to persons required to register under this Article who have committed any of the following offenses:

a. Any offense in Article 7B of this Chapter or any federal offense or offense committed in another state, which if committed in this State, is substantially similar to an offense in Article 7B of this Chapter.

b. Any offense where the victim of the offense was under the age of 18 years at the time of the offense.

(2) Subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of this section applies to persons required to register under this Article if either of the following applies:

a. The person has committed any offense in Article 7B of this Chapter or any federal offense or offense committed in another state, which if committed in this State is substantially similar to an offense in Article 7B of this Chapter, and a finding has been made in any criminal or civil proceeding that the person presents, or may present, a danger to minors under the age of 18.

b. The person has committed any offense where the victim of the offense was under the age of 18 years at the time of the offense.

North Dakota

None.

Ohio

None.

Oklahoma

None.

Oregon

None.

Pennsylvania

Post 12/20/12 applies to those whose offense was committed on or after December 20, 2012.

Pre 12/20/12 applies to those whose offense was committed before December 20, 2012.

None.

Rhode Island

None.

South Carolina

None.

South Dakota

None.

Tennessee

TN Code § 40-39-211

(a) (1) While mandated to comply with the requirements of this chapter, no sexual offender, as defined in § 40-39-202, or violent sexual offender as defined in § 40-39-202, shall knowingly establish a primary or secondary residence or any other living accommodation or knowingly accept employment within one thousand feet (1,000′) of the property line of any public school, private or parochial school, licensed day care center, other child care facility, public park, playground, recreation center, or public athletic field available for use by the general public.

(e) Changes in the ownership or use of property within one thousand feet (1,000′) of the property line of an offender’s primary or secondary residence or place of employment that occur after an offender establishes residence or accepts employment shall not form the basis for finding that an offender is in violation of the residence restrictions of this section.

Texas

The Texas Sex Offender Registration Program itself does not prohibit registered sex offenders from working in certain trades, occupations or professions. However, state law regulating a particular trade, occupation or profession may bar sex offenders from working in the trade, profession or occupation. To determine if a registered sex offender is prohibited from working in a particular trade, occupation or profession, the law regulating the trade, occupation or profession must be reviewed. Furthermore, the following prohibition exists for certain sexually violent offenses pursuant to Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Ch. 62.063 where on or after September 1, 2013 an affirmative finding is made that a sexually violent offense had been committed on a victim younger than 14.

– Texas Department of Public Safety

TX Code Crim Pro Art. 62.063.  PROHIBITED EMPLOYMENT.

(b)  A person subject to registration under this chapter because of a reportable conviction or adjudication for which an affirmative finding is entered under Article 42.015(b) or 42A.105(a), as appropriate, may not, for compensation:

(1)  operate or offer to operate a bus;

(2)  provide or offer to provide a passenger taxicab or limousine transportation service;

(3)  provide or offer to provide any type of service in the residence of another person unless the provision of service will be supervised; or

(4)  operate or offer to operate any amusement ride.

Utah

None.

Vermont

None.

Virginia

None.

Washington

None.

West Virginia

None.

Wisconsin

None.

Wyoming

None.

Washington DC

The Metropolitan Police Department does not have the authority to direct where a sex offender may live, work, or attend school. Unless the Courts have placed specific restrictions on the offender’s release, he/she has a right to live wherever he/she chooses.

– Metropolitan Police Department

Guam

Title 9 GCA § 89.15

Any person convicted of a violation of Chapters 25 and 25.1 of this Chapter and/or is required to register as a Sex Offender pursuant to the provisions of this Chapter, may not be employed, directly or through an independent contractor, in any of the following:

(a) a medical, dental or physical therapy facility or clinic while patients are present;

(b) a child care facility while children are present;

(c) a school or learning institution while children are present;

(d) a medical or disabled person transport service while patients are present;

(e) a hospital nursing home or hospice facility while patients are present; or

(f) as an installer or deliverer of services or goods where the employee may be required to enter a private residence.

Northern Mariana Islands

None.

Puerto Rico

None.

U.S. Virgin Islands

None.

Sex Offender Registry Removal

Some states offer the possibility for registrants to be removed from the registry after meeting certain requirements.  Visit the Collateral Consequences Resource Center for a state by state comparison of relief from sex offender registration obligations.

If your state offers a path off the registry, search our directory for a lawyer with experience in registry removal applications.