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.

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.

State Issued ID Labeled Map

9 states and territories require a state-issued ID to be labeled.

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.

StateIs a state-issued ID required to be labeled?
AlabamaYes, with a designation known to law enforcement
AlaskaNo
ArizonaYes, with a designation known to law enforcement
ArkansasNo
CaliforniaNo
ColoradoNo
ConnecticutNo
DelawareYes, with a code under Restrictions.
FloridaYes, “SEXUAL PREDATOR” or for Sex Offenders, “943.0435, F.S.”
GeorgiaNo
HawaiiNo
IdahoNo
IllinoisNo
IndianaNo
IowaNo
KansasYes
KentuckyNo
LouisianaNo*
MaineNo
MarylandNo
MassachusettsNo
MichiganNo
MinnesotaNo
MississippiYes
MissouriNo
MontanaNo
NebraskaNo
NevadaNo
New HampshireNo
New JerseyNo
New MexicoNo
New YorkNo
North CarolinaNo
North DakotaNo
OhioNo
OklahomaYes
OregonNo
PennsylvaniaNo
Rhode IslandNo
South CarolinaNo
South DakotaNo
TennesseeYes, with a designation known to law enforcement
TexasNo
UtahNo
VermontNo
VirginiaNo
WashingtonNo
West VirginiaYes, with a code under Restrictions
WisconsinNo
WyomingNo
Washington DCNo
GuamNo
NMINo
Puerto RicoNo
US Virgin IslandsNo

Alabama

Yes, with a designation known to law enforcement.

AL Code § 15-20A-18

(b) The adult sex offender shall obtain from the Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency a valid driver license or identification card bearing a designation that enables law enforcement officers to identify the licensee as a sex offender within 14 days of his or her initial registration following release, initial registration upon entering the state to become a resident, or immediately following his or her next registration after July 1, 2011.

Alaska

No.

Arizona

Yes, with a designation known to law enforcement.

All sex offenders are required to obtain a credential from the MVD annually, which looks identical to any other license except when a law enforcement official checks the status of the credential it indicates that the individual is subject to sex offender registration. Failure to obtain this credential is a Class 6 felony with a mandatory $250 assessment.

– Arizona Department of Public Safety, Sex Offender Compliance Unit

A.R.S. § 13-3821.

J. On the person’s initial registration and every year after the person’s initial registration during the month of the person’s birthdate, the person shall report in person to the sheriff of the county in which the person is registered and confirm in writing all information required by this section, any required online identifier and the name of any website or internet communication service where the identifier is being used and the person shall obtain a new nonoperating identification license or a driver license from the motor vehicle division in the department of transportation and shall carry a valid nonoperating identification license or a driver license. Notwithstanding sections 28-3165 and 28-3171, the license is valid for one year from the date of issuance, and the person shall submit to the department of transportation proof of the person’s address and place of residence. The motor vehicle division shall annually update the person’s address and photograph and shall make a copy of the photograph available to the department of public safety or to any law enforcement agency. The motor vehicle division shall provide to the department of public safety daily address updates for persons required to register pursuant to this section.

A.R.S. § 13-3824.

B. Notwithstanding subsection A of this section, a person who fails to comply with section 13-3821, subsection J is guilty of a class 6 felony and, in addition to any other penalty prescribed by law, the court shall order the person to pay an additional assessment of two hundred fifty dollars.  This assessment is not subject to any surcharge.  The court shall transmit the monies received pursuant to this subsection to the county treasurer.  The county treasurer shall transmit the monies received to the state treasurer.  The state treasurer shall deposit the monies received in the state general fund.  Notwithstanding any other law, the court shall not waive the assessment imposed pursuant to this subsection.

Arkansas

No.

California

No.

Colorado

No.

Connecticut

No.

Delaware

Yes, with a code under Restrictions.

21 DE Code § 2718

(e) If an applicant is required to register as a sex offender pursuant to § 4120 of Title 11, as amended, for a felony conviction the sentencing court shall take possession of the driver’s license and shall tender to the person being sentenced a temporary license, directing that the person report to the Division of Motor Vehicle for a replacement driver’s license with the following code under restrictions: Y indicating sex offender. The person shall tender to the Division of Motor Vehicle a fee of $5.00 for the replacement license. Upon a person being removed from the registration requirement, the Division of Motor Vehicle shall issue a license without the sex offender code printed upon the license at no charge. The sentencing court shall forward to the Division all licenses that it receives, along with a copy of the sentencing order.

Florida

Yes.

FL Stat § 322.141

(3) All licenses for the operation of motor vehicles or identification cards originally issued or reissued by the department to persons who are designated as sexual predators under s. 775.21 or subject to registration as sexual offenders under s. 943.0435 or s. 944.607, or who have a similar designation or are subject to a similar registration under the laws of another jurisdiction, shall have on the front of the license or identification card the following:

(a) For a person designated as a sexual predator under s. 775.21 or who has a similar designation under the laws of another jurisdiction, the marking “SEXUAL PREDATOR.”

(b) For a person subject to registration as a sexual offender under s. 943.0435 or s. 944.607, or subject to a similar registration under the laws of another jurisdiction, the marking “943.0435, F.S.”

Georgia

No.

Hawaii

No.

Idaho

No.

Illinois

No.

Indiana

No.

Iowa

No.

Kansas

Yes.

K.S.A. 8-1325a.

(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of K.S.A. 8-1325 and 8-1329, and amendments thereto, an identification card issued to an offender, as defined in K.S.A. 22-4902, and amendments thereto, who is required to register pursuant to the Kansas offender registration act, K.S.A. 22-4901 et seq., and amendments thereto, shall expire on the first birthday of the applicant following the date of original issue. Renewal of any identification card issued under this section shall be made for a term of one year and shall expire in a like manner as the originally issued identification card, unless surrendered earlier.

(b) Identification cards issued under this section shall be readily distinguishable indicating that such person is a registered offender.

Kentucky

No.

Louisiana

No.  The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled against IDs being labeled with the words “Sex Offender” so the statute LA Rev Stat § 40:1321 is not currently enforced.  It is unknown at this time if it will be repealed or revised to require a more subtle code known to law enforcement.

LA Rev Stat § 40:1321

J.(1) Any person required to register as a sex offender with the Louisiana Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information, as required by R.S. 15:542 et seq., shall obtain a special identification card issued by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections which shall contain a restriction code declaring that the holder is a sex offender. This special identification card shall include the words “sex offender” in all capital letters which are orange in color and shall be valid for a period of one year from the date of issuance. This special identification card shall be carried on the person at all times by the individual required to register as a sex offender.

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 No.

Maryland

No.

Massachusetts

No.

Michigan

No.

Minnesota

No.

Mississippi

Yes.

Miss. Code Ann. § 45-35-3

(2) The new, renewal or duplicate identification card of a person required to register as a sex offender pursuant to Section 45-33-25 shall bear a designation identifying the cardholder as a sex offender.

Missouri

No.

Montana

No.

Nebraska

No.

Nevada

No.

New Hampshire

No.

New Jersey

No.

New Mexico

No.

New York

No.

North Carolina

No.

North Dakota

No.

Ohio

No.

Oklahoma

Yes.

47 OK Stat § 47-6-111

E. 1. The Department shall develop a procedure whereby a person applying for an original, renewal or replacement Class A, B, C or D driver license or identification card who is required to register as a convicted sex offender with the Department of Corrections pursuant to the provisions of the Sex Offenders Registration Act and who the Department of Corrections designates as an aggravated or habitual offender pursuant to subsection J of Section 584 of Title 57 of the Oklahoma Statutes shall be issued a license or card bearing the words “Sex Offender”.

Oregon

No.

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.

No.

Rhode Island

No.

South Carolina

No.

South Dakota

No.

Tennessee

Yes, with a designation known to law enforcement.

TN Code § 40-39-213

(a) Every offender required to register pursuant to this part who is a resident of this state, and who is eligible, shall be responsible for obtaining a valid driver license or photo identification card that has been properly designated by the department of safety pursuant to § 55-50-353. Every offender eligible to receive the license or identification card shall always have the license or identification card in the offender’s possession. If the offender is ineligible to be issued a driver license or photo identification card, the department shall provide the offender some other form of identification card or documentation that, if it is kept in the offender’s possession, will satisfy the requirements of this section and § 55-50-353; such identification must be kept in the offender’s possession at all times. If any offender is determined to be indigent, an identification card or other documentation in lieu of an identification card shall be issued to the offender at no cost.

 

TN Code § 55-50-353

When the department issues or renews a driver license or photo identification card to a sexual offender, violent sexual offender or violent juvenile sexual offender as required by § 40-39-213, the driver license or photo identification card shall bear a designation sufficient to enable a law enforcement officer to identify the bearer of the license or card as a sexual offender, violent sexual offender or violent juvenile sexual offender.

Texas

No.

Utah

No.

Vermont

No.

Virginia

No.

Washington

No.

West Virginia

Yes, with a code under Restrictions.

WV Code § 17B-2-3

(b) The division may not issue a license or nondriver identification card to any person required to register as a sexually violent predator pursuant to the provisions of article twelve, chapter fifteen, unless he or she obtains a driver’s license or nondriver identification card coded by the commissioner to denote that he or she is a sexually violent predator as follows:

(1) If a person is judicially determined to be a sexually violent predator after the effective date of this section, the sentencing court shall order the person or the agency with custody of the person’s driver’s license or nondriver identification card to surrender said license or card to the court. The sentencing court shall forward to the division all driver’s licenses or nondriver identification cards that it receives pursuant to this section, along with a copy of the sentencing order. If a person is registered as a sexually violent predator pursuant to section nine, article twelve, chapter fifteen of this code after the effective date of this section as amended and reenacted during the first extraordinary session of the 2006 Legislature, the person shall surrender their driver’s license or nondriver identification card to the division within ten days of their registration with the State Police. Any replacement driver’s license or nondriver identification card issued to the person under this section must be coded by the commissioner to denote the person is a sexually violent predator and shall be issued at no cost to the person.

Wisconsin

No.

Wyoming

No.

Washington DC

No.

Guam

No.

Northern Mariana Islands

No.

Puerto Rico

No.

U.S. Virgin Islands

No.

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.