Federal Sex Offender Failure to Notify


Title 1 of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 established the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, also known as SORNA. SORNA’s purpose is to close the loopholes and gaps that existed under previous laws, which has resulted in the strengthening of the national sex offender registration network.

The purpose of this network is simply to ensure public safety. Sex offenders are monitored following their release into society and the registration system is a vital part of this monitoring. That is because the registration contains important information about the sex offender to federal and local law enforcement, as well as the public. The information provided includes:

  • Current location
  • Work location
  • Past offenses
  • Current photo

Failure to Register or Update Registration

Failure to register as a sex offender following release from incarceration is a federal offense.

Every time a sex offender moves to a new home, he or she is required to update their registration in that jurisdiction. If they change jobs or even schools, this information must be provided. Offenders convicted of failure to register or notify face serious statutory penalties as defined by 18 U.S.C. § 2250. Even a state convicted sex offender can be prosecuted under the federal statute if the offender consciously fails to register or update their registration.

A person is also in violation if they engage in foreign travel, interstate travel, or enter or leave an Indian reservation.

The penalties for failure to register includes up to 10 years in prison. If an offender purposely fails to update or register and commits another violent federal offense, he or she could face up to 30 years in prison.

How Failure to Register or Notify Is Pursued

If a sex offender fails to notify of a change in their status, the FBI and the High Technology Investigative Unit can become involved. There are offices located at various places in the U.S. that investigate and prosecute sex offenders who fail to comply with SORNA.

It is relatively easy for those who fail to register to get caught due to the ongoing training of law enforcement officials, prosecutors, investigators, and other involved parties. In other words, SORNA is heavily enforced to minimize the risks to public safety as much as possible. Registrants also have a duty to update their required information and the failure to do so may also create problems including possible prosecution.  Any time this occurs, it’s important for that individual to seek legal guidance in order to determine the best possible course of action. If there was a clerical error or an honest misunderstanding or mistake, it’s imperative that counsel be retained under such circumstances to advocate on the registrant’s behalf. Finally, there have been amendments to some state’s registration laws that may relieve some registrant’s from their duty to register.

Contact the Law Office of Richard S. Berne In Portland, Maine

If you’re facing criminal charges that may implicate sex registration requirements or have issues regarding registration , please contact Portland, Maine based criminal defense lawyer Richard S. Berne today for a free initial consultation.