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What Are The Penalties For Failing To Register On The Michigan Sex Offender Registry?

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One of the consequences of being convicted of a sex crime is that you may be required to list your name on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry. The burden is on the sex offender to appear at the police station as required by law, pay the required fee and update personal information as required. The length of time and the frequency that someone has to register depends on the type of offense that they were convicted of. Sex offenders will be listed on one of three tiers on the registry:

  • TIER I OFFENDERS must register FOR 15 YEARS and must report to law enforcement ONCE PER YEAR to verify their address.
  • TIER II OFFENDERS must register FOR 25 YEARS and must report to law enforcement TWO TIMES PER YEAR to verify their address.
  • TIER III OFFENDERS must register FOR LIFE and must report to law enforcement FOUR TIMES PER YEAR to verify their address.

The failure to register as required by law can result in substantial criminal penalties including additional fines, jail or even prison (even if you have completely served your sentence for the underlying offense that resulted in having to register).

FAILURE TO COMPLY WTH SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION ACT

  • When required to register, offenders must provide all of the following information:
  1. The individual's legal name and any aliases, nicknames, ethnic or tribal names, or other names by which the individual is or has been known. MCL 28.727(1)(a).
  2. The individual's social security number and any social security numbers or alleged social security numbers previously used by the individual. MCL 28.727(1)(b).
  3. The individual's date of birth and any alleged dates of birth previously used by the individual. MCL 28.727(1)(c).
  4. The address where the individual resides or will reside. If the individual does not have a residential address, information under this subsection shall identify the location or area used or to be used by the individual in lieu of a residence or, if the individual is homeless, the village, city, or township where the person spends or will spend the majority of his or her time. MCL 28.727(1)(d).
  5. The name and address of any place of temporary lodging used or to be used by the individual during any period in which the individual is away, or is expected to be away, from his or her residence for more than 7 days. MCL 28.727(1)(e).
  6. The name and address of each of the individual's employers. MCL 28.727(1)(f).
  7. The name and address of any school being attended by the individual and any school that has accepted the individual as a student that he or she plans to attend. MCL 28.727(1)(g).
  8. All telephone numbers registered to the individual or routinely used by the individual. MCL 28.727(1)(h).
  9. All electronic mail addresses and instant message addresses assigned to the individual or routinely used by the individual and all login names or other identifiers used by the individual when using any electronic mail address or instant messaging system. MCL 28.727(1)(i).
  10. The license plate number, registration number, and description of any motor vehicle, aircraft, or vessel owned or regularly operated by the individual and the location at which the motor vehicle, aircraft, or vessel is habitually stored or kept. MCL 28.727(1)(j).
  11. The individual's driver license number or state personal identification card number. MCL 28.727(1)(k).
  12. A digital copy of the individual's passport and other immigration documents. MCL 28.727(1)(l).
  13. The individual's occupational and professional licensing information, including any license that authorizes the individual to engage in any occupation, profession, trade, or business. MCL 28.727(1)(m).
  14. The individual's fingerprints if not already on file with the police department and the individual's palm prints. MCL 28.727(1)(q).
  • In addition, sex offenders must report to law enforcement updated information WITHIN THREE DAYS AFTER any of the following occurs:
  1. The individual changes or vacates his or her residence or domicile. MCL 28.725(1)(a).
  2. The individual changes his or her place of employment, or employment is discontinued. MCL 28.725(1)(b).
  3. The individual enrolls as a student with an institution of higher education, or enrollment is discontinued. MCL 28.725(1)(c).
  4. The individual changes his or her name. MCL 28.725(1)(d).
  5. The individual intends to temporarily reside at any place other than his or her residence for more than 7 days. MCL 28.725(1)(e).
  6. The individual establishes any electronic mail or instant message address, or any other designations used in internet communications or postings. MCL 28.725(1)(f).
  7. The individual purchases or begins to regularly operate any vehicle, and when ownership or operation of the vehicle is discontinued. MCL 28.725(1)(g).
  • In addition, sex offenders must observe the following rules regarding change of residence and travel:
  1. An individual required to be registered under this act who is a resident of this state shall report in person and notify the registering authority having jurisdiction where his or her residence or domicile is located immediately before he or she changes his or her domicile or residence to another state. The individual shall indicate the new state and, if known, the new address. MCL 28.725(6).
  2. An individual required to be registered under this act who is a resident of this state shall report in person and notify the registering authority having jurisdiction where his or her residence or domicile is located not later than 21 days before he or she changes his or her domicile or residence to another country or travels to another country for more than 7 days. The individual shall state the new country of residence or country of travel and the address of his or her new domicile or residence or place of stay, if known. MCL 28.725(7).
  3. An individual required to register must provide an address for his or her proposed place of residence to the Michigan Department of Corrections or the county sheriff before release from prison or jail. MCL 28.725(3) and MCL 28.725(4).
  • An individual required to be registered under this act who willfully violates this act is guilty of a felony punishable as follows:
  1. If the individual has no prior convictions for a violation of this act, by imprisonment for not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both. MCL 28.725(1)(a).
  2. If the individual has 1 prior conviction for a violation of this act, by imprisonment for not more than 7 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both. MCL 28.725(1)(b).
  3. If the individual has 2 or more prior convictions for violations of this act, by imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both. MCL 28.725(1)(c).
  4. The court shall revoke the probation of an individual placed on probation who willfully violates this act. MCL 28.729(5).
  5. The court shall revoke the youthful trainee status of an individual assigned to youthful trainee status who willfully violates this act. MCL 28.729(6).
  6. The parole board shall rescind the parole of an individual released on parole who willfully violates this act. MCL 28.729(7).

FAILURE TO VERIFY SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION INFORMATION

  • A person required to register under the Michigan Sex Offender Registry has all of the following duties:
  1. When an individual appears to register as required by law (the frequency depends on the tier), he or she must review all registration information for accuracy. MCL 28.725a(4).
  2. An individual required to be registered under this act shall maintain either a valid operator's or chauffeur's license issued under the Michigan vehicle code or an official state personal identification card with the individual's current address. MCL 28.725a(7).
  3. An individual registered under this act who is incarcerated shall report to the secretary of state under this subsection immediately after he or she is released to have his or her digitalized photograph taken. Unless the person is a nonresident, the photograph shall be used on the individual's operator's or chauffeur's license or official state personal identification card. MCL 28.725a(8).
  • An individual who willfully fails to comply with any of these conditions is guilty of a high court misdemeanor punishable by to 2 years in state prison or a fine up to $2,000.00, or both. MCL 28.729(2). In addition:
  1. The court shall revoke the probation of an individual placed on probation who willfully violates this act. MCL 28.729(5).
  2. The court shall revoke the youthful trainee status of an individual assigned to youthful trainee status who willfully violates this act. MCL 28.729(6).
  3. The parole board shall rescind the parole of an individual released on parole who willfully violates this act. MCL 28.729(7).

FAILURE TO SIGN REGISTRATION AND NOTICE

  • The individual shall sign a registration and notice. However, the registration and notice shall be forwarded to the department regardless of whether the individual signs it or pays the registration fee required. MCL 28.727(4).
  • An individual who willfully fails to sign a registration and notice as provided in MCL 28.727(4) is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail or a fine up to $1,000.00, or both. MCL 28.729(3). In addition:
  1. The court shall revoke the probation of an individual placed on probation who willfully violates this act. MCL 28.729(5).
  2. The court shall revoke the youthful trainee status of an individual assigned to youthful trainee status who willfully violates this act. MCL 28.729(6).
  3. The parole board shall rescind the parole of an individual released on parole who willfully violates this act. MCL 28.729(7).

FAILURE TO PAY REGISTRATION FEE

  • The individual must pay a $50.00 registration fee at initial registry and then annually following the year of initial registration, with the sum of the payments to not exceed $550.00. MCL 28.725a(6).
  • An individual who willfully refuses or fails to pay the registration fee within 90 days of the date the individual is required to report is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail. MCL 28.729(4). In addition:
  1. The court shall revoke the probation of an individual placed on probation who willfully violates this act. MCL 28.729(5).
  2. The court shall revoke the youthful trainee status of an individual assigned to youthful trainee status who willfully violates this act. MCL 28.729(6).
  3. The parole board shall rescind the parole of an individual released on parole who willfully violates this act. MCL 28.729(7).

You can be sure that the police and the prosecutor will aggressively enforce even minor violations of the Sex Offender Registry Act. Since sex offenders are not politically popular, Michigan's elected judges are not afraid to mete out harsh sentences even when the lack of compliance was trivial (e.g. address was changed four days after moving instead of three). Ignorance of these requirements is not a defense. However, a skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate a favorable outcome with the prosecutor if the facts show that the sex offender actually did comply with the act or that the violation was due to some unique factor outside of the sex offender's control. There is simply too much at stake to rely on anything but the best legal representation in your corner.

If you or a loved one is accused of violating the Michigan Sex Offender Registry or any other criminal act, then do not hesitate to contact the experienced lawyers at Kershaw, Vititoe & Jedinak PLC to start your aggressive defense today.

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