Maryland Sex Offender Registration Requirements

For most criminal offenses, individuals' punishments end once they have fully served their sentences. However, this isn't always true in the case of sex crimes. In Maryland, everyone convicted of sexually based offenses must register as sex offenders.

Maryland sex offender registration laws apply to anyone convicted of a sexual offense. In addition to being found guilty at trial, the law's definition of "convicted" also includes entering a guilty or "no contest" plea, being granted probation before judgment and being found not criminally responsible by reason of insanity.

Maryland's sex offender registration laws also apply to people who were convicted of sex crimes in other states and later moved to Maryland. Non-Maryland residents who seek to work or go to school in the state must register as well.

Sex offenders who fail to properly register can face up to three years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

The Public Can Access Sex Offenders' Personal Information

In some cases, a Maryland sex crimes defense attorney can help people charged with sexually based offenses avoid sex offender registration. This can be a significant benefit, given the fact that registered sex offenders must disclose so much personal information to the public.

Every registered Maryland sex offender has a public profile that lists the following information:

  • The offender's full name, age and photograph, along with all aliases
  • The offender's home address
  • The offender's workplace or educational institution
  • A description of the offender's vehicle, including make, model, color and license plate number
  • Both a legal and plain language description of the crimes for which the offender was convicted
  • The dates and locations of the offender's convictions

Depending on the severity of the crime committed, the offender will be required to register for either 15 years, 25 years or life. The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services publishes a list of sex offenses and their corresponding severity tiers.

Registries Limit Offenders' Ability to Make a New Start

Nearly every state has expanded its sex offender registration laws in recent years. As a result, an increasingly large number of people - many convicted of non-violent and non-predatory offenses - are becoming subject to the public shaming that comes along with sex offender registration.

Unlike other convicted criminals, sex offenders don't get a chance to start over fresh after they have served their sentences. Instead, their crimes follow them and may impede their abilities to secure housing or employment. Even worse, some registered sex offenders may become the targets of harassment as a result of having personal information posted online.

If you are charged with a Maryland sex crime, talk to your attorney early on about possible ways to avoid sex offender registration requirements.