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Is ignoring the sex offender registration process a crime?

After someone in Maryland has been convicted of a crime of a sexual nature, he or she may have to register on a database set up to track all sex offenders. This information can then be viewed by those who wish to know more about them, such as people who live near them. If they decide not to register, is it a crime?

The short answer is that it absolutely is a crime for someone not to put their name on the sex offender registration database, if they fail to do so knowingly. Also, if the records need to be updated -- such as when someone in the database moves to a new address -- it is also a crime to fail to provide the updated location in the file as is necessary. Not only is this a crime for someone in Maryland, but it is also a federal crime.

The maximum jail sentence for someone who does not register willingly is ten years; however, the amount of time that they actually get could vary from one case to the next, as could the amount of time that they have to serve. Additionally, they may have to pay fines to go along with the jail time.

The sentencing is more strict for those who commit violent crimes. If someone is convicted of a violent federal crime and they also did not register or update the registry, they might end up with as many as 30 years behind bars.

Anyone who has been charged with this type of a crime must understand what is legally required of them so that they do not end up committing another crime. A legal professional is a good source to turn to with question's regarding one's registry status.

Source: US Department of Justice, "Citizen's Guide to U.S. Federal Law on Sex Offender Registration" Sep. 10, 2014

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