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What is the difference between tiers for a Maryland sex offender?

A quick look at the sex offender laws in Maryland shows that there are various tiers into which those who have been convicted can be placed. These are known as Tier I, Tier II and Tier III. If you are facing charges for sex-related crimes, it is very important to know how these different levels work, both so that you can know what the charges might look like and so that you can ensure that your rights are protected even with a conviction.

The breakdown basically comes back to what exact crimes you have been charged with. Things like possession of child pornography or misleading domain names on the Internet fall into the category of Tier I offenses. If you have to register on the sex offenders list for things like this, it lasts for 15 years.

For Tier II offenses, you could have been convicted of crimes such as abducting a child who was still below the age of 16, distributing child pornography or soliciting a minor for sexual purposes. When told to register for these Tier II offenses, your name stays on the list for 25 years.

Finally, there are Tier III offenses, such as kidnapping or abducting a child who is less than 12 years old or having sexual relations with an inmate if you work in a correctional institution. For these offenses, you would have to register on the sex offenders list for life; there is no expiration date.

As you can see, the tier that is used is very important when looking at the consequences, so it is crucial that you understand what your conviction means going forward and what legal steps you have to take.

Source: Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, "Sex Offender Registry FAQs" Oct. 12, 2014

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