Sex Offender Laws in Virginia
Sex Offender Registration
In the state of Virginia, all convicted sex offenders must be registered in the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry. It is a federal and state requirement. Being registered curtails the freedom of a sex offender and imposes various other requirements on them.
Type of Sex Offenses in Virginia
Sexual Violent Offense – includes but is not limited to object sexual penetration; abduction; rape and attempted rape; forcible sodomy; aggravated sexual battery and sexual contact (where the victim is under 13 years); production, distribution, financing, etc. of child pornography; marital sexual assault, etc.
Sexual Offense – includes but is not limited to carnal knowledge of a minor; solicitation of prostitution from a minor; commercial sex trafficking; possession of child pornography; use of a communication system to solicit minor, indecent liberty with a minor, etc.
For a complete list, visit https://sex-offender.vsp.virginia.gov/sor/statutes.html
The Adam Walsh Act
The Adam Walsh Act established the Federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). SORNA lays out the three tiers required under federal law. The first tier is reserved for the least severe crimes. Certain convicted sex offenders have to register themselves in the registry. However, registration is not exclusive to sex crimes alone but can also include murder, criminal homicide, and other jurisdiction laws which require sex offenders to register.
Tier I – The offender is required by law to be registered for 15 years, with the possibility of removal from the register after ten years.
Tier II – The offender is required by law to be registered for 25 years, with no possibility of removal during those 25 years.
Tier III – The offender is required by law to be registered for life. For adjudicated juveniles, there might be a possibility of removal after 25 years on the registry. Convicted adults have to stay registered for life.
For more details on SORNA go to -https://www.smart.gov/pdfs/42_usc_index.pdf
Convicted sexual offenders who are mandated to register must do so within three days of being released from prison. They must contact the sheriff or police department in their residential area to submit information, which is then forwarded to the Virginia State Police. Details provided include but are not limited to – name, alias, residential address, employment, and vehicular information. They must also have their photograph taken, finger and palm prints recorded and provide a DNA sample.
Sexual offenders who change their employment or vehicle registration must update these changes in the register within three days. Changes to the email address, instant message or any other chat user ID must be notified to the police within 30 minutes. Moving their residential address requires them to inform the police or sheriff’s department in their new residential area, within three days. Registered sex offenders are moving out of the state, must inform the sheriff or police department where they were registered ten days before the move. Registration renewal is required once every 90 days for those convicted of sexually violent offenses. For other convicted sex offenders, registration renewal is required once a year.
Failure to Register
Under Virginia law, if non-violent sex offenders fail to register or register using false information, it makes them guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, if it the first offense. The penalty imposed is a maximum prison time of 12 months and a fine not exceeding $2,500. Repeat failures to register or provide false information are classified as Class 6 felonies. They carry a sentence of 1 to 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $2,500. Registration renewal is also increased to 180 days for those who require registration renewal once a year.
For violent sex offenders or those convicted of murder, failure to register or providing false information makes them guilty of a Class 6 felony. Any further offenses are classified as Class 5, which carry a prison sentence of 1 to 10 years and a maximum fine of $2,500. Renewal of registration is increased from 90 days to once every 30 days.