Click through the hundreds of photographs of sex offenders in the North Carolina online sex offender registry, and the effect is chilling.
The faces of men and women alike stare back at you, some of them older, many of them young. Some of them wear blank or undecipherable expressions, while others wear undeniable expressions of fear, anger, and shame. Click on a photo of one of the offenders, and you’ll be taken to a page with detailed information on their appearance, address, and criminal history.
This is the fate of sex offender convicts in North Carolina. And having your face emblazoned on our state’s very public online registry is only one of the many serious penalties that follows a sex crime conviction.If you are convicted of a sex crime, the consequences go far beyond a normal conviction.Click To Tweet
As a convicted sex offender, you face lengthy, perhaps lifelong prison and probation sentences. You may lose your right to vote for a period of time, and be barred from possessing or owning firearms. You are likely to lose your job, and will be prohibited from serving in the armed forces or professions that prohibit convicted felons.
But while all these consequences are harsh and life-altering, many people find sex offender registry to be the most difficult and devastating consequence of all.
North Carolina’s Sex Offender Registry Program
The vast majority of sexual assault offenses require convicts to register with the Sex Offender Registry program in North Carolina. If you are required to register, you will typically remain in the registry for a minimum of 30 years. For those convicted for multiple offenses or deemed sexually violent predators, lifetime registration is required.
Once registered in the program, you will be required to:
- Re-register every time you move
- Register with the county where you work or attend school
- Abstain from using any social media sites or online chat services
- Reveal all of your email addresses and online screen names to your county sheriff
- Register with the online public database
A Closer Look at the Public Online Database
The public online sex registry database can be accessed by anyone with a computer or smart phone. The public database has a variety of informational and interactive features, including:
Search. With the search function, users can find information on sex offenders in their area by searching by street, city, or zip code. Users can also search by categories such as name, age, and current status—such as whether they are considered a sexually dangerous predator or a repeat offender.
Interactive map. The search function also allows you to search by longitude and latitude, taking you to an interactive map displaying sex offenders across the state. By moving your mouse around the map, you can see photographs and details of all registered offenders. Orange arrows pinpoint where the offenders are located on the map.
In-depth profiles. Once you locate an offender, you click on their picture to access a detailed profile containing information on the offender’s home address, age, race, and appearance. The profiles include color mug shots, as well as details on their offenses and sentencing.
Alerts. The site also offers viewers the option of registering for email or phone alerts. Participants receive alerts as soon as a sex offender registers at an address near their home or child’s school, and can even request alerts regarding a certain offender.
Mobile app. Visitors to the online sex offender registry site can download an app to their iPhone or Android device, allowing them to locate sex offenders wherever they are. Using the app, participants can search for registered sex offenders by GPS location or address.
Access to the national registry. The North Carolina online registry site also directs interested users to the national sex offender registry. With the national registry, you can search for offenders across the country by name or location.
Don’t risk having your name placed on this very public registry. The impact of becoming a registered sex offender may follow you the rest of your life, hindering your job, career, and personal relationships. If you are facing any type of sex crime charge, you can’t afford to gamble with your future—contact a sex crimes defense attorney as soon as time allows.
A good attorney will listen to your situation with empathy and without judgement before helping you compose an aggressive strategy for defense. Powerful representation may be the only thing standing between you and prison time, probation, and the life-long humiliation of having your name displayed prominently on North Carolina’s sex offender database.
About the Author
Attorney Mike Schlosser represents victims of personal injury, those charged with a crime, as well as those facing traffic charges. A former Guilford County, North Carolina District Attorney, Schlosser has been in private practice at the Law Firm of Schlosser & Pritchett since 1983 and has been a member of the North Carolina State Bar since 1973.