If you’re a North Carolina sex offender, then you know that you have to live by certain rules. Not abiding by the directives set forth by the state can land you in a lot of legal hot water, as one Flat Rock, N.C. man recently found out.
A man married to a woman who worked at a North Carolina middle school was arrested, along with his wife, for being on the school campus. Why? Because he was a registered sex offender. It is not legal for anyone who is a convicted sex offender to be on a school campus without express permission.
The couple was seen in a vehicle together, and the police were notified. He was arrested and charged with two felony counts of being unlawfully on school premises as a sex offender. He had previously been convicted in Florida of second-degree sexual assault of a minor. His wife was charged with two felony counts of aiding and abetting a sex offender who is unlawfully on premises.
When you have been convicted of a sex crime and ordered to register as a sex offender, there are certain rules you must follow in your life. Disregarding these restrictions can create a tangle of legal problems. You can face charges that are completely separate from any sex offenses you may have perpetrated in the past – they are crimes all on their own.
Restrictions on Residency for Sex Offenders
In North Carolina, all registered sex offenders cannot reside knowingly within 1,000 feet of a childcare center or school. The only exemptions to this requirement are when the childcare center is within or on 1,000 feet of a school of higher education where the sex offender is registered as a student or is employed. It’s also worth noting that no home of a sex offender can be used as a place to care for children.
A person who is a registered sex offender in North Carolina cannot care for, instruct, or supervise minors. They cannot offer babysitting services or be a care provider for children in their own homes. They also cannot be granted or renew emergency medical services credentials, nor can they be eligible in North Carolina for a funeral license.
Driver’s License Restrictions
No one on the sex offender registry in the state can have a commercial driver’s license with a P or S designation. For regular driver’s licenses, any change in appearance or address must be reported to the local law enforcement offices. And, if they leave the state of North Carolina, they must report their whereabouts to law enforcement in that state, even if they are only visiting.
Previously, it was against the law in North Carolina for a sex offender to use Facebook and other social networking sites that minors are free to join, but that was struck down by the Supreme Court of the United States in 2017. However, they must still disclose their online identities (like usernames) as part of their sex offender registration.
Protected Locations Prohibition
In the state, registered sex offenders who were convicted of rape or other sex offenses against minors are not allowed at any of these locations:
- Childcare centers
- Children’s museums
- Shopping centers
- Fairgrounds, when events are held
- Anywhere minors congregate, such as libraries, swimming pools, or amusement parks when minors are present
Breaking any of these rules can result in arrest and felony charges.
How Long Do Sex Offenders Have to Register?
Sex offender registration in North Carolina usually has to continue for 30 years, but that depends on the offense. If you are convicted of an aggravated offense, have repeat offenses, or are considered a sexually violent predator, then you may be required to register for life. Not only that, but you may also be subject to rules compelling you to verify your address every three months.
For all other sex offenses that lead to sex offender registration, you must register for a minimum of 30 years. However, after 10 years, you may petition the court to terminate your registration requirement.
If you fail to register, fail to notify law enforcement of a change of address, don’t return a verification notice, or submit under false pretenses regarding your information, then you can be charged with a Class F felony.
As you can see, you have to keep track of many imperative details if you are living as a registered sex offender. That’s why it’s important to understand completely what you can and cannot do, as well as the places you can go and the places you cannot.