Every service member facing sex related charges has questions about sex offender registration. The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 created a national sex offender registration system called the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). Each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, and recognized Indian tribes had to comply with the act.
It is a federal crime to knowingly fail to register in the jurisdiction that you reside, are employed, or attend school. Military law has undergone so many changes, that many people have legitimate questions as to whether their charges require registration. Military defense lawyers often return to the default answer of "check with a lawyer in your state."
Unfortunately, the law was well-intentioned, but the politicians cast a wide-net. Many service members facing minor charges find themselves facing possible sex offender registration.
Generally, Department of Defense Instruction 1325.07, Appendix 4 to Enclosure 2 contains the list of registrable military offenses. The law, again, has undergone significant changes over time and consultation is still advisable if you have registration questions.
Additionally, many states have Romeo and Juliet statutes that are intended to unnecessarily require young men to register in cases involving consensual acts with other young people under the statute. Some of those statutes may require specific findings of fact from the Military Judge. It is helpful to have an attorney experienced in handling cases where the client may eventually reside in a state with a Romeo and Juliet type statute. Contact us today for more information.
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