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Sex Offender Registration and Sex Crimes

In Illinois, as in most states, crimes of a sexual nature are treated as very serious offenses, with harsh and punitive penalties. Aside from the potential jail or prison sentences that a judge might impose, another very serious consequence is being required to register as a sex offender. The requirement to register is enforced by statute, and failure to comply may result in a felony charge.

Depending upon one’s circumstances, a person may be required to register annually over the course of 10 years, or, if convicted of certain offenses, every three months for the term of his or her natural life (if not in custody). Persons that have no fixed place to live are required to register with the local authorities on a weekly basis. If a person subject to the registration requirement moves, he or she must notify and register with the proper authorities within three days of the move.

What Is a Sex Offender?

A sex offender is defined as someone who has been charged with a sex offense, or an attempt to commit the offense, that resulted in a conviction, or a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity after a trial. It also includes individuals found unfit to stand trial - after a "discharge hearing" by a judge, with no jury, they were then found "not guilty by reason of insanity." Those individuals may also have a "finding of no acquittal," or a similar finding if from a foreign jurisdiction, including the U.S.’s Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Sex offenders also include persons declared to be sexually dangerous or sexually violent, and they even include juveniles who were adjudicated delinquent of the offenses enumerated in the statute. Unless otherwise stated farther on in this article, a sex offender generally must register annually for 10 years for the following offenses (or attempts to commit):

  • Child Pornography, Aggravated Child Pornography
  • Indecent Solicitation of a Child
  • Sexual Exploitation of a Child
  • Custodial Sexual Misconduct
  • Sexual Misconduct with a Person with a Disability
  • Promoting Juvenile Prostitution
  • Soliciting for a Juvenile Prostitute
  • Patronizing a Juvenile Prostitute
  • Keeping a Place of Juvenile Prostitution
  • Juvenile Pimping
  • Grooming
  • Traveling to Meet a Minor
  • Criminal Sexual Assault, Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault
  • Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child
  • Criminal Sexual Abuse/Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse

A sex offender is also someone who commits either of the following against a person under the age of 18 while (a) not a parent of the victim (b) sexually motivated, and (c) on or after Jan. 1, 1996:

  • Kidnapping, Aggravated Kidnapping
  • Unlawful Restraint/Aggravated Unlawful Restraint

If the offenses above were committed before Jan. 1, 1996, then they become sex offenses that require registration only when the person is convicted of any felony after July 1, 2011, which triggers statutory requirements to register.

If in a first-degree murder charge, the murder was found by the court to be sexually motivated, then the murderer is branded a sex offender.

Any act of sexual relations between family members, if it occurred on or after June 1, 1997, will result in being registered a sex offender. If the offense occurred before that date, it only becomes a sex offense requiring registration when the person is convicted of any felony after July 1, 2011.

Child Abduction is a sex offense requiring registration, where the person is found guilty of: luring/attempting to lure a child under the age of 16 into a motor vehicle, building, house trailer, or dwelling place without the consent of the parent/lawful custodian for other than a lawful purpose, and the offense occurred on or after Jan. 1, 1998. If it occurred before that date, the person must be convicted of any felony after July 1, 2011 before the registration requirement may be imposed.

A sex offense also includes a violation or attempted violation of the following offenses if committed on or after July 1, 1999:

  • Forcible Detention of person under 18, if sexually motivated
  • Indecent Solicitation of an Adult
  • Soliciting for a Prostitute, if victim is under 18
  • Pandering, if victim is under 18
  • Patronizing a Prostitute, if victim is under 18
  • Pimping, if victim is under 18

If these offenses occurred before July 1, 1999, the person must be convicted of any felony after July 1, 2011 in order to be required to register as a sex offender.

As if that is not enough, the following offenses, if they occurred on or after Aug. 22, 2002, are deemed sex offenses:

  • Public Indecency for a third or subsequent conviction
  • A violation of the Wrongs to Children Act permitting sexual abuse of a child

When the offense occurred before Aug. 22, 2002, then a person must be convicted of any felony after July 1, 2011, in order to trigger the registration requirement.

Sexually Dangerous Persons

In Illinois, one is required to register for the rest of one’s natural life when declared a sexually dangerous person pursuant to the Sexually Dangerous Persons Act (found in our Criminal Code under chapter 725, Illinois Compiled Statutes, section 205/0.01 et. seq.); or a sexually violent person under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act (725 ILCS 207/1 et. seq.); or is found to be a sexual predator as defined in the Sex Offender Registration Act, 730 ILCS 150/2(E). As stated, one must register as often as every 90 days for the rest of one’s natural life.

The Sexually Dangerous Persons Act defines a sexually dangerous person as anyone suffering from a mental disorder for at least one year before a petition was filed against the person (the proceedings under this Act are civil in nature, not criminal), along with criminal propensities to commit sex offenses, and who has demonstrated propensities to commit acts of sexual assault or molestation of children. A finding after a hearing results in mandatory lifetime registration. One need not have ever been convicted of a crime to be subject to this requirement.

Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act

Under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act, if a person has been charged with a sexually violent offense, which resulted in a conviction (or adjudication as a juvenile), or a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity and a propensity to act sexually violent, then the lifetime registration requirement applies. Sexually violent offenses are defined by statute as:

  • Criminal Sexual Assault
  • Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault
  • Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child
  • Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse
  • Indecent Solicitation of a Child
  • Child Pornography

Under the older versions of the Criminal Code, the following are considered sexually violent offenses:

  • Rape
  • Deviate Sexual Assault
  • Indecent Liberties with a Child
  • First-Degree Murder, if sexually motivated

Sexual Predators

If a person is found to be a sexual predator under the Act, then he or she must register for life. A sexual predator is defined as anyone convicted (or if a minor, adjudicated delinquent) of the following offenses, or fitting the following circumstances:

  • Luring of a Minor
  • Juvenile Pimping
  • Keeping a Place of Juvenile Prostitution
  • Child Exploitation
  • Child Pornography/Aggravated Child Pornography
  • Criminal Sexual Assault/Aggravated Sexual Assault
  • Predatory Sexual Assault of a Child
  • Ritualized Abuse of a Child
  • First-Degree Murder when victim is under 18 years old, and offender is 17 or older
  • Unlawful Restraint/Aggravated Unlawful Restraint
  • Child Abduction
  • Second or subsequent conviction of any sex offense that requires registration under the Act
  • Declared a sexually dangerous or sexually violent person

It should be stated, as before, that not only a conviction or adjudication for these offenses will result in a finding of being a sexual predator. One can be found not guilty by reason of insanity and be subject to the lifetime registration requirement.

Complex Sex Registration Rules Apply

Once it is determined that registration under the Act is required, it is then incumbent on the offender to comply with the very complex rules that apply. One must register in every place that he or she plans to reside for more than three days consecutively, and when one moves, he or she must register within three days of said move. One must register with the chief of police of the municipality where he or she is residing. And if the sex offender is a foreign student, he or she is required to register at home, with the chief of security at the school as well as the police chief for the municipality, or sheriff’s office if applicable. Registration is required to be done in person, and the following must be provided:

  • A current photograph, such as a passport-type photo;
  • Current address and telephone numbers, including cell phones;
  • Current place of employment, including telephone number of the employer;
  • Name of any school one is attending;
  • Email addresses, as well as any and all identities used in chat rooms, instant messaging or other Internet communications used by the offender;
  • Any and all URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) registered to, or used by, the offender;
  • Any and all Internet sites or blogs used by the offender or maintained by the offender;
  • Any prior extensions of the registration requirement, including the reasons why the extensions were granted, and the date the offender was notified;
  • A copy of the terms and conditions of parole or mandatory supervised release signed by the offender and given to him or her by the supervising officer;
  • Plate registration numbers for every vehicle registered to the offender;
  • Information on the underlying offense - county of jurisdiction, offender’s age at time committed, the age of the victim at the time; and
  • Any marks, scars, tattoos, or anything distinguishable located on the offender’s person.

In addition to the information required above, the offender must, unless deemed indigent, pay the required registration fee each and every time.

Restrictions on Where to Live and Work

Among the many negative consequences of being a registered sex offender, aside from the stigma, are the severe restrictions on one’s ability to live in certain locations, to work in certain places of employment, or to engage in certain activities.

Offenders cannot live within 500 feet of a school building or property, day care facility, or within 500 feet of a public park (including forest preserves). They cannot enter onto the property of a school without the express permission of the school administration, and only if the offender is a parent of a child who is attending the school, and only for purposes of attending a conference regarding the child’s education and/or welfare. Offenders cannot be within 100 feet of a designated pick up and drop off for children (such as a school bus stop).

Offenders may not loiter in or around areas where children are playing, and they may not take photographs of children other than their own. Also, they may not use any social networking website while they are serving a sentence of probation, or while on parole or mandatory supervised release upon serving their prison term. Although sex offenders may reside with children, they must inform the local law enforcement authorities of the presence of any child under the age of 18 that is not their child.

Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act Court Challenges

Whether or not one agrees with the purpose and principles behind the Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act, it is here to stay. Our courts have repeatedly denied constitutional challenges to the legislation, holding that an important public interest is being served and protected when offenders are closely monitored and tracked.

Rather than acknowledge that the Act amounts to additional punishment for a crime that reaches far beyond any sentence imposed, our courts have held that registration is a "collateral consequence" of being convicted of a sex offense, and that the requirement is not an 8th Amendment "cruel and unusual punishment."

Speak to an Experienced Criminal Defense Team

Anyone charged with committing a sex offense, or any criminal offense for that matter, needs the services of experienced, knowledgeable, and aggressive Chicago criminal attorneys to defend their rights, their freedoms, and their names.

The lawyers at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC have years and years of experience, and have defended these types of cases numerous times, with proven results. Call our offices today at (800) 996-4824 to schedule an in-office, completely confidential, absolutely no-cost-or-obligation consultation with one of our lawyers. With offices in Chicago and Arlington Heights, we are ready to assist you. Call today.

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