A guide to understanding the North Carolina sex offender registry

Find out more about the sex offender registry in North Carolina. Learn why people are put on the list and how you can find out who is on it in this article.

The North Carolina sex offender registry is something that most people are aware of, but that they know little about. This list of offenders is designed to protect the public and ensure those on it do not break the law again. The information collected is used to monitor them, and the public is given access to the list. However, the sex offender registry is often confusing for the public because it is not entirely clear exactly what it is and what it does. Here are some common questions with answers to clear up confusion.

What do the different tiers mean?

The list of offenders on the registry provides some insight into the crimes that put the person on the list. They are arranged by tiers. According to the University of North Carolina, there are three federal tiers used. Tier three is the most severe and is reserved for those people who will be on the list for their whole life. It contains those who have committed or conspired to commit aggravated sexual abuse, abusive sexual conduct, kidnapping of a minor or is a multiple offender at the lower two tiers. Tier two individuals report for 25 years. The offenses committed include sex trafficking and related activities, abusive sexual contact or use of a minor is solicitation or pornography. Tier one offenders also move to tier two with repeat offenses. Tier one is like the catch-all. It includes anyone not assigned to the other two tiers.

What information is required when registering?

The Courier-Tribune notes that when a person registers, it is under a court order after conviction. The person must provide information about his or herself that includes personal information, such as birthdate, address, height and weight. In addition, the person must be fingerprinted and photographed.

What restrictions are placed on those on the list?

There are many restrictions placed on an offender on the registry because the idea is to protect the public from offenders who may commit additional sexual crimes. These restrictions include not being able to leave near places where children are frequently found, such as playgrounds and schools or event spaces, such as ball fields. The person also cannot work around children. Anyone on the registry cannot have a commercial driver's license with an S or P endorsement. The person has to report any changes in his or her life to law enforcement, including changes in appearance or change of address. If the person leaves the state, they may have to register in that other state, even if only visiting.

Who is put on the list?

This is one of the most misunderstood aspects of the registry. Not everyone on the list has committed a sexual crime. Other offenses against minors, such as kidnapping, can also land someone on the list. It also can include people who have viewed or shared pornography. However, many of those on the list have indeed committed sexual offenses.

Where can I get more information?

The registry is maintained by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. The public can access the registry and get information from this agency. If you want legal assistance in regards to the registry, you might want to contact an attorney, such as Roberts Law Group, PLLC.

North Carolina vs. M.W.
Charge: Charge: Robbery with A Dangerous Weapon (4 Counts), First Degree Burglary, Conspiracy to Commit Robbery with A Dangerous Weapon
Facing: 12 - 17 years in prison
Result: Dismissed

An incarcerated defendant accused our client of participating in the robbery of a group of youth at a party. We were able to raise doubt as to the credibility of this individual. In the end, the prosecutor dismissed these charges, citing a lack of evidence.