Q&A: Sex Offender Registration for New Residents of New York State (2014)

Q: I am a registered sex offender who is planning to move to New York State. What steps do I need to take?

A: All persons convicted outside of New York State of a sex offense requiring sex offender registration must notify the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services within 10 calendar days of establishing residency in New York. This is the office responsible for registrations:

New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
Office of Sex Offender Management or Sex Offender Registry
Alfred E. Smith Building
80 South Swan Street
Albany, NY 12210

Main telephone number: 518-457-5628
Registry main telephone number: 518-457-3167
Registry database searches: 518-457-5837 or 1-800-262-3257
E-mail: infodcjs@dcjs.ny.gov

Q: Do all sex offenses require registration in New York?

A: Not all sex offenses from other states require registration in New York State. There are three types of offenses that require registration under New York’s Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA):

• An offense (in any another state) which includes all the essential elements of a registerable offense listed in the New York State Sex Offender Registry; OR
• A felony sex offense that was registerable in the state where the conviction occurred; OR
• Various federal offenses regarding the sexual exploitation of minors.

For example, because Iowa's and Louisiana's HIV-related criminal statutes are felonies, it is likely that individuals convicted under those statutes may be required to register in New York.

New York State’s registerable offenses include: rape; criminal sexual act; sexual abuse and aggravated sexual abuse; predatory sexual assault; sodomy; forcible touching; various prostitution-related offenses; sex trafficking; unlawful surveillance; various offenses related to obscene sexual performance by a child; and incest.

Q: How do I know if I have to register?

A: The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and the Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders make the official determination of whether your offense is registerable. If you fail to meet applicable notification and registration requirements, you may face a felony conviction.

Q: How will my case be reviewed and how long will it take?

A: The Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders reviews your case records to determine whether you have to register in New York State. Once the Board determines that you must register, it conducts an extensive review of the case records to determine the risk of a repeat offense and the threat posed to public safety. The Board makes recommendations regarding all this within 60 days to the local New York court where you live. The court will hold a hearing to determine your risk level, which will in turn be used to set the duration of your registration, verification requirements, and the amount and quantity of information that may be provided to the public. You may submit additional information relevant to this review, and you have the right to be represented by an attorney at the hearing.

Q: How will I be classified in New York State?

A:  In New York, the local court where you live may assign one of three risk levels to your case, in addition to a possible designation. Each level and designation comes with a set of restrictions and requirements to which you must adhere. The categories are used to determine duration of your registration, verification requirements, and the amount and quantity of information that may be provided to the public. These are the three risks levels in New York:

• Level 1 is considered to have the lowest risk of repeat offense.
• Level 2 is considered to have a moderate risk of repeat offense
• Level 3 is considered to have the highest risk of repeat offense.

Designations specify if an offender is to be classified as a sexual predator, a sexually violent offender, or a predicate sex offender. If a designation is assigned to any risk level, the offender is required to register for life.

Q: Can I advocate to change my assigned risk level?

A: Yes. Any registered sex offender or district attorney may petition the court that made the determination to change the classification.

Q: Where can I obtain additional information?

A: The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services website provides additional information, including a list of New York State and national resources.

Q: How will my sex offender status affect my work opportunities?

A: Unfair discrimination against persons previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses, including sex crimes, is prohibited under New York State Correction Law Article 23-A, Section 752. Employment can be denied only where there is a “direct relationship between one or more of the previous criminal offenses and the specific license or employment sought or held by the individual.” Employment can also be denied where there is an “unreasonable risk to property or to the safety or welfare of specific individuals or the general public.”

An employer is required to conduct an individualized assessment of job applicants with criminal convictions, including those convicted of sex crimes, to determine whether a direct relationship exists between one or more of the prior crimes and the employment sought, or whether granting the employment would involve an unreasonable risk to property or the safety or welfare of specific individuals or the general public.