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Registered Sex Offenders

FAQs - New York
NY Division of Criminal Justice Services

Who must register as a Sex Offender?

The Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) requires anyone on parole or probation or imprisoned for a sex offense on January 21, 1996, to register with the Division of Criminal Justice Services.

How are sex offenders classified in the Sex Offender Registry?

Level 1 -  (low risk of repeat offense)
Level 2 -  (moderate risk of repeat offense)
Level 3 -  (high risk of repeat offense and a threat to public safety exists)

For how long must an offender register?

Sex offenders who have been designated a sexual predator, a sexually violent offender or a predicate sex offender or who are classified as a Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 risk remain on the Sex Offender Registry for life. Level 1 sex offenders with no designation must register for a period of twenty years.

What happens if an offender fails to register?

The failure to register is a crime. A first conviction is punishable as a class A misdemeanor; a repeat conviction is punishable as a class D felony.

How can one learn if a person is listed in the Sex Offender Registry?

SORA has four distinct procedures for community notification. First, local law enforcement agencies are notified whenever a sex offender moves into their jurisdiction. That agency may notify schools and other "entities with vulnerable populations" about the presence of a Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 offender if the offender poses a threat to public safety. Second, SORA established a free Information Line (1-800-262-3257)  which citizens can call to inquire whether a person is listed in the Registry. Third, SORA provides for the distribution of the Subdirectory to law enforcement agencies throughout the State. Citizens can review that Subdirectory at local law enforcement agencies. The Subdirectory includes information on Level 2 and Level 3 offenders. Fourth, the Subdirectory may also be accessed via the Internet here at the Division of Criminal Justice Services' website.

How much information can be disseminated about an offender?

The amount of information depends on the risk level and means of dissemination.

If the risk level is 3, you will be able to obtain the same information for Level 1 and Level 2 sex offenders as described above plus the exact address.

The Subdirectory, which can be accessed at your local law enforcement agency or via the Internet here at the Division of Criminal Justice Services' website, contains information on Level 2 and Level 3 offenders. Such information includes offender's name, offense description, modus operandi, offender's photograph, any special conditions imposed by the court or supervision authorities, and the exact address of the offender.

What limits are imposed on a person who obtains information about an offender from the Sex Offender Registry?

SORA presumes that information from the Registry will be used responsibly to promote public safety. Persons or organizations receiving information may disseminate it to others at their discretion. The information may not be used to commit a crime against a person listed in the Registry or to engage in illegal discrimination or harassment against such a person.

Are there additional resources that provide information regarding criminal offenders?

The New York State Department of Correctional Services operates and maintains a website that permits the user to obtain information regarding inmates who have been incarcerated in a correctional facility operated by the New York State Department of Correctional Services.  http://criminaljustice.state.ny.us/index.htm

Does the New York State Sex Offender Registration Act restrict where a registered sex offender may live or travel?

No, the New York State Sex Offender Registration Act does not restrict where a registered sex offender may live or travel. However, certain sex offenders still under sentence may have restrictions on where they may travel. Please see website. http://criminaljustice.state.ny.us/index.htm

Additionally, there may be local laws in a particular county, town or village restricting where a registered sex offender may live or travel.  For information regarding local laws, it is recommended that you contact the county, town or village in which you are interested.

Can a registered sex offender be near or on school grounds or a childcare facility?

The New York State Sex Offender Registration Act does not restrict where a registered sex offender may live or travel. However, there are other New York State laws that may apply if the registered sex offender is still under sentence.  See example on website. 

If the registered sex offender is conditionally released or under parole supervision and the registered sex offender has been convicted of a qualifying offense against a victim under 18 years of age, there is a mandatory condition in New York State law which provides that the registered sex offender cannot enter an area accessible to the public within 1000 feet of school grounds or other facility caring for children. The same condition applies for level 3 sex offenders conditionally released or under parole supervision. See Executive Law §259-c(14).

Additionally, there may be local laws in a particular county, town or village restricting where a registered sex offender may live or travel.  For information regarding local laws, it is recommended that you contact the county, town or village in which you are interested.

Does the Sex Offender Registration Act restrict where a registered sex offender may work?

The only employment prohibition contained in the Sex Offender Registration Act is set forth in Correction Law §168-v which prohibits a registered sex offender from being employed on a motor vehicle engaged in the retail sale of frozen desserts. However, it is important to note that under other New York State laws, many employers are required to conduct criminal background checks on applications for employment, such as applicants for a teaching position or to be a school bus driver. Depending on the specific provisions of the law, individuals convicted of certain offenses will be disqualified from such employment.

Does New York State Law require the registration of sex offenders who are juveniles?

An individual who is adjudicated, such as a youthful offender or juvenile delinquent, is not required to be registered in New York State. However, a juvenile offender is convicted of a crime and is required to register.

©2004 NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services

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