New York passed the Sex Offender Registration Act to be retroactive to people who still were on probation or parole as of January 21, 1996. In the months that followed, all probationers and parolees previously convicted of an enumerated offense, as well as people newly convicted, started registering. At that time, registration for low-risk offenders was for ten years. But in 2006, just as the ten years was running out, the Legislature upped it to twenty years. A pending proposal tries to play the same trick again, increasing the duration of registration to thirty years for most low-risk offenders.
But January 21st has come and gone without any legislative action. As a result low-risk offenders forced to register for twenty years starting in 1996 are starting to come off the registry. Others have petitioned successfully to reduce their risk to Level One, meaning they will come off in the coming months, after twenty years passes from their initial registration.
For many, wearing the scarlet letter of sex offender registration has been awful, with no identifiable benefit to public safety. The Legislature sensibly let it end for offenders deemed by a judge to be low risk. If you have been registered for twenty years and are currently Level Two, you may be able to benefit from a petition for modification — a request to the court to lower your risk level to Level One, which means after twenty years, you are done. Call our office for more information.