What is the New York Sex Offender Registration Act?

The Sex Offender Registration Act, also known as SORA or "Megan's Law," requires anyone convicted of a sex offense to register with the state for either a period of either twenty years after conviction or for life. SORA creates a complicated scheme for determining each offender's "risk level" -- people determined to be at high risk for re-offense are listed as level three, those at moderate risk are level two and those at low risk are level one. It is important to understand that all defendants, after conviction, are entitled to a hearing before being marked as medium- or high-risk.

The different risk levels carry different burdens, which are changing all the time. For example, level three offenders must register in person every 90 days for life and their photos are posted on the internet. Under a 2007 amendment to the law, all registered sex offenders must provide their email addresses and screen names to the state, which may then turn them over to internet access providers for "screening" purposes.

The bottom line is that conviction of a "registrable" sex offense can easily ruin your life. Sex charges should be fought with every legal means available. If convicted of a sex offense, you must be exceedingly careful to comply with every aspect of the law to avoid re-arrest.