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A closer look at the structure of Tennessee’s Sex Offender Registry – II

Last week, we began discussing just how terrifying it can be to face sex crime charges given everything that is at stake, including your freedom, your future and your reputation.

We also began discussing how the punishment for a conviction on sex crime charges doesn’t necessarily end upon completion of a prison term, as you will also have to register as a sex offender with local law enforcement officials, something that can limit your job prospects, educational opportunities and living arrangements.

In today’s post, we’ll continue with our efforts to help you understand just how much of a burden this mandatory registration can prove to be by continuing to examine the structure and requirements of Tennessee’s Sex Offender Registry.

Length of time on the offender registry

To recap, state law mandates that anyone convicted of a sex crime must register with law enforcement officials. However, the amount of time that a person must do this depends upon their classification as either a “sexual offender” or a “violent sexual offender.”

If you have been classified as a violent sexual offender, the law is very straightforward: you will have to register for life, no exceptions.

However, if you have been classified as sexual offender, you do have the option of filing a request with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to cease the registration requirements ten years after the expiration of your sentence.

Once this is done, the TBI will then conduct a thorough investigation to determine that 1) you have not been convicted of any subsequent sex crimes during this ten-year window and 2) you have demonstrated substantial compliance with the registration requirements.

If they determine both conditions have been satisfied, the agency will remove your name from the Sex Offender Registry and inform you that your registration requirements have indeed ended.  

It’s important to note that those who have been convicted of equivalent sex crimes in other jurisdictions will be subject to these same registration requirements. This is also generally the case for those crimes committed in other states that mandate registration, but wouldn’t otherwise qualify for it here in Tennessee.

We will conclude this discussion in our next post, examining some of the practical realities of sex offender registration.

State Bar of Georgia
TBA | Tennessee Bar Association
CBA | Chattanooga Bar Association
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