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What Crimes Require Sex-Offender Registration?

By Brett Snider, Esq. | Last updated on

What crimes require sex-offender registration?

Convicts who must register as sex offenders are subject to restrictions on where they may live, work, and their privacy. But it may surprise you that different states have different requirements for which crimes require a convict to register as a sex offender.

Here are a few highlighted examples of which crimes require sex-offender registration:


In every state in the nation, a person convicted of forcible rape is required to register as a sex offender. Most states will also force juveniles and adults found guilty of statutory rape to register as sex offenders. However, for a minor found guilty of statutory rape for sex with another minor, the requirement for registration as a sex offender may be waived under a "Romeo and Juliet" law.

Offenses Involving Children and/or Sex

Child molestation, sexual assault, or child kidnapping are generally crimes for which sex-offender registration is required. Some states may even require those found guilty of serious property crimes to register as a sex offender if there was a child-endangerment or sexual component to the crime. For example, Texas requires those convicted of burglary with intent to commit a child or sex crime to register as sex offenders.

Sodomy and Incest

Consensual sexual acts may also require sex-offender registration depending on a state's laws. New York law prohibits intercourse, oral, or anal sexual conduct with a relative -- even through marriage -- and requires incest convicts to register as sex offenders. Some states still maintain sodomy bans, which typically prohibit any sort of oral or anal sex. For example, although Georgia's ban on sodomy was struck down by the Georgia Supreme Court in 1998, sodomy is still listed a "dangerous sexual offense," right alongside rape and child molestation, and requires sex-offender registration.

Indecent Exposure, and Maybe Even Public Urination

There are many ways to be nude without being convicted of indecent exposure, but indecent exposure convicts may have to register as sex offenders. Even Californians who are slapped with an indecent exposure conviction will have to register. As it relates to indecent exposure, even public urination can potentially force a perpetrator to register as a sex offender. According to a Human Rights Watch 2007 report, 13 states require sex-offender registration for public urination crimes.

Each state's sex offender registry is more complex than these broad strokes, and a criminal defense attorney in your area can help you sort out which crimes may require registration.

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