Virginia Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry: Va Code § 9.1-900 et. seq.

Virginia, like other states, has Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry. This registry was created to “to protect their communities and families from repeat sex offenders and to protect children from becoming victims of criminal offenders by helping to prevent such individuals from being allowed to work directly with children.” Va. Code § 9.1-900.

Will I have to Register on the Sex Offender Registry?

Whether or not a person has to register on the Virginia Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry is not necessarily straight forward.

Once class of person who must register, is anyone who is required to register in any other state or territory of the United States.

Otherwise Va. Code § 9.1-902 lays out the types of convictions that would require registration. This list is not clear cut, and your duty to register depends not only of the crime that you are convicted of, but also of the circumstances of the crime, and when the crime was committed. Most common considerations are the age and lack of capacity of the victim. For some charges, registration is required after subsequent offenses, but not the first.

New Virginia Residents, or Non-Residents

If you have recently moved to Virginia or are in Virginia for work or school, you will have to register on the Virginia Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry within 3 days of moving to Virginia, or coming into Virginia for an extended stay for work or school. An “extended visit” is one lasting 30 days or more. Va. Code § 9.1-905.

Registration

From Va Code § 9.1-903:

Every person required to register shall register in person within three days of his release from confinement in a state, local or juvenile correctional facility, in a state civil commitment program for sexually violent predators or, if a sentence of confinement is not imposed, within three days of suspension of the sentence or in the case of a juvenile of disposition. A person required to register shall register, and as part of the registration shall submit to be photographed, submit to have a sample of his blood, saliva, or tissue taken for DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) analysis and submission to the DNA databank to determine identification characteristics specific to the person, provide electronic mail address information, any instant message, chat or other Internet communication name or identity information that the person uses or intends to use, submit to have his fingerprints and palm prints taken, provide information regarding his place of employment, and provide motor vehicle, watercraft and aircraft registration information for all motor vehicles, watercraft and aircraft owned by him.

Name, Address, Employment, and Motor Vehicle Changes

Any person required to register shall also reregister in person with the local law-enforcement agency following any change of name or any change of residence, whether within or without the Commonwealth. The person shall register in person with the local law-enforcement agency within three days following his change of name. If his new residence is within the Commonwealth, the person shall register in person with the local law-enforcement agency where his new residence is located within three days following his change in residence. If the new residence is located outside of the Commonwealth, the person shall register in person with the local law-enforcement agency where he previously registered within 10 days prior to his change of residence. If a probation or parole officer becomes aware of a change of name or residence for any of his probationers or parolees required to register, the probation or parole officer shall notify the State Police forthwith of learning of the change. Whenever a person subject to registration changes residence to another state, the State Police shall notify the designated law-enforcement agency of that state.

Any person required to register shall reregister in person with the local law-enforcement agency where his residence is located within three days following any change of the place of employment, whether within or without the Commonwealth.

Any person required to register shall reregister in person with the local law-enforcement agency where his residence is located within three days following any change of owned motor vehicle, watercraft and aircraft registration information, whether within or without the Commonwealth.

Va Code § 9.1-903

Online Information Changes (Email, Instant Messaging or other Online Identity)

Any person required to register shall reregister either in person or electronically with the local law-enforcement agency where his residence is located within 30 minutes following any change of the electronic mail address information, any instant message, chat or other Internet communication name or identity information that the person uses or intends to use, whether within or without the Commonwealth.

Va Code § 9.1-903

Re-Registration

Va Code § 9.1-904 requires that

C. Every person required to register, other than a person convicted of a sexually violent offense or murder, shall reregister with the State Police once each year during such person’s birth month. Every person convicted of a sexually violent offense or murder shall reregister with the State Police four times each year at three-month intervals, including the person’s birth month. Any person convicted of a violation of § 18.2-472.1, other than a person convicted of a sexually violent offense or murder, shall reregister with the State Police twice each year: once in the person’s birth month and once in the month that is six months from the person’s birth month. Any person convicted of a violation of § 18.2-472.1, in which such person was included on the Registry for a conviction of a sexually violent offense or murder, shall reregister with the State Police every month.

D. Persons required to register with last names beginning with A through L shall reregister with the State Police from the first to the fifteenth of such person’s reregistration months pursuant to subsection C, and persons required to register with last names beginning with M through Z shall reregister with the State Police from the sixteenth to the last day of the month during such person’s reregistration months pursuant to subsection C.

Note: This is a new version of the law effective July 1, 2020. If you believe you have or had different obligation, they have likely changed due to this new law. A particular change is the new scheduling based on birth month, and last name.

As for the transition period:

For the period of July 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021, any person required to reregister shall continue to reregister with the State Police on such person’s reregistration schedule in place prior to July 1, 2020, until such person has reregistered pursuant to the new reregistration schedule provided in subsections C and D, at which time such person shall continue to reregister pursuant to the new reregistration schedule provided in subsections C and D.

What this appears to mean is that when transitioning to the new re-registration schedule, you need to be careful to re-register early, and not late. For example if you usually register is August, but were born in January. You would likely reregister in August of 2020, and January of 2021 (even though that is 9 months early. This woul “re-set” your registration schedule.

It is important to keep on top of these new requirements, so that a technicality doesn’t turn into something more serious.

Failure to Properly Register or Reregister

Failure to register or reregister on the Sex Offenders and Crimes Against Minors Registry is a Class 1 Misdemeanor.

Do I Need an Attorney?

If you are thinking about the Virginia Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry, you likely have either been charged with a qualifying offense, or already convicted. It is important to talk to an attorney in either circumstance. If you have simply been charged, a qualified local attorney can help represent you in a way that is mindful of the lifelong impacts of certain charges. If you have already been convicted, a local attorney can be an important resource to avoid getting caught up in the morass of registration issues.

Contact our office and see what our attorneys Farheena Siddiqui and Brian Szmak can do for you.

Locations we serve: 

It is important for someone charged with a sex crime or other registry qualifying offense in Virginia to hire a criminal defense attorney who is close to the jurisdiction they are charged in. We are located right next to the Alexandria Courthouse and minutes away from Arlington, Fairfax, and Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) courts. Our firm handles cases in many locations throughout Northern Virginia such as: 

Alexandria General District Court

Arlington General District Court

Fairfax County General District Court

Prince William County General District Court

Loudoun County General District Court

Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Court