In Arizona, per ARS § 13-3821 and ARS § 13-3824, you must Register as a Sex Offender if you reside in Arizona (permanently or temporarily) and were convicted of a felony sex crime, or attempted sex crimes.
Watch this short video where David explains Failure to Register as a Sex Offender:
If you are not an Arizona resident, but have convicted of a sex crime, you may have to register in Arizona if certain requirements are met. This includes employment in Arizona for an aggregate of thirty (30) days in a calendar year, or enrolled in school in Arizona for more than fourteen (14) days consecutively or thirty (30) days in the aggregate in a calendar year. If the defendant was adjudicated delinquent (meaning you had a juvenile conviction) of one of the above listed crimes, your duty to register terminates once you reach the age of twenty-five (25), or the court may order the termination of the duty upon successful completion of probation.
How to Register as a Sex Offender in Arizona
Registering as a Sex Offender requires that a person must go to the local sheriff’s office in the county where they reside in Arizona and inform that office of their new address (or change of name) within ten (10) days of the conviction, or within ten (10) days of entering and remaining in that county. There is a $250.00 initial registration fee. In addition, the person must get a new driver’s license every year, with a new photo and updated address or contact information. New laws have also imposed a $100.00 annual fee to the license registration.
Additionally, within 72 hours (excluding weekends and legal holidays) and after moving from the person’s residence within a county or after changing the person’s name, the defendant must inform the sheriff in person and in writing of the person’s new residence, address or new name. If the defendant moves from a county to a new county, the defendant must inform the sheriff of the county they are leaving, and the sheriff in the new county. The registration requirement continues for life. If a person does not properly register in a timely manner, they will then be in violation of ARS §13-3824 “Failure to Register as a Sex Offender.”
Possible Punishment for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
The punishments for failing to register as a sex offender can have serious consequences that range from probation to years in prison. Below are the possible sentences:
- If the only violation is a failure to obtain the annual driver’s license, then the defendant is charged with a class six (6) felony.
- If the prior conviction for the sex offense itself is not alleged as a felony (or it is too old to be alleged), punishment can be probation with zero (0) days up to one (1) year in jail, or prison of four (4) months to two (2) years of incarceration.
- If the actual underlying sexual offense is alleged as a “prior conviction,” or the person has any other allegeable historical prior conviction, then the “prison only” range is nine (9) months to two and three quarters (2.75) years in prison.
- If the person has two (2) historical allegeable prior felony convictions, then the “prison only” range is two and one quarter (2.25) to five and three quarters (5.75) years of incarceration.
Any other violation will be charged as a class four (4) felony which contains serious ramifications:
- If the prior conviction for the sex offense itself is not alleged as a felony (or it is too old to be alleged), then a first offense punishment would include anywhere from probation with zero (0) days in jail to one (1) year in jail, or prison of one (1) year to three and three quarters (3.75) years of incarceration.
- If the actual underlying sexual offense is alleged as a “prior conviction,” or the person has any other allegeable historical prior conviction, now the range of “prison only” punishment is anywhere from two and one quarter (2.25) years to seven and one half (7.5) years of incarceration.
- If there are two (2) allegeable historical prior felony convictions, now the range of prison is six (6) years to fifteen (15) years of incarceration.
Possible Defenses for Failing to Register as a Sex Offender
The most common times someone is charged with this offense is when the defendant has a transient job, or residence, and is moving from county to county, or state to state often and does not register every time. It is a defense to this charge if the defendant is traveling back and forth between counties within a ten (10) day span. That means that if a person has now moved into one county, but travels out of county for a job (such as construction), then they do not need to register at the new county’s sheriff’s office. It is only when you exceed ten (10) consecutive days within a county that you need to register with that county’s sheriff’s office.
Many times we are able to get a person into compliance with the law and convince the prosecutor to drop the charges for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender. However, this will depend on what a defendant has told the police officers when initially questioned. It is important to find records and documents about the defendant’s whereabouts during the time periods to establish that he never violated the ten (10) day reporting requirement, or the seventy-two (72) hour moving requirement.
Additionally, because each of our certified sex crimes specialist fight convictions from all angles, we would assert a wide range of effective defense tactics to constitutional violations that apply in all criminal cases. As in all criminal cases, there are numerous defenses to apply. One of those we often use is a “Miranda Rights” violation. In Arizona, the laws of whether any incriminating statement (i.e., a statement which tends to admit guilt) is admissible into evidence is based upon a “voluntariness” standard. If our defense attorneys can demonstrate that the police coerced you (i.e., intimidated or tricked you) into confessing of a crime, or that they did not read your Miranda Rights properly, then we can move to have those statements, and any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements, withdrawn.
In addition, the “denial of right to Counsel” is another common defense which is often raised. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their attorney, but is denied and questioning continues. Other defenses may include challenging the validity of any search warrant, or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case. Lastly, one of the most common defense tactics is exposing sloppy or misleading police reports which include everything from misstatements, false statements, flawed photo line-ups and inaccurate crime scene reconstruction. It is important to hire a skilled Failure to Register as a Sex Offender lawyer to defend you who has knowledge of all the possible defenses to assert in your case.