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What Restrictions Does A Registered Sex Offender Face?


Level one sex offenders must register for twenty years (unless designated a sexual predator, a sexually violent offender or a predicate sex offender). Levels two and three must register for life.

Level two and three sex offenders are listed on a public directory available on line.

Housing

If the victim was under 18 years of age, or if the defendant is found to be a level three sex offender, a condition of parole release must include that the defendant cannot enter school grounds or live within 1000 feet of the school. (Executive Law § 259-c-14; Penal Law § 65.10-

4-a). Although many towns and counties have enacted ordinances prohibiting all sex offenders from living near schools (the distances vary), the Court of Appeals has invalidated those ordinances, saying the state has preempted those ordinances. (People v. Diack, 24 N.Y.3d 674 [2015]). Thus, the law remains that if the victim was under 18 years of age, or if the defendant is found to be a level three sex offender, a condition of parole release must include that the defendant cannot enter school grounds or live within 1000 feet of the school.

A frequent problem is the state’s refusal to release an inmate from prison who otherwise should be released because the state has not found acceptable housing for him. (See e.g., People v. Telford, 155 A.D.3d 1052 [2nd Dept. 2017]). Executive Law § 259–c(2) and 9 NYCRR 8003.3 allow the state to impose special conditions upon a parolee’s right to release. The courts routinely uphold these conditions as long as they are rationally related to the inmate’s past conduct and future chance of recidivism. Acceptable parole restrictions have included geographical restrictions and restrictions requiring that parolees refrain from contact with certain individuals or classes of individuals. These have been used to deny release to sex offenders when the state says they cannot locate proper housing. In Telford, the court held the denial of release was arbitrary and capricious.

In Matter of Gonzalez, 149 A.D.3d 256 [3rd Dept. 2017], the Third Department found that the Department of Corrections provided inadequate assistance to a sex offender who served his sentence to find suitable housing. We should note, however, the Court of Appeals has agreed to review Gonzalez. (29 N.Y.3d 912 [2017]). Thus we should expect further clarification on the state’s duty to assist sex offenders who have served their sentence find suitable housing.

Employment

Level 2 and 3 offenders must provide the address of their employer. However, Corrections Law § 752 provides:

No application for any license or employment, and no employment or license held by an individual, to which the provisions of this article are applicable, shall be denied or acted upon adversely by reason of the individual’s having been previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses, or by reason of a finding of lack of “good moral character” when such finding is based upon the fact that the individual has previously been convicted of one or more criminal offenses, unless:

(1) there is a direct relationship between one or more of the previous criminal offenses and the specific license or employment sought or held by the individual; or

(2) the issuance or continuation of the license or the granting or continuation of the employment would involve an unreasonable risk to property or to the safety or welfare of specific individuals or the general public.

Thus, the general rule is that the conviction should not disqualify one from employment, but allows the employer to rebut the general rule for either of the two reasons listed.

There are, however, certain statutes that specifically disqualify sex offenders from working at certain jobs. For example, most convictions of sex crimes disqualify one from working as a school bus driver (VTL §§ 509-cc (4)(a) &(4)(b)).

Why Is It Critical To Retain An Experienced Attorney To Handle A Sex Crimes Case?

The client charged with a sex crime will need to make some very difficult decisions. Should one accept a plea bargain or take the case to trial? How do one discuss resolution of a sensitive case with a prosecutor who may have very fixed ideas about how to handle a sex crime? Which jurors should one strike? How should one cross-examine the complaining witness? (If I am too aggressive, I risk creating additional sympathy for the “victim.” If I am not aggressive enough, I leave inconsistencies and exaggerations unchallenged.). Should one testify? How do one present mitigation at sentencing in a way that will not make the judge think one is making excuses and not accepting responsibility?

Each of these questions, and so many more, are difficult to answer. But years of trying to answer them, and experiencing the reactions to the answers one provides, is what experience means. An experienced lawyer gives the client the benefit of earlier successes and earlier failures. On these very difficult cases, that experience can make a difference of years in prison.

For more information on Restrictions Faced By Registered Sex Offenders, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (845) 794-1303 today.

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(845) 794-1303

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