Many people in Ohio and other states are concerned about the presence of sex offenders in their community. There is a significant concern that these offenders will strike again, putting children and adults alike at risk. One way that lawmakers have combated perpetrators of sex crimes is by instituting public registries.

A sex offender registry is a searchable, online database that allows individuals to look up people who have been convicted of certain sex crimes. Typically, a person can either search for an individual by name or can enter in an address to find offenders living in the general area. As part of criminal sentencing, judges typically require offenders to visit a local law enforcement office to register their presence in the community. Listings frequently include the offender’s name, photograph, address and details about the nature of the crime.

In some cases, offenders have challenged the constitutionality of registries. In a recent case, the Supreme Court of Ohio rejected the argument from a man convicted of statutory rape that registries are cruel and unusual punishment. Opponents of registries have argued that the registries damage the professional life of offenders, making it difficult for them to become productive members of their communities.

Individuals who have been accused of sexual offenses may want to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The risk of damage to one’s reputation, the real risk of felony charges, prison and being required to list oneself on a sex offender registry make sex crime accusations a very serious matter. The attorney can review the case and see what defense strategies are available to use before or at trial.