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How does the sex offender registry work in Pennsylvania?

Most states in the nation have some form of programs which require people convicted of sex crimes to register. Pennsylvania is among those states. The stated intent of these programs is to increase public safety by providing information to the general public that informs if a registered sex offender lives or works in their neighborhoods. People who face sex crime charges should understand what this program in Pennsylvania requires and how it works.

According to the Pennsylvania State Police Megan’s Law Website, there are four different federal acts that led to the state’s decision to not only craft its current program but to participate in the national sex offender registry. Between 1981 and 1994, four specific crimes that culminated with the one that led to the enactment of Megan’s Law in 1996 occurred. In 2004, the Pennsylvania Governor signed a bill that allowed all sex offender registration information to be available to the public online. It also expanded the list of offenses that could result in the requirement to register with the program.

There are three tiers of offenses under Pennsylvania Law from tier I to tier III with the latter being the most serious. A tier III conviction will result in the required lifetime registration with the sex offender program. People in this category must register four times per year. Rape and aggravated sexual abuse are examples of crimes that lead to a tier III classification. Sexual exploitation of a child is a tier II offense and leads to required registration twice per year for 25 years. Annual registration is required for tier I offenses such as video voyeurism.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but general information about the sex offender registry program in Pennsylvania.


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