How Does the Sex Offender Registry Work in Pennsylvania?

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
December 27, 2022

While no one wants to register as a sex offender, cooperation with Pennsylvania laws and keeping up with registry requirements are necessary for notifying the community. Keeping up with your required registration is essential to avoid additional prison time, charges, and fines. But what does the sex offender registry do? Why is the information available to the public? How often do you need to register? And what information is available when you register?

If you need help understanding how Pennsylvania’s sex offender registry works, the team at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. may be able to help. Our talented team has worked extensively in many areas of the law. We work in family law, personal injury law, and criminal defense law, meaning we have a deep understanding of the inner workings of the legal system.

Why is the Sex Offender Registry Public?

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.

How Often Do You Need to Register?

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 for 15 years of more is required for tier I offenses such as video voyeurism.

What Information is Available After Someone Registers as a Sex Offender?

If you need to register as a sex offender in Pennsylvania, you likely want to know what information others can access. The following information is required to be publicly available:

  • Name and known aliases
  • Birth year
  • All residency details, including zip codes, cities, and street addresses
  • Locations the individual visits or resides in frequently, in the case they are homeless or transient
  • If applicable, any location information disclosing where an individual is an enrolled student
  • Location information related to the offender’s place of work, including fixed and non-fixed locations
  • Photographs of the individual
  • Physical descriptions of the offender
  • Any identifying marks
  • The license plate number and description of any vehicle owned or operated by the offender
  • Current compliance with registration requirements
  • Whether or not the offender is a minor
  • Description of the offense, list of other convictions that require registration if applicable
  • The date of conviction, if available
  • Offender’s active registry start and the date of the most recently updated registration
  • When possible, a map of where the offender lives, works, and is enrolled in school. This may apply to homeless or transient offenders

If you need additional information and assistance, especially if you have not yet been sentenced for sex offender-related crimes, we recommend speaking with a lawyer for help with your legal case.

Confusion Around Sex Offender Registry? Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. May Be Able to Help

If you are confused about how the sex offender registry works and want to ensure your rights are protected, you may wish to speak with the lawyers at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. Our team is dedicated to supporting clients through every step of the legal process, and we may be able to do the same for you.

To discuss any concerns, describe the details related to your case, and receive additional helpful information, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. You can reach us by calling (215) 822-7575 or completing our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you and assisting you further.

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

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
Pennsylvania Attorney's
December 27, 2022
Established in 1952 by Irwin S. Rubin, Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C. boasts over 65 years of experience serving clients throughout Pennsylvania. Renowned for its commitment to ethical representation, the firm has garnered prestigious accolades, including being named the "Best Law Firm" for its outstanding legal defense work by U.S. News & World Report. Their team of seasoned attorneys, recognized as Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars, brings unparalleled expertise to a wide range of legal matters, ensuring exceptional representation for individuals, families, businesses, and organizations.