If you have a prior conviction for specified sex crime offenses, you may be required to register as a sex offender in Arizona. Under Arizona law, post-convicted sex offenders must register with their local sheriff’s office if they live in Arizona, either temporarily or permanently, and were convicted of a felony sex offense or an attempted sex offense. Failing to Register as a Sex Offender after a person has been convicted of a specific sex crime can have serious consequences.
Watch this video of David explaining the charges of Failing to Register as a Sex Offender in Arizona.
If you don’t live in Arizona, but still have a previous sex offense conviction, you might have to register in the state if certain circumstances apply. For example, you will be required to register as a sex offender if you work in Arizona for a total of 30 days during a calendar year. You will also have to register if you are enrolled in school for more than 14 consecutive days or more than 30 days in a single year.
If you are a juvenile adjudication for a sex crime, you will be required to register until you reach age 25, or until the court orders that your registration requirement ends after you successfully complete your sex offender juvenile probation.
Requirements for Sex Offender Registration in Arizona
Under A.R.S. § 13-3821, you are required to register as a sex offender if you were convicted of any of the following offenses:
- Sexual abuse of someone younger than age 18
- Sexual conduct with a minor
- Sexual assault
- Sexual assault of your spouse if the crime was committed before Aug. 12, 2005
- Child molestation
- Continuous sexual abuse of a child
- Taking a child for prostitution
- Child prostitution committed before Aug. 9, 2017
- Child sex trafficking
- Sexual exploitation of a minor
- Commercial sexual exploitation of minors
- Luring minors for sexual exploitation
- Indecent exposure to victims younger than age 15
- Public sexual indecency
- Aggravated luring of a minor for sexual exploitation
How to Register as Sex Offender in Arizona?
To register as a sex offender, you have to report to the county sheriff’s office where you live in Arizona. When you get there, you will have to tell the sheriff’s office your address and name within ten (10) days of your conviction or within ten (10) days of coming to and staying in the county. You are also required to report changes in your address or name. Your initial registration costs $250. You must also get a new driver’s license each year that has a new picture and an up-to-date address. For subsequent annual registrations, you will have to pay a $100 fee.
When you move to a new address in the county or change your name, you must inform the sheriff in person about your new address or your new name within 72 hours except for weekends and legal holidays. Your update must be made in writing and in person. If you move to a new county, you must report the move to the sheriff of the county that you are leaving as well as to the sheriff of the new county. If you do not register correctly or within the required time frames, you may be charged with failing to register as a sex offender.
What Can Happen if you Fail to Register?
Arizona requires all people who are convicted of felony sex offenses or attempted sex crimes to register as sex offenders. If you fail to register as outlined under the law, it is a Class 4 felony offense.
If you do not register with your local sheriff’s office within the mandated period, you will violate A.R.S. § 13-3824, which makes failing to register as a sex offender a crime in Arizona. If you are outside of the required period, you need to talk to an experienced sex crimes lawyer for help with handling the situation.
There are several potential sentences for failing to register as a sex offender. Each of them can result in severe consequences, including probation or lengthy prison sentences. The potential penalties will depend on the particular way in which you have failed to meet the registration requirements and include the following:
- If you only have failed to get your annual driver’s license, you will be charged with a Class 6 felony;
- If your prior sex offense conviction was not a felony, your punishment could range from probation with no jail up to 1 year in jail, or from 4 months in prison up to 2 years;
- If you have a prior conviction, your prison sentence will range from 9 months up to 2.75 years in prison;
- If you have two prior felony convictions, your prison sentence will range from 2.25 years to 5.75 years;
- All other violations will be charged as Class 4 felonies carrying severe consequences.
Potential Defenses for Failing to Register as a Sex Offender
Possible defenses that you might be able to raise will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case. Some of the arguments that might be available to you include the following:
- Traveling between counties within 10 days
- Violation of your Miranda rights
- Denial of your right to counsel
Commonly, people are charged with failing to register as sex offenders when they have a temporary residence or job and move from county to county or state to state. A person may be charged with this offense under these circumstances if he or she fails to register every time he or she moves. However, you can defend against this charge if you have traveled back and forth across counties within 10 days.
For example, if you have traveled outside of the county for a construction job, you will not be required to register with the sheriff of the new county unless your stay in the other county exceeds 10 days in a row. You are only required to register as a sex offender with the sheriff of the new county when your stay is longer than 10 consecutive days. In this case, your lawyer might secure documentation from your employer of your work in the other county to show that you were not there for longer than 10 days.
In some cases, an experienced criminal defense lawyer may help a client get into compliance with the law. He or she may then negotiate with the prosecutor to try to talk the prosecutor into dropping the charges against the client for failing to register as a sex offender. An attorney may also work to secure records that show where you were during the different periods so that your lawyer can show that you never violated the 10-day reporting requirement or the 72-hour reporting requirement for moves.
Your lawyer might also review the evidence in your case to determine whether any constitutional violations were committed by the police officers. For example, you have the right against self-incrimination. In Arizona, a voluntariness standard is applied to determine whether an incriminating statement will be admissible as evidence against you.
Under the Miranda v. Arizona ruling, the police must also advise you of your rights before questioning you during a custodial interrogation. If your lawyer is able to show that you were coerced into confessing to failing to register as a sex offender or were not adequately advised of your rights, he or she can file a motion with the court challenging the admissibility of your incriminating statements along with any evidence that the police gathered as a result of your statements.
Your lawyer may also look to see if your right to counsel was violated by the police. You have a constitutional right to an attorney. The police may have violated this right if you were in custody and asked to speak to your lawyer, and your request was denied. If the police ignored your request for a lawyer and continued to question you, your lawyer may file a motion challenging the admissibility of any statements that you subsequently made after your right to counsel was denied.
Your lawyer may also challenge the validity of a search warrant or look for flaws that occurred while the police were investigating their case against you. These types of errors may also warrant the drafting and filing of evidentiary motions to challenge the admissibility of the evidence against you.
Finally, your lawyer might analyze the contents of the police reports that the officers wrote in your case to look for misleading or poorly written information, including false statements, misstatements, and other problems. Your attorney might challenge anything in the report that is false or misleading.
Impact of Filing Evidentiary Motions
If your lawyer identifies constitutional issues with how the police conducted their investigation against you, he or she may file any of the motions that were listed above. When a motion is filed to challenge the admissibility of statements or other evidence, the court will schedule a motions hearing. You will need to attend your motions hearing on the date and at the time that it is scheduled by the court.
At a motions hearing, the prosecutor will be able to call the officers to testify about how they conducted your investigation. Your lawyer will be able to cross-examine the officers and to present evidence that challenges their testimony. Your lawyer may ask for the court to admit documents that demonstrate that your constitutional rights were violated or call witnesses to testify about what occurred. Once your motions hearing is finished, the judge will review the arguments, testimony, and evidence to determine whether your constitutional rights were violated.
If the court rules in your favor on one or all of your motions, the particular pieces of evidence that were challenged in the successful motions will be ruled to be inadmissible. This means that the prosecutor will not be allowed to use them as evidence in the state’s case against you. If the police were able to discover additional evidence because of evidence that was gathered in an unconstitutional manner, the additional evidence would also be declared to be inadmissible. When the prosecutor is unable to use certain types of evidence against you, it might leave the prosecutor with no choice other than to dismiss your charges.
Get Immediate Help from a Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are facing charges of failing to register as a sex offender, you should retain an experienced sex crimes criminal defense lawyer. An experienced attorney may review the evidence that the state is using against you and analyze your case to identify the defenses that you might be able to raise. David M. Cantor is an experienced criminal defense lawyer who has successfully defended many clients who have been charged with failing to register as sex offenders along with other sex crimes.
The attorneys at the DM Cantor law firm understand how to build strong defense cases and will fight for you to help you to secure the best outcome in your case.
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David M. Cantor is an Expert Criminal Law Attorney and a Certified Criminal Law Specialist, per the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization. DM Cantor is AV® rated and is listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®, Criminal Law Section. The criminal defense lawyers at DM Cantor know how to prepare a successful defense and will be “Beyond Aggressive” in their defense against your charges of Failure To Register As A Sex Offender in Arizona.