Garton & Vogt
Sex offenders may have to pay yearly fee
Those suspected of sex crimes may find themselves under investigation long before they are ever charged with anything. The law enforcement officers conducting these investigations are specially trained to uncover the evidence that is necessary to help prosecutors decide whether to pursue charges. Often, the suspects will be brought in for interviews, where the officers will ask the individuals questions about certain activities.
If the individual is subsequently charged with a sex crime, he or she will be facing severe penalties. Depending upon the crime that was committed, the individual could be sentenced to significant prison time, as well as high fines. Most of those who are convicted will also have to register as sex offenders, which will make it difficult to resume a normal life.
In Michigan, these requirements can last for several years or potentially even for the life of the offender after release. Sex offenders must notify law enforcement each time they move to a new location. They also must disclose any changes in employment, and may be ineligible to be hired for certain occupations that have direct involvement with children.
A new bill is gaining support in the state that could add more penalties for those required to register as a sex offender. The state currently charges each individual on the list a one-time fee of $50 to help pay for the cost of monitoring those offenders. The new bill would change this to a yearly fee of $50 from each person on the list.
The state is proposing these changes to help cut down on costs, but the proposal has been questioned by some as perhaps being unconstitutional. Since this rule was not in place at the time of conviction, can those who were on the list prior to the change be required to pay these new fines? Other states have also made similar law changes, and have seen them challenged in the courts.
The bill is just one of several changes to the sex offender laws in Michigan this year. Additional crimes, such as those where the victim is a minor, have been added to the list of offenses which will require sex offender registration if an individual is convicted.
These changes show the serious impact that a sex crimes conviction can have. If you are facing these charges, it is extremely important that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Do not make the mistake of thinking that you should try to clear your name with the police when they are questioning you. Even if you think you are having a friendly conversation with the investigators, they are going to try to use this information against you later.
Because of the extremely high-profile nature of these crimes, prosecutors will be aggressive in seeking convictions. You may feel like you have no option but to plead guilty. You do have rights available to you at this time, and it is important that you offer up a strong defense against these charges. The post-conviction requirements for sex offenders can last a lifetime.