Social Distancing—Sex Offender Residential Restrictions by State
Convicted sex offenders have to live with the legacy of their actions for many years.
Even after they have served their sentence, sex offenders have to maintain a presence on their state’s sex offender registry and must adhere to strict rules on where they can live.
You want the peace of mind that you or your family can maintain a safe distance from sex offenders. DoNotPay has all the sex offender residential restrictions by state, so you can make sure you are living in a safe area!
In most states, all sex offenders must register themselves—regardless of the severity of their crime.
The different levels of sex crimes are as follows:
- Level or tier I—non-violent and non-penetrative sexual acts
- Level or tier II—sexual acts involving pubescent minors
- Level or tier III—sexual crimes involving violence or pre-pubescent minors
The length of time sex offenders must remain on their state registry is as follows:
|Tier or Level||Time on Registry|
|Tier or level I||15 years|
|Tier or level II||25 years|
|Tier or level III||Until death|
Registered sex offenders are considered a danger long after their sentence has been served, and state laws try to keep them at a safe distance from children, whether or not their crime was child-related.
States impose limitations on how close a registered sex offender can live to anywhere where children congregate, including:
- Daycare facilities
- School bus stops
The goal is to create a map of sex offenders’ locations by state and to ensure children are kept at a safe distance.
The rules on how close a sex offender can live to a school or children’s area vary by state but are generally that the minimum distance is between 300 and 3,000 feet.
The only states that do not impose residency restrictions are:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
New Hampshire is in the process of removing residency restrictions for sex offenders.
The following states stipulate that a sex offender must live at least 300–750 feet away from a children’s area:
|Nebraska||North Dakota||Rhode Island||South Dakota|
Other states are more draconian in their regulations, as follows:
|States With a 1,000 Foot Restriction|
|Wyoming||Indiana||North Carolina||West Virginia|
The most restrictive states are:
- Arkansas (2,000 feet)
- California (2,000 feet)
- Iowa (2,000 feet)
- Mississippi (3,000 feet)
- Oklahoma (2,000 feet)
- Wisconsin (1,500 feet)
The area where they can live is not the only restriction sex offenders face.
In many states, those convicted of sex crimes may not:
- Travel freely—While few states impose restrictions on leaving the state, many states require sex offenders to register soon after arrival. Offenders need to check the law in the state they are visiting, as a conviction in their home state that does not need to be registered may have to be noted in the state they are visiting. When traveling internationally, the U.S. government will automatically inform destination countries if a sex offender is planning to arrive. Some countries may refuse entry and deport the offender
- Perform certain jobs—Registered sex offenders cannot take a job that brings them into contact with children. This is regardless of whether their crime involved children
Megan’s Law stipulates that all state sex offender registries are openly accessible by the public. Employers and landlords perform routine background checks before they accept a new hire or tenant, so registered sex offenders may experience difficulty in finding a job or accommodation.
Many offenders attempt to avoid the system by not updating their registrations after they have moved location. Such unregistered offenders face stiff penalties when caught.
These restrictions can all help to give you peace of mind, but the only way to be certain you are not living near a sex offender is to check yourself.
Checking on your state’s registry only gives you a snapshot, though. A sex offender could move into your building overnight, and you would only find out if you ran another registry search.
This is where DoNotPay can help! We can and even send you weekly updates if you want to stay in the loop.
We understand how important the safety of you and your loved ones is!
DoNotPay’s Sex Offender Search product is designed to give you the peace of mind of knowing you are a safe distance away from any sex offenders.
We can search for a specific person’s registered location or look in your neighborhood for registered sex offenders. If you choose, we can send you a weekly update on your search to let you know if anything has changed.
Here’s how to use the feature:
- in your web browser
- Click on our Sex Offender Search feature
- Type in the name of the offender or your address, and set the search parameters
DoNotPay will send you your report in an instant, and you can take whatever action may be necessary to stay safe!
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