The Full List of Sex Offender Residential Restrictions by State From DoNotPay

iEditorial Note: These blog posts represent the opinion of DoNotPay’s Writers, but each person’s situation and circumstances vary greatly. As a result, you should make sure to do your own independent research. Because everyone is unique, our self-help tools are never guaranteed to help with any specific situation. DoNotPay is not a law firm and is not licensed to practice law. DoNotPay provides a platform for legal information and self-help.

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!

What Kinds of Sex Offenders Are on the Registry?

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 LevelTime on Registry
Tier or level I15 years
Tier or level II25 years
Tier or level IIIUntil death

What Are Sex Offender Residency Restrictions?

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:

  • Schools
  • Playgrounds
  • 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.

How Close to a School Can a Sex Offender Live?

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:

  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Oregon
  • Utah
  • Vermont

New Hampshire is in the process of removing residency restrictions for sex offenders.

Which States Impose the Most Lenient Restrictions?

The following states stipulate that a sex offender must live at least 300–750 feet away from a children’s area:

NebraskaNorth DakotaRhode IslandSouth Dakota

Which States Are Stricter?

Other states are more draconian in their regulations, as follows:

States With a 1,000 Foot Restriction
KentuckyLouisianaMissouriNew York
OhioPennsylvaniaSouth CarolinaWashington
WyomingIndianaNorth CarolinaWest 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)

What Other Restrictions Do Sex Offenders Face?

The area where they can live is not the only restriction sex offenders face.

In many states, those convicted of sex crimes may not:

  1. 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
  2. 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.

How To Keep Your Loved Ones Safe

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.

Get Peace of Mind With DoNotPay’s Sex Offender Search Feature

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:

  1. in your web browser
  2. Click on our Sex Offender Search feature
  3. 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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