Rehabilitated Criminal or Social Pariah—What Are Sex Offenders Not Allowed To Do?

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.

What Are Sex Offenders Not Allowed To Do? DoNotPay Explains

Sex offenders are not treated like other criminals.

The U.S. criminal justice system sees most criminals as being rehabilitated and fit for society after they have served their sentence. Sex offenders are treated as an ongoing danger and kept in the public eye long after they are set free.

DoNotPay answers the question, “What are sex offenders not allowed to do?” and gives you tips to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Sex Offender Laws Across the Nation

Each state has its own laws for what constitutes a sex offense, but all agreed that there are three levels of crime:

Severity of OffenseExplanation
Level or tier ILevel or tier I is the least serious type of sex offense and can involve:
  • Public indecency
  • Non-violent sexual contact without penetration
  • Voyeurism
Level or tier IILevel or tier II includes offenses with pubescent minors, such as:
  • Sexual acts with minors aged 12–15
  • Distribution or production of child pornography involving pubescent minors
  • Coercion or enticement of minors aged 12–15
Level or tier IIIAny criminal sexual act that involves violence or pre-pubescent minors is classified as level or tier III. Such crimes can include:
  • Rape
  • Violent sexual abuse
  • Kidnapping for sexual purposes
  • Sexual abuse of or acts with a minor aged 12 or under

Sex offenses are normally tried in the state court unless they fall under federal law, which deals with the most serious cases. Those accused of sex offenses may be tried in a state court, a federal court, or both. Some cases begin in state courthouses and are elevated to federal ones as the extent of the crime becomes clear.

What Punishments Are Common for Sex Offenders?

Sex offenders are routinely punished severely in most states, with sentences frequently including:

  • Custodial terms of between 6 months and 15 years
  • Fines of up to $10,000
  • Commitment to a state mental institution after release

One thing that every state enforces is that sex offenders must place themselves on a registry after they have served their sentence.

Federal law insists that every state maintains a database of convicted sex offenders that contains their:

  • Names and aliases
  • Most recent photo
  • Home, work, and school address
  • Physical attributes
  • Record of convictions

These registries enable law enforcement officials and authorities to map the whereabouts of convicted sex criminals.

The 1994 Megan’s law also stipulates that these registries should be in the public domain, meaning that any member of the public can check the registry for information on sex offenders.

How Long Does a Sex Offender Have To Register For?

Convicted sex offenders have to place themselves on their state registry and maintain their registration for the following periods:

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

Most states insist on offenders reregistering once a year, but level III criminals may be required to do so quarterly.

Failure to register or update an entry leads to an offender being classified as unregistered. If caught, unregistered sex offenders can face up to 30 years of jail time on top of any sentence already handed down.

What Restrictions Do Sex Offenders Have?

Registered sex offenders face restrictions on their freedom even after they have served their sentence.

Depending on the state that tried the case, the restrictions can involve:

  1. Accommodation
  2. Local movement
  3. Travel
  4. Employment


Most states stipulate that convicted sex offenders may not live in the vicinity of a school, playground, or place where children congregate.

The required distance can range from 500 to 2,000 feet, meaning that many registered sex offenders are forced to move to rural areas to comply.

Local Movement

Sex offenders in many states are not allowed to travel in any area where children congregate. Many offenders have to take circuitous routes or risk punishment if they are caught in an off-limits area.


Many states require sex offenders from other states to register after a certain number of days in the state.

If an offender travels to a state where one of their convictions was for an act that does not require registration in their home state, this must be registered as well.

International travel is even more difficult. Sex offenders receive a mark on their passport that, when flagged at a federal border, triggers an automatic notification to the destination country’s authorities. Some countries may then refuse entry.


Registered sex offenders are prohibited from holding jobs that bring them into contact with children, regardless of whether their crime involved a child.

How To Arm Yourself With Information on Sex Offenders in Your Neighborhood

If you are worried that a sex offender may be living near you, you can access your state registry to perform a check based on your location.

If you are looking for the whereabouts of a specific person, the national registry collates all the state databases and allows you to search for the offender’s most recent place of residence.

Things can change overnight—a criminal could move into your building tomorrow, or your nemesis could arrive in your town, and you would only find out the next time you perform a check.

DoNotPay can help! We can —we can even keep you updated weekly, so you don’t have to worry!

Get Peace of Mind With DoNotPay

DoNotPay knows that your comfort and safety are the most important things in your life.

Our Sex Offender Search product gives you all the info you need to stay safe—here’s how to use it:

  1. in your web browser
  2. Click on our Sex Offender Search feature
  3. Choose whether you want to search for
    1. A particular person
    2. Sex offenders in your vicinity

Once we know what you’re looking for, we will send you the results in a flash. If you choose, we can even send you weekly updates to make sure you don’t miss any developments.

What About Laws in My State?

If you are looking for specific information on your state, look no further.

DoNotPay has looked into the laws for sex offender registration in most states—here are a few examples:

MichiganIllinoisNew York
CaliforniaIowaNorth Carolina

Drowning in Paperwork? DoNotPay Comes to the Rescue!

Dealing with administrative procedures is never a fun experience. Not only is it time-consuming, but it’s also extremely inconvenient and impractical. Luckily, we have a practical solution!

Use DoNotPay to cut through the red tape and handle any bureaucratic issue that comes your way stress-free! Check out the list below to see a fragment of tasks you can tackle with our help:

  1. Draw up a plethora of documents
  2. Stay safe from sex offenders
  3. Send demand letters to any company in small claims court
  4. Report work discrimination
  5. Apply for violent crime victim compensation program
  6. File a FOIA request
  7. Get your documents notarized with a remote notary

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