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Sex Offender Registration Violations Involving Facebook May Be Reversed

Posted on in Sex Crimes

New York Sex Offender Lawyer

Registered sex offenders convicted of a felony for failing to disclose Facebook usage can now get that conviction vacated due to a June 2019 ruling by the New York Court of Appeals. If you believe you were wrongly convicted of a registry violation, contact a Manhattan criminal defense lawyer to discuss your case.

What Are the Requirements of the New York Sex Offender Registration Act?

New York’s Sex Offender Registration Act requires convicted sex offenders to complete an annual verification process with the state Division of Criminal Justice Services. The verification form asks for the offender’s physical address, their school or work location, the name of their internet service provider, their email addresses, and other online identifiers used for the purposes of chat, instant messaging, or social networking. An offender who fails to comply with registry requirements can be charged with a class E felony for a first offense. The penalty for this crime may include up to three years of conditional discharge or probation or up to four years in prison. 

The Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act (E-STOP) was enacted in 2008 to help prevent sex offenders from using the internet to lure victims. In addition to requiring sex offenders to register their online identifiers, the law also authorizes social networking sites to deny access to sex offenders and to report violations to law enforcement. This act also ordered the courts to prohibit dangerous sex offenders on probation or parole from using the internet to communicate with a minor or to access pornography. 

How Does the New Court Decision Affect Facebook Usage?

Thousands of people have been charged with a sex offender registry violation for failing to disclose that they have a Facebook account.

The new court ruling declares that a registered sex offender need only register their email address and any “screen names” they use online. As long as the offender does not use a fake name to conceal their identity on a social networking site like Facebook, the offender is not required by law to specifically disclose that they have an account on Facebook. 

Consult an Elite Manhattan Criminal Defense Attorney 

Have you been charged with or convicted of a registry violation simply because you did not report the specific social media sites that you use? You may be able to get that charge or conviction thrown out, as long as you accurately reported your email address and screen name to the registry. For an aggressive team of New York City criminal defense lawyers to help you fight a registration offense, call the firm of Watford Jackson, PLLC at 855-WAT-JACK or 855-928-5225 now.   

Sources:

https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/COR/A6-C=

https://www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/2019/06/27/sex-offenders-need-not-disclose-facebook-accounts-to-law-enforcement-ny-court-of-appeals-rules/

 

 

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