25 Sep 23

What crimes require sex offender registration in New York?

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Last Updated on: 26th September 2023, 12:19 am

What Crimes Require Sex Offender Registration in New York?

In New York State, individuals convicted of certain sex offenses are required to register as sex offenders under the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA). This law aims to protect the public by providing information about convicted sex offenders living in the community.

Registration requires providing personal details to law enforcement and keeping this information current. Failure to comply can lead to felony charges. But which crimes mandate registration as a sex offender in NY?

Overview of SORA

SORA classifies sex offenses into 3 levels based on the risk of reoffending:

  • Level 1 (low risk)
  • Level 2 (medium risk)
  • Level 3 (high risk)

The level assigned determines how long an offender must remain registered and whether they will show up in the online public directory.

Only Level 2 and 3 offenders appear in the searchable online directory maintained by the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). Level 1 offenders are excluded to protect their privacy.

Here’s an overview of the registration periods for each level:

  • Level 1 – 20 years
  • Level 2 – Life
  • Level 3 – Life

Judges determine the risk level at the time of conviction based on things like the crime committed, criminal history, victim age, and other risk factors. DCJS provides judges with risk assessment guidelines.

List of Registerable Offenses

Under SORA, registerable sex offenses in New York include (but aren’t limited to):

Rape and Sexual Assault Crimes

  • Rape 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Degree
  • Criminal Sexual Act 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Degree
  • Aggravated Sexual Abuse 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Degree
  • Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child 1st and 2nd Degree
  • Predatory Sexual Assault
  • Predatory Sexual Assault Against a Child
  • Sexual Abuse 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Degree
  • Aggravated Sexual Abuse in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Degree
  • Facilitating a Sex Offense with a Controlled Substance

Child Pornography Offenses

  • Promoting an Obscene Sexual Performance by a Child
  • Possessing an Obscene Sexual Performance by a Child
  • Promoting a Sexual Performance by a Child
  • Possessing a Sexual Performance by a Child
  • Use of a Child in a Sexual Performance

Offenses Against Vulnerable Victims

  • Sexual Misconduct
  • Rape 3rd Degree for victims incapable of consent
  • Criminal Sexual Act 3rd Degree for victims incapable of consent
  • Sexual Abuse 3rd Degree for victims incapable of consent
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Other Sex Crimes

  • Incest 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Degree
  • Sexually Motivated Felony
  • Unlawful Surveillance 1st and 2nd Degree
  • Disseminating Indecent Material to Minors 1st Degree
  • Attempts to Commit Sex Offenses

This covers many of the main sex crimes requiring registration in NY. But it’s not exhaustive. Check the full list of registerable offenses for details.

Federal and Out-of-State Convictions

It’s not just New York State convictions that trigger registration requirements. Under SORA, registration can also be mandated for:

  • Sex offense convictions under federal, military, tribal, or other jurisdictions
  • Out-of-state convictions for registerable offenses in NY

So if an individual was convicted in another state but moves to New York, they must register based on NY’s list of sex offenses.

Duration of Registration

As mentioned earlier, the duration of registration depends on the risk level assigned. But there are some other rules that can impact the length of registration such as:

  • Risk level can be appealed during the initial sentencing or at a later time
  • Some lower risk offenders can petition for relief from registration requirements after a certain time period
  • Homeless offenders may have to verify information more frequently
  • Out-of-state offenders moving to NY may be able to reduce their registration period

Given the complexities, it’s important for anyone facing potential registration to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to understand their rights and obligations.

Consequences of Failing to Register

What happens if a sex offender fails to properly register as required by SORA? It’s considered a serious felony offense.

The first conviction can result in 1 to 4 years imprisonment. Subsequent violations bump the penalty up to 2 to 5 years imprisonment.

Some common registration violations include:

  • Failing to register within 10 days of release from incarceration or change of address
  • Failing to update address/other info annually or within 10 days of a change
  • Providing false information during registration
  • Failing to report internet accounts, screen names, etc.

Defendants often claim they were simply unaware of the registration requirements or deadlines. But ignorance of the law is not a defense. The only option is to fight the charges outright or work for a favorable plea deal.

Removal from Sex Offender Registry

Is it possible to get removed from the sex offender registry in NY? In certain cases, yes.

As mentioned above, some lower risk offenders can petition for relief after remaining offense-free for a period of years. The court may then grant removal in appropriate cases.

Another path is seeking a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities or a Certificate of Good Conduct. These can restore certain rights and lift occupational bars stemming from a conviction.


Finally, some offenders can seek to have their conviction vacated or reversed through the appeal process. This can remove the requirement to register altogether.

An experienced criminal lawyer is invaluable in pursuing any of these options. Don’t attempt it without legal guidance and representation.


  • SORA mandates registration for individuals convicted of a wide array of sex offenses in NYS.
  • Failure to register properly can result in felony charges and imprisonment.
  • Only Level 2 and 3 offenders appear in the online public directory.
  • Duration of registration depends on the risk level assigned.
  • Federal, out-of-state, and some foreign convictions also require registration.
  • Relief from registration is possible in some cases through appeals, petitions, or obtaining Certificates of Relief/Good Conduct.

As this overview illustrates, NY’s sex offender registration rules are complex. Anyone facing potential registration requirements needs to consult with a lawyer to protect their rights. An experienced criminal defense attorney can advise on the best strategies based on the charges and circumstances of the case.