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New York’s Sex Offender Registration Act

Under New York law, sex offenders are required to register under New York’s Sex Offender Registration Act (also known as Megan’s Law). The reporting requirements and the length of time for registration depends on a host of factors including the risk assessment.

The risk assessment is extremely important. “Level One” or low risk offenders are not required to be listed on the internet. On the other hand, high-risk and moderate-risk offenders must be listed on the state and federal sex offender internet websites.

Any person subject to sex offender registration in New York is entitled to a hearing before a judge to determine his or her risk level. The SORA Risk Assessment hearing is one of the most important phases of the criminal case. Prosecutors after seek an upward departure from the finding in the risk assessment. An attorney might help you seek a downward departure.

The hearing can take place when you are sentence, when your prison sentence is about to end, or when you move to New York from another state. You are entitled to notice of the date of the hearing and the evidence against you. You also have the right to be represented by a criminal defense attorney and to present witnesses at the hearing.

If you cannot afford a lawyer, the court must appoint you an attorney at no cost to you. You also have the right to appeal the decision if you disagree with it. To find out more about hiring an attorney at Greco Neyland, PC in Manhattan to represent you at the SORA Risk Assessment hearing. We represent clients these hearings throughout New York City.

Let us put our experience to work for you. Call (212) 951-1300 today to discuss your case with an attorney experienced in defending men and women against serious sexually motivated crimes.


Hearings with the Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders in Manhattan

Convictions for certain sexually motivated offenses can render the person subject to the Sex Offender Registration Act (see Correction Law §§ 168–a [2][d] and 168–d. The Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders will complete a risk assessment instrument (hereinafter RAI) that presumptively classifies a defendant as a sex offender according to a specified risk level.

The RAI will consider the defendant’s long-term use and possession of child pornography and expressed interest in adolescent males or females. The Board can recommended an upward departure to a higher risk level. The prosecutor will also complete a separate RAI and can assess additional points based on the number of victims, establishing a relationship with the victim and a defendant’s prior nonviolent criminal history. 

The People, represented by a prosecutor, can also recommend an upward departure to a higher risk level based on the violent acts depicted in the pornography, as well as the extent and duration of defendant’s habit. At a hearing, the County Court will consider each RAI and the request for an upward departure.  The County Court must issue a written order setting forth its findings of fact and conclusions of law (see Correction Law § 168–n [3] ). The court will often make oral findings and conclusions. 

An upward departure from the presumptive risk level is justified when an aggravating factor, not adequately taken into account by the risk assessment guidelines, is established by clear and convincing evidence. In making this determination, the County Court will often consider reliable hearsay evidence such as the case summary, presentence investigation report and risk assessment instrument. The County Court will also consider a defendant’s past misconduct.


Additional Resources

Sex Offender Registration Act – NYS DCJS – Find the statutory language of the NYS Sex Offender Registration Act. 

NY DCJS Sex Offender Registry FAQ – Locate frequently asked questions about New York State’s registered sex offenders including: “When did the New York State Sex Offender Registration Act take effect?

NY DCJS – Sex Offender Registration Act Settlement – Find constitutional challenges to the New York’s Sex Offender Registration Act (” SORA”), and Article 18-B of the County Law. 


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