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Des Moines Sex Offender Registry Defense Lawyer

The requirements for having to register as a sex offender depend on the unique circumstances of each case. The following information is designed to serve as a general guideline to some commonly asked questions and to lay out some of the details of the law.

For advice specific to your situation, make sure to speak with West Des Moines sex offender registry defense attorney Peter Berger at the Berger Law Firm, P.C. You can reach our office in Urbandale online or by telephone at 515-288-8888 to schedule a free, confidential initial consultation.

Sex Offender Registry Requirements

Sex crime allegations, whether they are overcharged or simply untrue, can have terrible long-term effects on you, your family and your reputation, including potential imprisonment and restrictions on where you can live because of the sex offender registry.

The registry law is under attack in the legislature as not being workable for both law enforcement and citizens convicted or having pled guilty to crimes covered by the statute. For now, at least, it is the law and has many requirements that include registering immediately as a sex offender upon release from prison (or after being sentenced to probation); notifying the sheriff of residency within five days; at least yearly verification of address and taking of a photo for 10 years; and severe restrictions on where the person can live.

Obviously convictions for crimes such as sexual abuse and lascivious acts with a child qualify, but there are other qualifiers also, such as “any indictable offense involving sexual conduct directed toward a minor.” Posting or trading of such depictions can arguably qualify.

Who Has to Register?

The Iowa criminal code explains all of the requirements. Crimes are divided into tiers. If the crime qualifies and is listed on one of the tiers, you must register. It doesn’t make any difference whether you went to prison, got probation or were granted probation with a deferred judgment. The court and probation, or the Department of Corrections, would tell you what to do and when to do it.

How Will Registering Affect Me in General?

Persons with any tier I-III sex offense are required under sex offender registry requirements to register in a public database where anyone can learn the details of their past crime. An individual with a lifetime registry is significantly impacted, much more so than an individual on lifetime parole for an equally if not more serious offense. Offenders generally must register for 10 years from the date they are placed on probation, released on parole or work release, or released from a term of incarceration. The sex offender registry requirements are applied to anyone convicted of a sex crime if the individual resides, attends school or is employed in the state of Iowa. If a registered individual violates any section of the registry laws, he or she is required to register for an additional 10 years. If the registered individual re-offends, he or she is then subject to registry for life.

A first offense is an aggravated misdemeanor punishable by two years in prison and a fine, or probation and fine. A second offense is a five-year class D felony. The charge becomes a 10-year class C felony if the underlying offense was an aggravated crime against a minor. Compliance has to be taken very seriously, including listing all identifiers, such as email addresses and Facebook.

How Attorney Peter Berger Can Help

When Mr. Berger investigates and provides your defense, or mitigation/reasons for what happened, the case will be designed to more than just defend you. It will be specifically constructed to defend against the techniques that the opposition will use in an attempt to get a guilty verdict.

A very important aspect of defense work is sentencing, should there be a jury verdict of guilty, and/or negotiated guilty plea. There are many ways to mitigate or otherwise lessen penalties. These include, but are not limited to, private risk assessments, polygraphs in certain situations, letters of recommendation, continued therapy with favorable reports (or placement in therapy) and lack of significant criminal history and good works by the client. There are many sentencing approaches as a last alternative in the defense of these types of serious allegations.

For a more case-specific analysis of your situation, contact our office and arrange a free initial consultation.