Recent Colorado Sex Offender Registry law closes loophole

Until recently, transient registered sex offenders in Colorado could slip through address reporting requirement loopholes. Colorado legislators changed that.

The major purpose of a sex offender registry in many states is to enhance public safety and deter convicted sex offenders from engaging in repeat offenses. In addition, it can provide useful and relevant information for both the public and law enforcement as to who in their local neighborhood is a registered sex offender and where they currently reside.

Most states, including Colorado, have an online database for this. Recent photos, names, physical descriptions and convictions are all pieces of information a Colorado resident can obtain about a registered sex offender. One major piece of information is the most current address. Prior to July 2012, the address reporting requirements for a registered sex offender were not very stringent. This inadvertently created a loophole in some situations. A transient registered sex offender could potentially move and not have to report their new address until their annual registration became due. The new law has moved to close this potential loophole.

The sex offender registry requirements in Colorado

In Colorado, there are specific sexual offenses that are listed by statute, which automatically require a person convicted of one or more of the listed sex offenses to register with the Colorado Sex Offender Registry. Some of these sex crimes include:

  • Sexual assault in the first, second and third degrees
  • Child sexual assault, including by persons in a position of trust
  • Soliciting for child prostitution, sexual exploitation of a child and pimping of a child
  • Incest and aggravated incest
  • Indecent exposure, public indecency and invasion of privacy for sexual gratification

Failure to initially register as required by Colorado state law, as well as compliance with all continual requirements, such as re-registering annually within five business days of one's birthday, results in additional criminal charges. This includes failure to register as a sex offender. For those convicted of a felony, this means another felony charge and potential conviction. If a registered sex offender legally changes his or her name, the five business day rule also applies for updating this information with the registry.

Helping to remove potential address reporting loopholes

While there are many requirements under Colorado Sex Offender Registry laws, the address updating and reporting area was not the most stringent among them. Although a change of address has always created an obligation of reporting and updating with the registry, there was less consideration for those who lacked a fixed residency. These are sex offenders who continually moved from one place to the other, transient or had no residency at all.

State legislators saw a need to amend the existing law to correct potential loopholes like this one. On July 1, 2012, this new law went into effect. Now, sex offenders who do not have a fixed residency are required to self-report their location at least once every month. While this is a self-verification system, it is a step towards closing the address loophole.

Obtaining a lawyer is key to compliance

Being a registered sex offender in Colorado can mean significant legal issues now and in the future. Remaining in strict compliance with changing state and federal laws requires experienced criminal law counsel. Contact a skilled sex offense defense attorney in Colorado Springs.

Keywords: Colorado, Sex Offender Registry