The People’s Lawyer

When moving to West Virginia, don’t forget your sex offender registration.

On Behalf of | Oct 24, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Sex offenses, particularly those involving minors, often involve distributing inappropriate material or possessing child pornography. These actions are serious and subject to legal consequences. Regardless of the nature of the offense, it is important to remember that each individual continues to have certain rights and responsibilities under the law.

One of these responsibilities is to remember to update your sex offender registration when moving between states.

Penalties for neglecting your status

In West Virginia, failing to register as a sex offender or update registration information is a serious matter. Penalties can vary based on the circumstances, but they are often severe. Under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, authorities can charge individuals with a felony if they knowingly fail to register or update their registration. A conviction could result in imprisonment for a period ranging from one to five years and fines between $1,000 and $5,000, or in some cases, both.

Thus, updating your registration isn’t just legal compliance; it’s also imperative to safeguard your rights and your future.

Know your obligations

According to the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, if you are a sex offender from another state, you should update your registry within 30 days of entering West Virginia. You can register online at the West Virginia Police website or contact your local law enforcement agency. To register, you may need to provide the following details:

  • Government name
  • West Virginia address
  • Birth date
  • Physical description
  • Vehicle information
  • Email address and other relevant data

After you provide your details to law enforcement, they might request fingerprints and a recent photo. If you don’t comply, you could face charges for registration violation. Consider the case of Caleb Steiner, a 42-year-old from Wheeling. He faced legal consequences for not meeting these requirements. Despite his obligation to update his address when moving states, Steiner neglected to do so. As a result, he was indicted for failing to register as a sex offender.

Trouble in overlooking certain responsibilities

Past mistakes can affect people long after they make them, even as they grow and learn from these missteps. However, defending against charges and compliance with registration rules can mitigate long-term implications.