Interviewer: What would you say are some of the more common misconceptions that people have about sex related crimes?
Fred Dry: In many cases, people believe that cases on sex related crimes can’t be won, even if they’re not guilty. They believe they can’t get a fair trial because of the nature of what the accusation is, which is not so. Sometimes, they believe that a good lawyer can’t make a bad situation better, they just believe that all lawyers are going to end up being the same and that they’re going to be found guilty no matter what, which is clearly a misconception. And there are ways to win these cases; not in every case. But the government doesn’t have a perfect prosecution record and sometimes, they can be won.
Interviewer: If someone were to register as a sex offender, a sex offense, that’s a lifetime deal, right, that cannot be expunged or anything like that?
Fred Dry: No. For sex related crimes and convictions, once you have it, you’re subject to all of the requirements that a conviction from whatever the particular offenses carry. As I said, some offenses only require you to register for a period of years and other offenses require you to register forever. No conviction can be expunged.
Registering as a Sex Offender is Mandatory in Case of a Conviction for Sex Related Crimes
Interviewer: Is there anything positive about registering as a sex offender? I mean is there anything in a situation where it sets better than the alternative?
Fred Dry: I don’t think there is an alternative. It’s a mandatory component if you’re convicted of any sex offense, the offense is designated as a sex offenses and then, there’s a mandatory registration, which would be the same type of registration for anybody who has to do it and the only difference amongst in-between the people who have to do it is for how long it has to be done. It’s not as if a judge can say at sentencing, “Well, we’re giving you a harsh sentence otherwise so we’re going to exempt you from this”, they’re not able to do that. So, it’s a mandatory component of the sentence, the judge doesn’t have discretions.
Failure to Register as a Sex Offender Following a Conviction Carries Severe Consequences
Interviewer: What are some penalties if someone fails to register or violates something on their offense?
Fred Dry: It’s a separate and distinct crime on its own for which there are penalties. Every criminal offense is some type of a potential jail offense. I can tell you that the prosecutor’s office and the courts take failure to report very seriously and I have read numerous appellate court cases which hold that requirement very dearly and don’t give up on it very easily. Sometimes people fail to register in the appropriate way and most of the times, there are acceptable reasons for having not done so.
True Inability is Generally a Reason Under the Law to Excuse Failure to Comply
Interviewer: What are some examples of those?
Fred Dry: If you’re injured and you’re in the hospital and you’re unable to get out, then you’re unable to do it. True inability is generally a reason under the law to excuse most failures to act. How far you can go from absolute disability toward total mobility, Can be a grey area and if a person ends up being accused of failing to register, the reasons that justify excusing it are very narrow.