PA sex offenders subject to revised SORNA law

PA legislature revises SORNA

PA’s Newest SORNA Law:

Major changes to PA’s SORNA were just signed into law.  PA’s newest SORNA (passed by House Bill 631) became effective on February 21, 2018.  House Bill 631 made several changes to SORNA.

Last July, the PA Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in Commonwealth v. Muniz.  The Court held that SORNA cannot be applied to people who committed sex offenses before it became law (Dec. 20, 2012).  The Court found that SORNA was “punishment.”  Thus, it was unconstitutional to apply SORNA to people who committed their offense before the law took effect.  Months later, the PA legislature proposed changes to SORNA.  These changes were meant to “correct” SORNA’s unconstitutional portions.  Under the new law, people who committed sex offenses before December 20, 2012 are still subject to PA’s SORNA.  Also, these people must comply with new and different requirements.

Over the years, PA has passed several versions of sex offender laws.  The most recent version is PA’s sixth version of a sex offender law.  Below is a short summary of the new law:

Overview of PA’s New Version of SORNA:

  • This new law has different requirements that depend on when an offender committed his or her offense.
    • “Subchapter H” applies to people who committed sex offenses after Dec. 20, 2012.
    • “Subchapter I” applies to those who committed sex offenses before Dec. 20, 2012.
  • The new law states that after 25 years, registrants can petition the court to end their registration duties.  This includes removal from the Internet registry.
    • First, a registrant must file a petition with the court.
    • Next, a registrant must get evaluated by the Sex Offender Board. This evaluation determines if a registrant poses a danger to others.
    • Finally, the court holds a hearing to decide whether a person should be relieved of having to register.  A registrant should hire a lawyer to present evidence that he/she should be removed from SORNA. If the court denies the petition, the registrant can appeal.
    • Registrants can file another petition five years after the first one was denied (and every five years after).  Maynard Law Office, LLC has experience filing these petitions.  Our firm has helped clients get off various states’ sex offender registries.
  • Before the new law, people who had to register for life were required to register four times each year.  Now, registrants who must register for life must do so once per year. Sexually violent predators are still required to register four times a year.
  • Registrants are still put on the Internet registry. However, if a registrant has been on for 25 years, he/she may be able to file a petition to be removed.  It is vital to hire a lawyer if you have registered for at least 25 years to see if you can get removed from the Internet.

Call Maynard Law Office, LLC today for a free consultation!

It is not clear if PA’s new law is constitutional.  That is why it is crucial to hire a lawyer if you committed a sex offense before December 20, 2012.  Maynard Law Office, LLC has been able to get PA registrants off the registry in the past.  Our law firm understands PA sex offender law and we are ready to fight to protect your rights!  Call (973) 540-0054 to speak with one of our lawyers.

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