Illinois’s sex offender registry is not a place where you want to see your name. The public list allows friends, employers, and anyone with access to Google, really, to see your name, address, occupation, and a list of past sex offenses.
Many of these offenses are things that most people would probably expect: sex offenses against children and various sexual assault charges, for example, all lead to a spot on the sex offender registry. But other criminal offenses on the list are not quite so obvious.
Crimes You Might Not Know Require You to Be on the Sex Offender Registry
If you are charged with the following crimes, you can not only face felony charges, but having to register on the Illinois sex offender registry for years – or even decades.
Indecent Exposure/Public Indecency. Even if sex occurs between consenting adults, if it’s done in public, it’s considered a crime.
Sexual penetration, as well as the lewd exposure of the body in order to sexually satisfy another person, is considered public indecency (also called indecent exposure). This charge excludes breastfeeding, but includes “flashing” another person. A first charge is only a misdemeanor offense, but if someone is habitually caught committing indecent exposure, they will face felony charges and may wind up having to register as a sex offender.
Soliciting for a Prostitute. If a prostitute is under the age of 18, any crime involving them will require registration. Unfortunately, even if the offender did not know the prostitute’s age, they cannot use this excuse as a legitimate defense in court.
Other similar crimes that result in required registration include:
- Indecent solicitation of an adult
- Keeping a place of juvenile prostitution
- Patronizing a juvenile prostitute
- Juvenile pimping
- Exploitation/sexual exploitation of a child
- Pandering/patronizing/pimping if the victim is under age 18
Kidnapping. Kidnapping is normally considered an assault or violent crime. In movies, the kidnapper’s motivation is usually to elicit ransom from the child’s parents.
However, in the real world people often kidnap others for sexual reasons. If a prosecutor can show a jury that the kidnapper’s motivation was sexual in nature, registering as a sex offender may be a possible penalty.
This rule also applies to aggravated kidnapping and unlawful restraint of a child charges. If someone is convicted of kidnapping or unlawful restraint, they will be considered a “sexual predator” and will have to register every year for the rest of their life.
First Degree Murder. First degree murder is one of the most serious crimes that you can commit in Illinois. Whether or not the crime was sexually motivated, a murder conviction will require registration as a sexual predator.
If someone is convicted of murder (of a child or an adult) they are considered a sexually violent person, and will have to register every 90 days for the rest of their natural life.
How Do Offenders Register With the State of Illinois?
When an offender is released from prison or from court, Illinois law provides only a short window of time to go to a local law enforcement office and register as a sex offender. Some of the information registrants have to give to the office includes:
- Place of employment
- School(s) attended
- Chat room identities/social media profiles
Registration requires offenders to check in their local law enforcement agency and pay $100 every year or every 90 days. If the offender moves or leaves the state, additional registration and communication with law enforcement will have to take place.
In addition to registering, sex offenders face restrictions on where they can loiter, where they can live, and what minors they are allowed to interact with. In fact, if a parent or guardian leaves their child with a known sex offender that is not the child’s parent or parent’s roommate, the parent or guardian will be charged with a criminal offense.
Failing to adhere to these guidelines may result in extra criminal charges.
If You Have Been Charged with Sex Crimes
If you are afraid that you may be charged with a sex crime, review Illinois’ list of sex crimes and what convictions require registering as a sex offender. Knowing the possible penalties to your case is the first step in fighting for your innocence and freedom.
After you have been arrested or charged, reach out to an Illinois criminal defense lawyer immediately. A knowledgeable attorney can help you build a strong defense and give you the best chance at walking free after your trial is over.
About the Author
Sami Azhari has been working as a lawyer since 2007, after receiving his Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law. He has handled numerous state and federal cases, and is known throughout the Chicago and Rolling Meadows area for providing his clients with high-quality, skilled representation. He has been recognized by SuperLawyers, the National Trial Lawyers Association, and other notable organizations, and has spoken at a number of legal conferences.