The stigma of a criminal conviction can vary by its severity and the nature of the charges. None carry more social branding and public scorn than a sexual offense. Lawmakers and the public cry for the need for greater public safety all while restricting freedoms of those who have served their sentences and are attempting to put the past behind them. Utah’s registration laws are on par with the worst in the country, which is why those accused of these crimes need relentless criminal defense lawyers on their side.
Protected Areas Deny Access to Public Grounds
Rules for sexual offender registrants in Utah (Title 77 Chapter 27 Section 21.7) deny them access to public grounds, including parks, on the off chance children may gather in these areas. Other areas, including shopping malls, may also be off limits to the offenders because of the prospect for child contact. How are these people supposed to buy groceries, clothes, and other essentials when they can’t even walk into a store because children might be inside? The ludicrous nature of the law’s wording invites (or dares) those under its thumb to break it out of necessity and in doing so they risk further prosecution. Being in a “protected area” in Utah is a Class A Misdemeanor.
Registration Requirements Can Lead to additional Charges
Visiting Utah as a sex offender is often just as difficult as living in the state as one. Statutes require anyone visiting the state who is on another state’s registry to also register with Utah authorities if they’re visiting for 14 straight calender days or a total of 30 days in a calender year. That means someone traveling to the state for business purposes may have their name, photograph and personal information plastered all over the Internet by local authorities when they’ve done nothing wrong. It’s overtly punitive and provides no rehabilitative value.
Encouraging Isolation over Rehabilitation
Lawmakers designed these statutes to isolate offenders and make it more difficult to have access to their victims. In doing so, they’ve closed the noose so tight around these men and women that they can have virtually no contact with their own family members and may have to live miles away from them in order to comply with registration requirements. Isolation and depression do not foster healthy living and they do not make the community safer. Marginalizing a group of people after they’ve served their debt to society says more about the society than it does those they choose to label.
Then, we have to think about the wrongfully accused. Those who have done nothing wrong and are forced to endure at least a decade of scorn and humiliation because of circumstantial evidence, outright lies and indignant prosecution. Brian Banks, now a 28-year-old linebacker with the Atlanta Falcons, famously spent more than a decade as a sex offender in California due solely to the false testimony of an accuser who later recanted.
If you, or someone you love, has been accused of a sex crime, including sexual assault or rape, you need strong legal defense to get these charges dismissed, reduced, or to win your acquittal. Contact our law offices today for an immediate consultation with our legal team, We make emergency jailhouse visits anytime of day or night.