Many people who have been convicted of kidnapping have been surprised to hear that they are expected to register as a sex offender. This is because South Carolina's sex offender registration law sets a requirement that many people with a conviction for kidnapping are required to register, even when there was nothing sexual about their case.
Here are some common scenarios that we have seen:
A South Carolina conviction for kidnapping - We have been contacted on behalf of those who are currently incarcerated or are recently released who have been told that they have to register. These are individuals who were convicted of kidnapping, but not under any circumstances where there was any type of sexual assault. This is because South Carolina law requires registration unless the judge made a specific finding as part of the sentence that registration is not required. This may not always happen, especially in situations where the judge was not familiar with the law or when they were hurrying through the sentencing paperwork to get onto the next case.
Mistaken belief that a minor was involved – In South Carolina if an individual is convicted of kidnapping a minor then registration is required, even if there was nothing sexual about the case. Sometimes paperwork may be misread, especially if the conviction is coming in from out of state and the paperwork is unfamiliar to South Carolina law enforcement personnel.
We are able to assist clients with these, or other similar scenarios, in obtaining relief from the requirement to register. If the following applies to you, you are welcome to contact our office for a consultation:
1. Prior conviction for kidnapping;
2. Where there was no allegation of a sexual motivation;
3. Where the alleged victim was 18 or over.
If this applies to you, then we may be able to assist you in obtaining an agreement or court order removing the sex offender registry requirement.
What if this doesn't apply, but you still are interested in getting removed from the registry?
Unfortunately, South Carolina law does not provide an opportunity for other individuals who were convicted of other offenses to come off of the registry absent a reversal of their conviction or a specific finding of innocence made as part of the pardon process. Unlike what we have heard the law is in other states, here you can't be removed from the registry simply by staying out of trouble for several years, or passing a psychological evaluation.
If the kidnapping issue does not apply to you, we would only be in the position to assist you if you are still within the time-period to file an appeal (10 days after a conviction), petition for post-conviction relief (1 year after conviction or end of appeal) or if there is significant new evidence (unknown at the time of your original case), that could prove that you are innocent (an example would be a new DNA match).