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How Can Being a Sex Offender Affect Your Life?

How Can Being a Sex Offender Affect Your Life?

How Can Being a Registered Sex Offender Affect Your Life?

If charged with a sex crime, a conviction may not only result in harsh penalties (such as prison time and a fine) but can also lead to mandatory registration as a sex offender.

While becoming a registered sex offender can sometimes take a back seat to more immediate concerns during a criminal trial—such as avoiding a harsh prison sentence, or affording thousands of dollars in fines—it’s important to understand that having your name listed in the South Carolina Public Sex Offender Registry can drastically affect your day-to-day life.

Unlike its northern neighbor, South Carolina's sex offender registry is for life. This means that if your name is entered into the public sex offender database, it will remain there indefinitely. As you can imagine, societal stigmas can create many hardships for people forced to live out the remainder of their days in the public eye.

In some cases, offenders may discover that the lifelong shame, ridicule, and other stigmas that come with being in the sex offender registry are far more challenging than jail time or a hefty fine. It isn’t unusual for registered sex offenders to experience limited economic opportunities, diminished quality of life, and poor mental and psychological wellbeing.

How does being a registered sex offender impact your daily life, health, and relationships? What constitutes sex offender registration in South Carolina? Keep reading to learn more about state laws and restrictions for registered sex offenders.

What Crimes Require Sex Offender Registration?

The South Carolina court considers sex crimes to be serious offenses with severe consequences. Under South Carolina Code §23-3-430, a sex offender is a person who has been convicted of a sex offense.

Sex offenses fall on a wide spectrum of types and severity. Examples of sex crimes include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Rape. This crime entails nonconsensual penetrative sex with another person. The act does not need to include penetration with a sexual organ to be considered a crime, as any penetrative object used for nonconsensual sex constitutes rape.
  • Indecent exposure. This occurs when an offender intentionally reveals sexual organs in public.
  • Child molestation. This offense concerns sexual acts with minors, such as touching or exposing genitalia, taking pornographic pictures, or inducing sexual activity.
  • Sexual battery. This crime is sexual conduct that doesn’t involve penetration, but does involve physical and nonconsensual contact of a sexual nature.
  • Sexual abuse. This offense entails sexual acts forced upon another person without their consent. It typically involves ongoing acts over an extended period of time.
  • Child pornography. This offense includes “any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor.” Under federal law, this crime is a form of child exploitation that sexually depicts a person under 18 without regard for consent.
  • Internet sex crimes. This includes various crimes facilitated online or via social media accounts, such as sexting; possessing, distributing, and/or producing child pornography; soliciting sex; or sex trafficking.
  • Prostitution. This involves a transactional exchange of sex for money. Soliciting prostitution is also considered a crime.

8 Ways Being a Sex Offender Can Impact Everyday Life

Registered sex offenders are strictly obligated to adhere to certain laws and legal requirements. While being in South Carolina’s sex offender registry can create a wealth of economic and financial hurdles for registrants, the social fallout can be equally devastating to a person’s wellbeing.

Keep reading to learn 8 ways that being a registered sex offender can impact your day-to-day life.

#1. Police may conduct home visits periodically.

Registered sex offenders must comply with routine verification visits from law enforcement. This means that the police reserve the right to visit registrants in their homes for the purpose of verifying an individual's address, whereabouts, or other details of their registration. In some cases, law enforcement may drop by a registrant's home to follow up on a tip.

#2. You’re banned from certain locations.

Depending on the type and severity of the sex crime they were charged with, a sex offender may be prohibited from coming within a certain distance of specific locations. Common places that may be considered out of bounds for a registered sex offender include:

  • Schools
  • College campuses
  • Daycare or childcare facilities
  • Playgrounds or parks
  • Youth centers
  • Sports fields
  • Public libraries

This is far from a comprehensive list, as there is a wide range of places the judge may prohibit a sex offender from frequenting depending on the nature of the crime.

#3. You’re required to regularly update your information in a public database.

Publicity can be one of the most challenging parts of being a registered sex offender. Information in state sex offender registries is often accessible to the public, meaning that any individual can access various information about an offender, including (but not limited to):

  • Name
  • Home address
  • Workplace
  • Physical characteristics
  • Aliases

…and other key details. In some cases, a public citizen can even obtain a photograph of the offender. As you can imagine, this can open the door for unwanted ridicule, harmful social stigmas, and even dangerous circumstances for registered sex offenders.

#4. You can't travel out of state without permission.

Most offenders convicted of a sex crime in South Carolina are considered felons. Such convictions can result in more than jail time, fines, or a probationary period. Registered sex offenders are usually required to sacrifice certain civil liberties, including traveling outside of their home state without permission.

#5. You have limited options for employment and/or housing.

Physical limitations can negatively impact employment and housing opportunities for sex offenders. Oftentimes, an offender is prohibited from living within a fixed distance of certain areas, such as schools or recreational facilities.

Being a registered sex offender can also affect a person’s employability and job prospects. Unfortunately, many employers automatically reject an applicant with a criminal record. Because the South Carolina sex offender registry is lifelong, those listed in the database may find themselves in a constant struggle to find and keep a job.

Registered sex offenders can encounter similar struggles when trying to secure housing. In addition to physical limitations (such as being restricted from living in proximity to a school or park), sex offenders are more likely to have their application rejected by a landlord, listing agent, or private seller when trying to secure housing. Many real estate professionals are under the impression that renting or selling to sex offenders can increase liability and lower property values.

#6. You’re prohibited from having online accounts or using the internet entirely.

Depending on your criminal record, registered sex offenders can also face internet restrictions. This is especially common for offenders who committed internet sex crimes (such as child pornography or online solicitation of a minor).

Some registered sex offenders are prohibited from having social media accounts or may be restricted from using the internet entirely. Naturally, this can increase the challenge of finding and keeping a job, as internet restrictions can automatically make sex offenders ineligible for certain careers that require technology use.

#7. You can lose civil freedoms.

In the vast majority of cases, committing a sex crime is a felony. Consequently, a convicted felon may forfeit certain civil liberties, such as your right to own a firearm and even your right to vote.

#8. You struggle to forge and/or maintain relationships.

Perhaps the most overlooked challenge of being a registered sex offender is the social fallout. Being in the public sex offender registry not only jeopardizes your relationship with an employer or landlord, but can also impact your relationships with friends, family, and romantic interests.

Many people who find themselves in the sex offender registry suffer the loss of personal relationships. While maintaining existing relations with friends, family, or a significant other can be difficult, forming new relations can be just as challenging, as identifying as a registered sex offender can open the door for premature judgments, unfair assumptions, and other harmful stigmas.

You Can Count on Us to Defend Your Rights

Being convicted of a sex crime can be detrimental. For many, registering as a sex offender in South Carolina can impose lifelong consequences. That’s why our experienced criminal defense attorneys are committed to defending the rights of the accused in the Lexington area.

Whether you made an honest mistake or are the victim of false accusations, the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC is here to fight for the justice you deserve. Our top-rated team of sex crime defense lawyers can determine the most effective legal defense strategy and guide your steps accordingly to obtain a favorable outcome in court.

The repercussions of a sex crime conviction are lifelong. The first step to reclaiming control of your life is having the right legal team in your corner. When your life hangs in the balance, it’s critical to rely on experience. Our firm is here to provide the aggressive legal representation you deserve from start to finish.

Were you charged with a sex crime in South Carolina? Don’t throw away your future by failing to seek help. Call (803) 359-3301 today or contact us online to request a free consultation.


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