Can I Move to Another State While on the Sex Offender Registry?

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I want to start this article by clarifying that this is specifically for people who have completed their sentence for the criminal conviction that led to them being on the registry. If you are on probation or parole, there may be additional court orders or restrictions that prevent you from leaving the State. You should consult with an attorney and your probation or parole officer before doing so.

For someone who is or has been convicted of a sex offense, moving out of State or even visiting another state for a period of more than just a few days, can be risky. Every State has its own sex offender registry laws and once you move to another State, you avail yourself of that State’s laws. Just because your conviction results in you being a 10-year registrant in Indiana, doesn’t mean that is true in every State.

This is best illustrated by the following example: Let’s take a fictional person we will call John. John was convicted in Indiana of Sexual Misconduct with a Minor. However, John was 19 years old, and the Minor was 14 years old at the time of the offense. Therefore, John is only required to register as a sex offender for 10 years, not lifetime. John serves his sentence in Indiana and begins his 10 years on the Indiana Sex Offender Registry. After a few years, he decides he wants a fresh start and decides to move to Florida. When he arrives in Florida, he knows he is required to continue registering so he immediately reports to the local Sheriff’s department to make sure he is complying with the law and registering like he is supposed to.

John is under the impression that, since he is a 10-year registrant in Indiana, he will also be a 10-year registrant in Florida. John is mistaken. What Florida actually does is look at his conviction in Indiana, the facts of that case, and determines what equivalent crime he is guilty of had that crime been committed in Florida. It turns out that, under Florida law, that crime requires him to register for life. Now John is a lifetime registrant.

I want to add a disclaimer that Banks and Brower attorneys, including the author of this article, are not licensed attorneys in Florida and this example is for illustrative purposes only.

I always advise anyone convicted of a sex offense to avoid moving to another State if at all possible. If it is absolutely necessary, you should consult with an attorney in that State, however you may find it difficult to get a straight answer. While you can move to another State, it is risky and may have unintended adverse lifelong consequences. If you have any additional questions give the experienced attorneys at Banks & Brower, LLC a call today. We are available 24/7/365 at 317.526.4630 or by email at