Does the Michigan Sex Offender Registry Affect Holiday Travel?

Plans to travel this holiday season? Be careful if you’re a registered sex offender!


In the wake of the recent holidays, we have had a number of people contact us to ask about how the Michigan Sex Offender Registry affects travel. Several people apparently experienced first hand, the frustration of how having your name on a government list can affect your holiday travel plans. Not a fun scenario at all! So we have decided that perhaps it’s time we unpack this aspect of the Sex Offender Registry, and how it can impact your ability to vacation away from home.


Imagine booking a wonderful vacation with your family. You’ve saved for ages, booked your flights and hotel, and now everyone is lugging suitcases to the airport for the start of what is going to be one of the best family vacations ever! Except it isn’t. You and your family board the plane to Mexico, dreaming of cocktails on pristine beaches and late-night buffets. But there’s a problem. When you arrive in Mexico, you’re detained. They won’t let you enter their country because you’re a sex offender.


Countries all over the world have restrictions on what type of people can enter, a fact that is even more restrictive since 9/11. Many countries do not allow known felons to cross their borders. However, sex crime defense attorneys have noticed a new trend: what’s stopping people from entering is not their criminal record, but their status as a registered sex offender.


With technology advancing at breakneck speed, it’s much easier now for countries to screen visitors as they enter, and check whether or not they are registered sex offenders. As a result, many countries have policies that allow them to refuse entrance to people on a sex offender registry such as Michigan’s SORA.


However, not getting to enjoy those cocktails on the beach could be the least of your problems if you’re detained in an airport. In some instances, registered sex offenders could also face prosecution for not properly alerting authorities before leaving home to travel. As registered sex offenders know, it is extremely oppressive and confusing to follow all the requirements of Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry.


Travelling out of the country is no different.


Michigan law requires registrants to notify law enforcement in person “within three days of forming the intent to leave their home for more than seven days.” Under the law, this requirement does not apply if the travel is for seven days or less. However, Federal sex offender guidelines are different. Under Federal law, a registered sex offender is required to notify law enforcement 21 days before any international travel, no matter what length of time they pan to be away.


This means that someone heading to Mexico for five days of sun and fun with family, would be required under federal sex offender guidelines to go to the police station 21 days before leaving on the trip to notify them of the same. Michigan law, on the other hand, wouldn’t have required the registrant to notify law enforcement at all, because the trip is only five days in length. No wonder many sex offenders are so easily confused by the conflicting rules.


As attorneys who regularly handle issues dealing with the Michigan sex offender registry, we can sympathize with those who are confused about the registry’s requirements. We have successfully represented people accused of registry violations,  including traveling from a residence without meeting the requirements of in-person law enforcement notification. We have also been successful in getting our clients removed from the sex offender registry in Michigan.


The experienced defense attorneys at The Kronzek Firm have spent decades representing people from all over Michigan who are accused of sex crimes. No matter what your circumstances are, you are going to need to have the right legal defense team. Our history of successful defenses throughout Michigan is a testament to our hard work, commitment and dedication to our clients and their freedom. Call us today at 866-766-5245. We can help!