Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Laws Have Been Updated, And They’re Confusing Everyone. Including The Cops!

Michigan law can be confusing, especially when it’s not something you have any training in, or that you deal with on a regular basis. So hearing that Michigan has updated it’s Sex Offender Regisration rules in a confusing way may be disheartening for the average person from Lansing, St. Johns, Adrian, or Grand Rapids, but possibly not very surprising. However, to hear that the cops are also confused about the updates is pretty concerning, given that they deal with this stuff every day. So let’s take a look and see if we can’t decipher some of this legal tangle for you. 

A woman with her hands in the air, and a confused look on her face, shrugging as if she doesn't understand something.

As a registered sex offender, you should have been notified of the updates. (That’s what might have confused you.) 

If you were convicted of a sex crime, and you’re on Michigan’s sex offender registry, you should have recieved a letter in the last few weeks from the Michigan State Police explaining the new changes to the reporting requirements. The changes have been in the works for several years now, after the state registry was declared unconstitutional by a federal court. The changes were signed into law back in December of 2020, and became effective on March 24, 2021. But according to the MSP, ever since they notified registrants of the modifications, their phones have been ringing off the hook with confused callers wanting clarification on the confusing new updates. 

Get help from the right people if you want the right answers!

So, we’ll take this opportunity to tell you to never seek legal advice from a non-lawyer. There is a huge difference between a law enforcement officer that is trained to enforce that law, and an attorney that is trained to understand the law. They are very different skill sets, even though that concept may be a bit difficult to understand because they seem so similar. Talk to your lawyer, not the police, when you have a legal question

What new changes were made to the Michigan sex offender registry?

There are several things on the sex offender registry that are very different now – requirements that have been eliminated, or made less rigid. For example:

  • The law no longer prohibits registered sex offenders from living or working within 1,000 feet of a school. Even the ‘loitering’ requirement has been done away with.
  • If the sex offense you were convicted of happened before July 1st, 2011, you’re not required to report your email addresses or internet handles to the State Police.
  • Sex offenders who are homeless are no longer required to maintain a driver’s license.
  • Certain young offenders who successfully complete probation as part of certain deferral programs don’t have to register as sex offenders at all.
  • The Michigan sex offender registry no longer classifies sex crimes according to tiers, and has also eliminated certain pieces of personally identifying information from the publicly accessible database.
  • If your criminal record is expunged by the state, you are allowed to have your name removed from the registry.

This is a learning curve for the cops as well as the public!

The new changes to Michigan’s sex offender registry means new information for the police to process, and new steps that have to be taken to deal with certain situations. For example, having your name removed from the registry means contacting the cops at your local Michigan State Police post. But the database is complex, and the new changes have made it harder for them to navigate. So if you end up reaching out to the police – whether it’s the post in Oak Park, Mount Pleasant, or Brighton, stay calm and try not to get exasperated if the officers you speak to don’t have all the answers yet. It’s confusing for everyone, and they’re still trying to figure out what it all means, and how to implement the changes. 

The best way to avoid being a registered sex offender, is to avoid a sex crime conviction!

As we’ve pointed out before, the best way to keep your name off the sex offender registry in Michigan, is to not be convicted of a sex crime in the first place! And how do you do that? By making sure you hire one of the best sex crime defense attorneys available in Michigan’s lower peninsula. And which attorneys would those be? Why, us, here at The Kronzek Firm, of course! Our aggressive and highly skilled criminal trial team has been helping people in Michigan protect their freedom and stay off the sex offender registry for decades, and we can help you too. Call 866 766 5245 today to set up your free Zoom or phone consultation. We’ve been successfully defending our clients against sex crime charges since the last century.