Some folks convicted of sex crimes can be model prisoners or fly through probation without a problem, or both, but they still get a life sentence. It’s called the sex offender registry. A laundry list of sex-related crimes qualify for it, and only some of the more common ones are listed below.

Qualifying Offenses

The registry applies to South Carolina residents convicted anywhere—not just other states, but even in foreign countries—as adults or as juveniles, for a listed offense or one like it.

Sex Offender Registration Is Mandatory For:

  • Criminal sexual conduct in the first, second, or third degree
  • Assaults with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct
  • Criminal sexual conduct with a minor, first degree or third degree
  • Criminal sexual conduct with a minor, second degree—but not for consensual sex acts if the offender is 18 or less or it involved consensual acts between people under age 16.
  • Peeping Tom
  • Kidnapping a person under 18, unless the offender is a parent. If the victim is 18 or older, the judge must make a finding on the record it did not include a sex offense or an attempted one.
  • Certain sex crimes against spouses
  • Criminal sexual solicitation of a minor

Potential Registration: Indecent exposure can result in the judge ordering you to register. You can also be ordered to register for any other conviction if the judge finds that good cause has been shown by the prosecution.

There’s Virtually No Escape

Registration is for life. You register twice a year at the Sheriff’s Department in each county where you reside, own land, work, or are involved with a school—it’s not limited to attendance. Moving requires written notice of your change of address to the Sheriff within three business days. If you leave the county, you notify the Sheriff of the old county and the new one. If you leave the state, you notify the Sheriff here. The same applies if you change jobs or get involved with a new school.

If you come to South Carolina from another state to live, work, get involved in school, or just buy land and if you’re required to register, you must do so within three business days.

Failure to register or give notice of change of address, job change, or school involvement is a crime. It is not a defense to register after being arrested for the violation. Using false information to register is also a crime. Both crimes carry up to a year and a day in prison, just for a first offense.

Virtually Unpardonable

The only way to get off the registry is to have your conviction overturned and get acquitted on retrial or have the charges dismissed. A pardon keeps you on the registry unless it’s based on a finding of not guilty, specifically stated in the pardon. You can’t count on that.

Another Reason to Fight

The best way to defend against the sex offender registry is to prevent getting on it.

Without a doubt, some folks deserve the registry and we’re all safer for it. But at Holland & Usry, we recognize that unfounded charges and false accusations happen every day. We cannot accept an innocent person facing life in prison or the sex registry for something he did not do. We are not afraid to step into the firestorm these charges bring.

If you’ve been charged with a sex crime in Spartanburg, Greenville, or any of the nearby communities, call us toll-free at 888-230-1841 to talk about your defenses—you’ll need to mount powerful ones, and you can’t do it alone.


Rob Usry
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Rob is a Spartanburg personal injury lawyer. Rob also practices as a workers' compensation attorney.
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