Sex offenders face some of the most serious penalties upon conviction. In addition to fines and jail time, sex offenders are forced to register in a national database which can impact their civil rights and significantly reduce opportunities. It has been argued that sex offenders face even more penalties and hardship that violent offenders, including convicted murders. Now Alabama legislators are seeking to punish sex offenders even further, and some registered sex offenders are speaking out.
Convicted sex offenders are required to register, which can restrict where they live and work. Our Birmingham sex crimes defense lawyers know the severity of a sex crime conviction. We are dedicated to providing alleged offenders with a fair defense to ensure that they are not wrongfully convicted. We are also abreast of legislative issues and other agendas that may impact the lives of alleged sex offenders.
Registered sex offenders are speaking outagainst a new bill that would make it illegal for sex offenders to live in the same residence without monitors and a sheriff’s license. According to legislators and prosecutors in Autauga and Chilton counties, the licensing and monitoring are necessary to prevent sex offenders from living at the same residence.
For many convicted sex offenders who have already served their time, this is an additional hardship and burden that will reduce their opportunities to rehabilitate. For many sex offenders, it is already difficult to find a place to live. Transitional housing is a place that offers stability for sex offenders who want to reintegrate after they are released from prison.
Transitional housing or “halfway houses” are an alternative for many convicted sex offenders because they can live in a group community. Passing this bill would block registered sex offenders from living in these group homes that have been proven to help offenders and reduce likelihood of additional criminal activity.
Despite the concerns of registered sex offenders, officials are claiming that their only concern is public safety. According to officials, 49 sex offenders have lived at the same address since 2010. None of the men living at the premises have caused a problem and there have been no reports of repeat offenses. The halfway house has been a haven for those seeking to reintegrate after they have served their time. Currently, there is no law against the concentration of sex offenders in Chilton County; however, there are laws in Birmingham and Jefferson County that restrict sex offenders from living together.
The danger of a sex crime conviction is that society expects you to commit the same crime again. Activists believe that they can take any action necessary to preemptively stop a crime. Society and legislative action are set in place to restrict your quality of life to prevent this from happening, even if there is no evidence. Unfortunately, sex offenders suffer a huge loss of their civil liberties in the event of a conviction.
If you have been accused of a sex crime or you think that criminal charges may be filed against you, it is never too early or too late to consult with an experienced defense attorney. Remember that individuals accused of sex crimes could face serious penalties upon conviction, including a sex offender record and mandatory registry. The hardships of a conviction can follow you, even after your time has been served.