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What are the National Sex Offender Registry's "jurisdictions?"

It is likely that plenty of Spokane residents have heard of the National Sex Offender Registry, but few may know exactly what it is, how it works and what happens if one is required to register. In many instances, a person facing federal charges for online child pornography, exploiting children and similar offenses will be required to register as a sex offender if convicted. This sentencing element contains many stipulations and a person facing such serious charges may want to seek legal advice immediately.

First emerging in 2005, the National Sex Offender Public Registry is a conglomeration of the different sex offender registry sites throughout the U.S. and its territories. The NSOPW provides current information from the many different jurisdictions in the U.S. These jurisdictions include all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, participating tribal jurisdictions and U.S. territories. If a person finds that information listed about a particular convicted sex offender is incorrect, he or she must contact the appropriate jurisdiction rather than the NSOPW itself.

Sometimes, convicted individuals who are required to register will appear as registered in more than one jurisdiction. This is because each jurisdiction's rules may differ and a person may be required to register depending on where they were convicted, where they currently live, where they used to live and so on. Thus, even if a person has relocated to a different jurisdiction, their information may still appear on their former jurisdiction's registry.

When a Washington or Idaho resident finds themselves facing federal charges for any crime, including sex offenses, their legal situation is likely to be a serious one. The National Sex Offender Registry is a powerful tool and one that can alter a convicted individual's life forever. Obtaining legal advice as soon as possible after an arrest or indictment on federal charges may help lessen the chance that a person will face such a stark consequence.

Source: The U.S. Department of Justice, "NSOPW," accessed Aug. 21, 2016

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