Like most states, the State of Nebraska requires individuals who have been convicted of certain sex offenses to register as a sex offender. Failing to register, if required to do so, has serious consequences for the offender. One purpose of the registration requirement is to ensure that law enforcement knows where known sex offenders are currently living. Another purpose of the registration requirement is to provide the public with the ability to know if a registered sex offender is living or working nearby; however, will the community always be notified of the presence of a sex offender in Nebraska? The answer to that question is not a simple “yes” or “no.”
The Nebraska Sex Offender Registry is maintained by the Nebraska State Patrol, Sex Offender Registry Division of Investigative Services. Anyone who has been convicted of a registerable offense in Nebraska, or to a substantially similar offense in another jurisdiction, is required to register with the Sex Offender Registry. Members of the public are then able to search for the presence of registered sex offenders using a person’s name or geographic indicators such as a street address or zip code on the Nebraska Sex Offender website. An individual may also sign up to receive notices involving an offender, region, or location. Unless you have signed up for notifications, however, no notice will be given to the presence of a registered sex offender in your area. Therefore, the only way that a community will be made aware of the presence of a sex offender is by taking the time to run regular searches of the website or by signing up for notifications from the registry.
In addition, knowledge of the presence of a sex offender in the community depends on offenders registering as required with the registry. Willful violation of the registration requirement is a Class IV felony in Nebraska. Failing to register with a previous failure to register is a Class II felony (unless the underlying conviction was for a misdemeanor offense) and comes with a mandatory one year in prison if convicted. When an offender moves, he or she is required to inform the local sheriff’s office within three days of the move, in theory providing a thorough tracking system of everyone who is required to register. In reality, however, not all offenders register as required. Furthermore, offenders often fail to report a move until several days, even weeks, after the move is complete.
In short, the law should make it possible to know, at all times, when a sex offender is residing in the community; however, the law also relies on the offenders themselves to comply with the law.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.