Image of children on a playground to illustrate how Indiana sex offender registration law requirements impact where offenders who are required to register may work, live and play.

Indiana Sex Offender Registration Misunderstandings

The Indiana Sex Offender Registry was originally enacted in 1994. Despite being nearly a quarter-century old, there is still a great deal of misunderstanding about the registry. Many of these misunderstandings relate to things people think the registry requires. Violating the sex offender registry laws can lead to additional criminal charges.

What Is the Indiana Sex Offender Registry?

The county sheriff manages the registry for “sex or violent offenders” in each county in Indiana. Sex or violent offenders in Indiana, as defined in Indiana Code 11-8-8-5, must provide identifying information and their residential, and workplace addresses to the sheriff. Anyone can access the Indiana Sex Offender Registry to find out if there are sex or violent offenders in their area.

Sex Offender Registration Requirements in Indiana

The requirement to register is based on the crime for which a person was convicted. Indiana Code 11-8-8-5 provides a list of offenses requiring registration. Convictions for most, but not all, sex offenses require registration. In addition, convictions for murder, voluntary manslaughter, promoting prostitution, human trafficking, possession of child pornography, and kidnapping or criminally confining a child require registration.

The requirement for sex or violent offenders in Indiana to register is not necessarily related to the facts of the case. It also does not relate to the offenses originally charged. For example, if a person was charged with rape and sexual battery, but ultimately was convicted of battery, that person would not be required to register.

Most of the “sex or violent offenses” require registration for 10 years. Certain offenses, those listed in Indiana Code 35-38-1-7.5, or specific circumstances of the case, may cause the sex or violent offender to be considered a “sexually violent predator.” A person who meets the definition of a sexually violent predator is required to register for life, although sexually violent predators can file a petition with a court to reduce their registration requirements.

What Activities Are Restricted by the Sex Offender Registry?

Contrary to some common misconceptions, the Indiana Sex Offender Registry does not prohibit registered sex offenders from attending picnics where children are present. The registry does not prohibit sex offenders from going to schools or living near bus stops. The registry does not prohibit sex offenders from having contact with children.

There may be other laws or rules, such as probation or parole conditions, that prohibit some of these activities for particular individuals, but the registry itself is simply a list of people (i.e., “sex or violent offenders”) convicted of certain offenses (i.e., “sex or violent offenses”). Conditions of probation or parole are separate and are established for each individual.

Updating the Sex Offender Registry after Changes

If an Indiana “sex or violent offender” moves or changes employment, the offender must update his or her address within seven days. If the offender is a “sexually violent predator,” he or she must update the new address within 72 hours of the change.

Another common misunderstanding of Indiana’s sex offender registry occurs when an offender moves into Indiana from another state. While all states have a sex offender registry, each state’s registry is unique. Different states may require registration for different offenses.

Indiana provides an appeal process for a non-incarcerated sex offender in Indiana to challenge a local authority’s inclusion or exclusion of certain information that appears in the registry.

Need to Know More about the Indiana Sex Offender Registry?

If you have been charged with an offense that may require Indiana sex offender registration, have been convicted of sex or violent offenses and are interested in reducing your registration requirements, or were convicted of offenses in another state and are planning to move to Indiana, you may need the assistance of an attorney with experience in these areas.

Camden & Meridew attorney, Matt Kestian, was the sex crimes prosecutor at the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office from 2012 through 2015. He currently practices law as a criminal defense attorney throughout central Indiana. Both as a prosecutor and now as a defense attorney, Matt has handled many cases involving the Indiana Sex Offender Registry. To speak with Matt, call 317-770-0000 or email the firm at    

This website supplies general information about the law, but it is provided for informational purposes only. This content does not create an attorney-client relationship and more importantly is not meant to constitute legal advice. You should not act on any of the information contained herein without first consulting an attorney.