Indiana Sex Offender Registry Misunderstandings

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 Registry.

The Indiana sex offender registry was originally enacted in 1994.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.

The Registry does not prohibit 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, but the Registry is simply a list of people (i.e. “sex or violent offenders”) convicted of certain offenses (i.e. “sex or violent offenses”).

The county sheriff manages the registry for “sex or violent offenders” in their county. “Sex or violent offenders” must provide identifying information and their residential and work place addresses to the sheriff. Anyone can access the Registry to find out if there are any “sex or violent offenders” in their area. The Registry is accessible at:

The requirement to register is based on the crime for which the 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 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, they 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 a “sexually violent predator.” If they are a “sexually violent predator” they are required to register for life, although sexually violent predators can file a petition with a court to reduce their registration requirements.

If a “sex or violent offender” moves or changes employment, they must update their address within seven days. If they are a “sexually violent predator”, they must update their address within 72 hours.

Another common misunderstand of the 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.
If you have been charged with an offense that may require registration, have been convicted of sex or violent offenses and are interested in reducing your registration requirements, or if you were convicted offenses in another state and are planning to move to Indiana, you may need the assistance of an attorney with experience in these areas. The sex offender registry laws are misunderstood, and violating these laws can lead to additional criminal charges.

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