New Illinois Law Means Retroactive Registration for Some Sex Offenders

January 1 is the default date Illinois state laws go into effect if no specific date is mentioned in the text of legislation. For 2012, a slew of new rules are on the books, and one of them could have a drastic impact on those accused of Illinois sex offenses.

Provisions of HB 1253

Previously, sex offenders did not have to register for offenses for which they were convicted, punished and released before the current sex offender registration rules were in place. As originally written, the law would have required all convicted sex offenders who were not currently on the list to register retroactively.

However, questions of constitutionality caused Illinois lawmakers to limit the scope. Under the final version in effect for 2012, only those previously convicted of sex crimes who commit a new offense (even an offense that is not sex-related) will have to add their names to the sex offender registry.

Implications for Sex Offense Defendants

The new law raises a number of concerns for those accused of crimes in Illinois. Perhaps foremost, for those convicted of a sex crime before registration requirements were enacted who have since paid their debt to society, it highlights the importance of retaining an experienced Illinois defense attorney to vigorously contest any new charges. But, even for individuals not directly affected by HB 1253, the new law is yet another level to a disturbing trend.

An annual smattering of new sex offender requirements have become almost a given each year. In addition to the retroactive registration law, bills became effective in 2012 pertaining to offenders' mandatory registration with college campus authorities, as well as measures augmenting the penalties for child luring, child pornography and stalking by registered sex offenders. Every year, laws targeting sex offenses are ratcheted up, with little chance of ever loosening.

Unlike more standard fare, however, HB 1253 does not just create a longer prison term or a more stringent sex offender notification structure. Instead, it reaches back in time to tack on added conditions for sentences long since completed. The new law calls into question whether additional sanctions could be applied to a current offense by future lawmakers.

Building A Strong Legal Defense Is Essential For the Accused

If you are facing sex crime accusations, your future is at stake in a very real way. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect yourself from missing out on the full breadth of life's opportunities.