Sex Offender Registration Act - Level 1
If a person convicted of a sex offense is facing a SORA hearing, a SORA attorney
should attempt to pursue every legal strategy for obtaining a Level 1. In New York, a Level 1 sex offender faces the least burdensome restrictions and avoids having a public internet profile on the sex offender registry. Also, the offender can petition for total removal after 20 years.
A Level 1 SORA status is the best possible outcome for a person convicted of a sex offense. Unfortunately, judges rarely score an offender at Level 1 without an aggressive attorney raising all of the proper legal arguments. It is important for a SORA attorney to fight for a Level 1 at the SORA hearing
because it is the only proceeding where the state has the burden of proof. Also, it is important for the SORA attorney to create a complete record at the SORA hearing and to argue effectively any appealable issues. Otherwise, an offender will be stuck with a Level 2 or Level 3 status, which remains for life unless an attorney can argue a successful motion fordownward modification
Currently, the state of the law for Level 1
offenders has lead to legal challenges in state and federal court. Some offenders have attempted to challenge the provision of SORA that requires all offenders to remain registered for at least 20 years. These legal challenges often take years to wind through the courts, and so far none of them have created any changes in the law. However, a few cases in state and federal court have revealed that some judges find the unusually long sex offender registration periods for even minor offenses to violate due process.
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