New Nevada Sex Offender Reclassification May Cause Problems for Lower Tier Offenders

Arrested man and gavel

Earlier this month, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that it was “constitutionally sound” for Nevada to apply tough new retroactive requirements for registered sex offenders under a state law (Assembly Bill 579). With these new requirements, a sex offender would be classified by the crimes previously committed, rather than their current risk of reoffending.

The new changes in Nevada sex offender registration requirements do not bode well for some individuals convicted of sex offenses. Since it is retroactive, it can make life quite a bit more difficult for offenders who are currently classified as Tier-1 (low risk of offending) or Tier-2 (moderate risk of reoffending). If the offense originally committed was a Category A sexual assault (NRS 200.366), lewdness with a child (NRS 201.230), or any number of other sexual offenses, the offender can find him or herself recategorized as a Tier-3 offender.

A Tier 3 categorization also comes with stricter requirements since the government considers the offender to have a higher rate of recidivism and pose a greater threat to society. Under this tier, a person would be listed on the Nevada Sex Offender website. Additionally, notification would be sent to local law enforcement, schools, youth organizations and other outlets in the general community. With the recent changes to classification, a Tier-3 categorization may place a burden on offenders that previously were considered by the state to pose less of a risk to society.

This change to Nevada law has the potential to affect hundreds of current registered sex offenders. There are currently 1978 active Tier-1 cases, 2531 Tier-2 cases, and 254 Tier-3 cases in the state of Nevada, according to the Nevada Department of Public Safety. These figures also include a number of individuals who are not in compliance with registration requirements under NRS 17D.

Given the amount of public scrutiny and lifestyle changes that follow all registered sex offenders, even Tier-1 offenders, this new change may be problematic. This can lead to problems finding housing, finding employment, and general integration within the community. It may also punish sex offenders who have successfully completed their rehabilitation, integrated safely into society, even decades after the offense was committed.

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3 Comments

  1. Shirley C. Doe
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    I am the Mother of a Tier I Sex offender who has worked hard and followed all of the rules, this is absolutely unbelievable! It’s hard enough already for these men to try to fit into society and becomce useful citizens again after having paid their debt to society . The laws have been held up to the fullest and they have done everything requied, and still that isn’t enough!

    The recidivism rate is so low on this Tier level (statically abut 3%) as has been proven by numerous studies by PROFESSIONAL and QUALIFIED people, that I can’t understrnad why that is not given the publicity that all of the other negative infomation is given. For 10 long yrs. I have followed all of the bad information and the laws put into place regarding this subject, and it has been a terrible distortion of the real truth for these people and their families!

  2. R. Pickens
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    I am an ex-offender, and I’ve been law abiding for 15 years, done what I’m asked to do, and now, you tell me it doesn’t matter, and that the state has permission to punish me even more! what about my right to live in peace with my family? how am I going to support my 70-year old mother? thanks Nevada, it’s not right that you profit from my one mistake, that doesn’t include a child, but a 26 year old who took advantage of the law, I can’t even get a pardon now, can’t keep a job, and now I’m loosing my home, and am a victim of vigilantism by my neighbors, thanks Nevada. Every one thinks doing this is cool, but, remember, it don’t take much, to be in my shoes. for 15 years I have had to pay for my mistake, and just when I think I’m finally going to get the truth told and put this behind me, the rug gets pulled again, because of some one trying to keep thier office so they can rip us taxpayers off. when is enough enough, I guess when I’m dead, they’ii leave me alone, finally

  3. anonymous
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    I’ve obviously misunderstood what I read. I thought judge Mahan put a permanent injunction on this and it seemed like it was upheld on appeal. At least from being applied retroactively. I know someone that was classified as a tier I and because of this is now classified as tier ii and was almost at the ten year mark for being able to get off of registration and now has to wait 15 more years and have his picture and all his info on the internetwhen it wasn’t before. Does he have any legal recourse to get put back down to tier I?

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