Persons placed on a sex offender registry might find their inclusion on the list impacts their lives for years after completing a prison sentence, parole, or probation. Court challenges have led to people getting their names removed from the list, as judges may rule in the offender’s favor. In North Carolina, a process exists to get one’s name removed, but the individual must meet specific requirements for eligibility.
Persons placed on sex offender lists have filed lawsuits in federal courts to remove their names. For some, the challenges proved successful. In late 2021, a U.S. District Court judge ordered the removal of eight men from a sex offender list in Tennessee.
The ruling noted that the men’s presence on the sex offender registry proved unconstitutional. The ruling focused on “retroactive punishments” and their excessive nature. The case did not involve sex offenders convicted in North Carolina, as the convictions took place in Tennessee.
In many cases, the offender remains on the list for 30 years. However, under North Carolina law, someone who committed a nonviolent sex offense may request removal from the list after ten years. The removal from sex offender registry rules establish that the petitioner cannot commit repeat offenses or be considered a violent sex offender.
The petition involves filing a form titled “Petition and Order for Termination of Sex Offender Registration” with the court. A judge will then rule on the petition. The conviction that placed the person on the sex offender registry need not have occurred in North Carolina, which some may not realize.