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The South Carolina sex offender registry is a valuable resource that allows citizens to sign up for notifications signaling when registered sex offenders move into their communities. Law enforcement uses the registry to keep track of people who were convicted of sex crimes.

If you’ve been convicted of a crime that requires registration as a sex offender, registering may feel like an inconvenience. However, the consequences of not registering are worse than being in the database itself.

You could face hefty fines and more jail time.

If you failed to register as a sex offender, or if you provided incorrect information in your registration, contact a criminal defense attorney right away to try to minimize the fallout. In the meantime, take a moment to get acquainted with the laws and expectations around South Carolina’s sex offender registry.

The basics of the sex offender registry

Registering as a sex offender in SC is reasonably straightforward but there are some rather specific regulations about who has to register, where and when.

Who is required to register as a sex offender?

South Carolina residents who meet one of the following conditions regarding charges of sexual assault, criminal sexual conduct, buggery, incest, voyeurism, or human trafficking must register as a sex offender if they:

  • Pled nolo contendere (accepted punishment without accepting or denying responsibility for the crime);
  • Pled guilty;
  • Were found guilty in juvenile court (also known as adjudicated delinquent); or
  • Were found guilty at trial.

You’re considered a resident of South Carolina if you remain in the state for 30 days within a 12-month period.

Where does sex offender registration take place?

You must register as a sex offender at the sheriff’s department in the county or counties where you live, work, go to school, volunteer or own property. If any of your information changes you have three business days to notify the sheriff’s department in writing with the updated information.

When are sex offender registration deadlines?

For your first time registering as a sex offender, you must do so within one day of…

  • Sentencing, if you are sentenced to probation
  • Release from juvenile detention, if you are a juvenile
  • Release from jail or prison, if you are a convicted offender

After your first registration, you must update your sex offender registration biannually for the rest of your life — once during your birth month and again 6 months later during the month of your half birthday.

However, if the court labels you as a sexually violent predator, then you must update your registration and have your photo taken at the sheriff’s department every 90 days for the rest of your life.

What happens if you fail to register as a sex offender?

If you’re required by law to register as a sex offender and you don’t do it — or you do register using fake details — then you will likely face additional criminal charges and penalties. To avoid serious consequences, keep up with your regular sex offender registry updates.

Failing to register on time and registering with false information carry the same potential penalties.

Failure to Register

You could face a failure to register charge if you do not complete your sex offender registration at the location and time outlined in South Carolina Statute 23-3-460. The penalties for the crime increase based on how often you break the law, as detailed in the chart below.

Registering with False Information

If you thought you could get around the sex offender registry requirements by providing inaccurate information, think again.

The crime of knowingly and willfully giving false information when registering as a sex offender results in punishments equally as harsh as simply not registering.

ChargeClassificationFineJail TimeNotes
1st offenseMisdemeanorUp to $1,000Up to 366 daysBoth fine and jail time possible.
2nd offenseMisdemeanorNone366 daysMandatory sentence. Can’t be suspended or probated.
3rd offense or moreFelonyNoneUp to 5 yearsMandatory sentence. The first 3 years can’t be suspended or probated.

Are you a sex offender with legal troubles? We can help.

Do you have questions about the sex offender registry? Are you facing new criminal charges for failure to register or registering with false information?

Either way, our team at Kent Collins Law is standing by to provide you with legal support and representation.

To schedule a free, no-strings-attached consultation, call our office at 803-808-0905 or send us a note through our online form.

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