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Virginia lawmakers expand sex-offender legislation

As someone facing a sex offender charge, it's important that you understand how you could be affected by the law in ways other than a prison sentence or fines. If you're convicted, you'll be placed on a sex-offender registry, which affects the places you can work or go. It affects the activities you can participate in as well.

A new sex offender bill in Virginia aims to reduce the areas in which registered sex offenders can live and travel. The goal of the bill is to keep those who are registered out of communities, but what could that mean for you?

If you're a registered sex offender, even if it was for something like statutory rape, you may no longer be able to be within 100 feet of a school, child day care or day program, gymnasium or athletic field. Those on registries also may not work as a volunteer at schools or day cares.

The legislation expands the list of qualifying offenses, which means even more people will now be affected than before. It now includes those who were charged and convicted in other jurisdictions. That means that those who commit crimes in Virginia will now be held to the same standards as those from out of state, but this also limits the ability of some to get a fresh start in a new location.

The legislation only applies to sex offenses that involved minors, but that also includes nonconsensual or consensual acts with minors. Failing to register or reregister as a sex offender also qualifies a person under these new regulations. Your attorney can help you understand if you'll be affected by these changes.

Source: NBC29, "Governor McAuliffe Signs Sex Offender Bill Patroned by Dickie Bell," March 20, 2017

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