Get Off the Sex Offender Registry

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By: Bill Henry
PublishedJul 20, 2022
7 minute read

If you’re a registered sex offender then you know how this designation looms in nearly every corner of one’s life. Long after you’ve completed your sentence, the sex offender registry will limit housing and job options, and it can destroy personal new relationships and hurt the reputation you’ve worked hard to rebuild. The good news is that some sex offenders can ask to get off the sex offender registry after a period of time.

In this article, we’ll cover who can petition the court to get off the sex offender registry, when you can make the ask, and how to do it.

The Bottom Line

The Colorado Supreme Court has held that the state’s sex offender registry was not created to be a form of continued punishment. Find out if you’re eligible for removal from the registry.

We Can Help You Get Off the Sex Offender Registry

Our compassionate criminal law attorneys can help you determine whether you are eligible to ask the court to be removed from the sex offender list. Call 303-688-0944 to begin your case assessment, o lláme al 720-359-2442 para hablar con alguien en español.


Who is Eligible to Get Off the Sex Offender Registry

According to Colorado law, “any person required to register … or whose information is required to be posted on the internet … may file a petition with the court … for an order to discontinue the requirement for such registration or internet posting.” C.R.S. § 16-22-113 (1)

Now, there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, certain violent sex offenses may never be removed from the list. And individuals who are eligible to petition the court must meet certain criteria.

Who Cannot Get Off the Sex Offender Registry

While some people convicted of felony sex offenses are eligible to be removed from the sex offender registry at some point, others are not. For instance, sexually violent predators must register for life.

The following crimes if committed as an adult make a person ineligible to be removed from the sex offender registry:
  • sexual assault
  • first-degree sexual assault as it existed prior to July 1, 2000
  • second-degree sexual assault as it existed prior to July 1, 2000
  • sexual assault on a child
  • sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust
  • sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist
  • incest
  • aggravated incest
  • an adult who has more than one sex crime conviction
  • an adult who has a conviction as an adult as well as a juvenile conviction
    C.R.S. § 16-22-113 (3)

When You May Apply to be Removed

When someone completes a sentence for a sex crime conviction, they are required to register as a sex offender for anywhere from five to 20 years before they can ask to discontinue that obligation. When the time comes to petition the court for removal from the list, the individual must have maintained a record free of additional sex offense convictions or their request will automatically be denied.

Let’s take a look at which sex crimes are eligible for registry removal and when someone can file the petition for removal.

Class 1, 2, and 3 Felony Sex Crimes

If you were convicted of a class 1, 2, or 3 offense, you must wait 20 years after your release from prison or the department of human services to file a petition to get off the sex offender registry. C.R.S. § 16-22-113 (1)(a)

Human Trafficking for Sexual Servitude Convictions

If you went to prison for committing human trafficking for sexual servitude, you may ask to be removed from the sex offender registry after completing your prison sentence. However, in order for the court to approve the request, you must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that you, too, were trafficked by someone else at the time you committed the offense.

A preponderance of the evidence means you have to convince the court there is a greater than 50 percent chance that your claim is true.

If you can’t meet this standard, you will be required to wait 20 years before they can ask to be taken off the registry. C.R.S. § 16-22-113 (1)(a.5)

Class 4, 5, and 6 Felony and Class 1 Misdemeanor Sex Crimes

As you may expect, individuals convicted of a lesser offense can petition to get off the sex offender registry sooner.

If you were convicted of unlawful sexual contact or third-degree sexual assault, you may apply to discontinue your registration obligations 10 years after being released from the department of corrections. C.R.S. § 16-22-113 (1)(b)

Other Misdemeanor Sex Crimes

People convicted of misdemeanor unlawful sexual contact other than class 1 misdemeanors can file their petition as early as five years after their sentence is up.

Deferred Judgments and Adjudications

If you were required to register as a sex offender as part of your deferred judgment, you may petition to no longer be listed on the registry after you successfully complete the deferment. One caveat to this is if the court issued an order to continue registration after the deferred judgment ends. If that’s the case, you’ll have to remain on the sex offender list.

Sex Offenders with Physical or Intellectual Disabilities

State law provides a sort of compassion provision for registered sex offenders who have severe physical or intellectual disabilities. Sex offender registrants who are not considered a threat to public safety due to a severe physical or intellectual disability may petition to end their duty to register. Their legal counsel may file the paperwork on the person’s behalf. C.R.S. § 16-22-103 (2.5)(a)

Juveniles on Colorado’s Sex Offender Registry

The laws surrounding juveniles convicted of sex crimes are different than those for adults. For instance, Colorado law requires that juvenile sex offenders be automatically removed from the registry when they turn 25 years old or seven years after they are required to begin registering, whichever occurs later. C.R.S. § 16-22-103 (4)

In addition to that, courts must also consider whether a juvenile should even have to register as a sex offender once they finish their sentence. Sometimes, a court will order a juvenile to register as a sex offender after they get out of detention and sometimes they won’t. We’ll look at what happens in each of these circumstances.

After a Juvenile Sentence Completion

If No Court Order to Register Exists

If someone convicted of a sex crime was younger than 18 at the time of the offense, he or she may petition the court when their sentence is successfully completed if the court did not issue an order to either continue or discontinue the duty to register.  

When determining whether to grant the petition, the court must consider the following:
  • whether another sexual offense is likely to occur
  • victim testimony
  • recommendations from the prosecuting attorney
  • opinion of the person’s probation officer
  • a statement from the person’s treatment provider
  • recommendations made in the person’s presentence investigation report

If the individual faces prosecution for unlawful sexual behavior as an adult or for any other offense related to unlawful sexual behavior, the court is precluded from granting the request. C.R.S. § 16-22-113 (1)(e)

If a Court Order to Register Exists

If the court did, in fact, issue an order requiring the juvenile to register as a sex offender, the court must consider whether to end that person’s obligation to register when their sentence ends.

The court is obligated to notify certain parties related to the offense, including the district attorney, probation officer, and the victim if she or he requested to be notified.

If the district attorney or victim objects to terminating the offender’s duty to register, the court will schedule a hearing.

If no one objects, the court will issue an order to discontinue the registration or set a hearing to determine if the registration will continue. The court considers the same relevant criteria as listed above, such as the likelihood of a repeat offense. C.R.S. § 16-22-113 (1.3)(b)(I)

What is the Process Like to Get Off the Sex Offender Registry?

Filing Your Petition

If you are eligible to discontinue registration, you must file a petition with the court that issued your conviction. You also have to provide a copy of the petition by certified mail to each of the following parties:

  • each law enforcement agency with which you’re registered
  • the district attorney for the jurisdiction where you file the petition
  • the prosecuting attorney who obtained the conviction of the registrant
    C.R.S. § 16-22-113 (2)(a)
After Filing Your Petition
Within 21 days of filing your petition, you must file with the court must the return receipts indicating that each party received notification. During this timeframe, you also have to submit supporting documents that you are eligible to cease registration. Supporting documents must include records showing that you completed any court-ordered treatment. C.R.S. § 16-22-113 (2)(b)

Once the court receives your petition, it will set a hearing date, notify the district attorney, and let the victim know if they requested to be notified.

The victim and DA have 63 days to file an objection to your petition.

If there are no objections, the court can consider your petition without a hearing. When deciding whether to grant your petition, the court will consider statements provided by the victim and the district attorney, records of your treatment (if there was any), and any other relevant information.

The court may grant your petition if you have:

  • completed your sentence
  • had no other sex crime convictions during your registry period
  • your wait time to file your petition is up
  • you’re unlikely to commit another crime involving unlawful sexual behavior
    C.R.S. § 16-22-113 (2)(e)
What Happens if the Victim or District Attorney Object

If there’s an objection to your petition, the court will schedule a hearing to determine whether to grant it. In addition to what the D.A. and/or victim have to say, the judge will also consider all the information listed above, such as sentence completion and recidivism. C.R.S. § 16-22-113 (2)(f)

Registrants with Severe Disabilities

The process to end one’s duty to register as a sex offender is the same for people with severe intellectual or physical disabilities. C.R.S. § 16-22-103 (2.5)

Process for Deferred Judgments and Sentences

If someone has completed a deferred judgment or deferred sentence and asks the court to discontinue their duty to register, the court must notify all the parties involved in the offense at least 63 days before the case is dismissed – that includes the victim if they asked to be notified. C.R.S. § 16-22-113 (1.3)(a)

If any of the parties objects to the petition, the court will schedule a hearing to consider testimony and render a decision.

What if My Conviction Was Not in Colorado?

If you are eligible to be removed from the sex offender registry but your conviction was obtained outside of Colorado, you may seek a civil order to end your duty to register.

In order to get a civil order, you’ll have to file a civil case in the district court where you live. C.R.S. § 16-22-113 (1.5)

After Your Petition is Granted

Once the court enters an order to discontinue your duty to register as a sex offender, you’ll be responsible for giving a copy of it to every law enforcement agency with which you’ve had to register, including the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

The CBI must remove your name from the sex offender registry once it gets the copy of the order. Local law enforcement must do the same.

We Can Help You Get Off the Sex Offender Registry

While you may file to get off the sex offender registry on your own, an attorney can ensure a more streamlined process for you. Our criminal defense attorneys will make sure the correct petition is filed, help you gather the proof you need to show the court that you are a candidate for removal, and fight for you in a hearing if necessary.

Let us be your legal advocate as you prepare to rebuild your life. Call 303-688-0944 to set up your case assessment, o lláme al 720-359-2442 para hablar con alguien en español.

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