Petitioning For Removal from the Sex Offender Registry in North Carolina


Being listed on the Sex Offender Registry is one of the harshest and longest lasting punishments that can be imposed by law. Registered sex offenders endure constant stress and anxiety caused by acts that often occurred years ago. There are serious criminal penalties for being in the wrong place or failing to file the right form. Most offenders are on the registry for minor crimes committed in their twenties, and they have matured and become responsible adults who want families or careers. The stigma of being on the registry can be a huge obstacle to achieving those goals. Luckily for registered sex offenders, there is a process to petition for removal from the sex offender registry. However, that process is not straightforward and failure has serious consequences.

How Does the Petition Work?

A petition for removal from the sex offender registry uses a form that can be found here. In order to apply for a petition, the registrant must show the following:

  1. The person is required to register as a sex offender.
  1. The person has been subject to the North Carolina registration requirements for at least ten (10) years beginning from the date of initial North Carolina registration.
  1. Since the date of their conviction, the person has not been convicted of any subsequent offense requiring sex offender registration.
  1. Since the completion of the sentence for the offense placing the person on the registry, they have not been arrested for any offense that would require sex offender registration.
  1. If a previous petition for removal was filed and denied, one year or more must have passed since the date of the denial.
  1. If the conviction requiring registration occurred in another state or in any federal court, the person must provide written notice to the sheriff of the county where the conviction occurred about the petition to terminate the registration requirement and include an affidavit verifying that.

Once the petition is filed, a court hearing will be held to determine whether the petition for removal will be granted. In addition to the above information, the court must also make several other findings:

  1. That the person served the petition on the District Attorney at least three (3) weeks prior to the hearing.
  1. The person seeking removal is not a current or potential threat to public safety.
  1. The relief requested complies with the provisions of any federal standards applicable to the termination of a registration requirement.
  2. The court must inquire at the hearing whether any victim is present and wishes to be heard, and the Court must grant any victim an opportunity to be reasonably heard if they wish.

If the court can make all of these findings, then the petition can be granted and the person who filed the petition can be terminated from the sex offender registry. That means any additional time left in the 30-year registration requirement for convicted sex offenders will be waived once the person is removed from the registry. However if the court denies the petition, then the petitioner must wait an entire year remaining on the registry before a judge will consider another petition to remove them.

Should I Hire an Attorney to Help Me With A Petition For Removal?

The answer is unequivocally yes. Having been on the sex offender registry for 10 years without any convictions or arrests for additional sex offenses is a huge investment that deserves to be protected. Wandering into court without a lawyer is a sure way to put all that hard work in danger. There are a few reasons to hire an experienced attorney, like the ones at Jetton and Meredith:

  • If a petition is denied, it is an automatic year long wait before the next opportunity.
  • Our attorneys have good reputations with the court and practice regularly in front of judges in many counties, and that reputation can help the judge feel comfortable about your petition.
  • You cannot be appointed an attorney for this petition, so the only way to get professional help is to retain counsel.
  • Proving that a person is not a current or potential threat to public safety involves the collection of numerous documents related to the treatment and progress of the registrant, which requires skilled argumentation and experience to present effectively.
  • Certain offenses are a 15-year waiting period under federal law and a petition for removal for these offenses cannot be granted until then.

Are you on the Sex Offender Registry and you are hoping to be removed? Take the time to hire the best and schedule a consultation with one of our award-winning attorneys today! We have what it takes to get you off the registry once and for all. Just call (704) 931-5535 and we will get to work making things right for you!