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Minnesota’s Predatory Offender Registration Law

Now we now call it Minnesota’s Predatory Offender Registration statute. But most know it as Minnesota’s Sex Offender Registration law.

Most but not all of the offenses of conviction listed in Minnesota’s Predatory Offender Registration law are sex offenses.  Most sex crime convictions (and those “arising out of the same set of circumstances”) trigger the registration requirement.  But, rare exceptions exist where the lowest level sex crimes were the most serious charge.

Minnesota appellate courts have upheld the constitutionality of the statute’s registration requirement, even where all charges listed in the registration statute as triggering the requirement; were dismissed or acquitted. However, if the judge dismissed all charges listed in the registration statute as triggering the requirement, for lack of probable cause, then the Defendant would not be required to register.

So, the defense attorney can help the accused avoid an outcome (disposition) that will result in having to register. For example, the defense attorney may be able to challenge probable cause for the triggering charges at a Contested Omnibus Hearing.

Sex Offender Registration vs. Community Notification

We must distinguish this law from Minnesota’s Community notification law. That law is a scheme for community notification for some offenders after prison commitment. 

The registration law does not involve community notification. But a conviction triggers it (not a prison commitment).

joan of arc at stake
Joan of Arc

The Law Punishes the Innocent

What is the most unjust aspect of Minnesota’s Sex Offender Registration law? It requires predatory offender registration for those charged with, but not convicted of, a listed “predatory offense.”

So, you face a false accusation of a crime.  And you are innocent-in-fact.  But it was someone else’s mistake or malicious accusation.  And you did nothing wrong even remotely related to the listed “predatory offenses.”

And yet — still — the Minnesota law says you must register as a predatory offender or go to prison if you fail to do so.  Here is another law crying out for reform, to protect the innocent from injustice.

The Law Punishes Innocent Juveniles, Too

Another injustice embedded in Minnesota’s current predatory offender registration statute is that it requires juveniles adjudicated delinquent of any crime “arising out of the same set of circumstances as a crime listed in the registration statute triggers the requirement. That means if a juvenile is acquitted (innocent) of a sex crime triggering registration, but convicted of, for example, misdemeanor disorderly conduct, she would still be required to register as a predator offender for a minimum of ten years.

Sex Offender Registration law: Minnesota Statutes Section 243.166, titled “REGISTRATION OF PREDATORY OFFENDERS,” requires affected people to register for, at minimum ten years, up to life for some.  It applies to those convicted in Minnesota “or any offense from another state or any federal offense similar to the offenses described” in the statute.

Failure to Register as a Sex Offender in Minnesota

“Failing” to Register as a Predatory Offender in Minnesota is a felony.  Prison time is possible under the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines or the Mandatory Minimum Sentencing provisions of the statute.

As defense attorneys, if faced with a client conviction triggering Minnesota’s Sex Offender Registration law; we will seek to help the client avoid prison and get probation instead.

Loss of Civil Rights to Carry a Pistol While Required to Register

A person convicted of a felony “crime of violence” suffers a lifetime ban on possession of any firearm by default.

But Minnesota law requires some to register as “predatory offenders” even though never convicted of a felony “crime of violence,” or any felony for that matter. So, a person convicted of a Minnesota misdemeanor or juvenile delinquency adjudication can be required to register.

Minnesota Statutes Section 624.714, Subdivision 24 (2022) states:

“Predatory offenders. Except when acting under the authority of other law, it is a misdemeanor for a person required to register by section 243.166 to carry a pistol whether or not the carrier possesses a permit to carry issued under this section. If an action prohibited by this subdivision is also a violation of another law, the violation may be prosecuted under either law.”

Minnesota Statutes Section 624.714, Subdivision 24

Note that this statute relates to pistols. (Other laws may also strip gun rights.)

Moreover, as long as a person is required to register as a “predatory offender” under this law, that person will be ineligible to qualify for a Minnesota Carry Permit. (The shortest registration period in Minnesota is ten years; the longest is lifetime.)

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