Registered Sex Offenders

*This article is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice.

If you’re reading through a criminal records report created by PeopleFinders, you may find yourself coming across language that you think you recognize, but that you really don’t understand in full.

To better assess the information with which a criminal records report presents you, make sure you read the report carefully. Terms like “registered sex offender” have a general (and evocative) meaning, but that meaning becomes more complex in the courtroom.

What is a Registered Sex Offender?

Anyone, regardless of gender, who has been convicted of a sex crime and has been placed on the Sexual Offender Registry by local, state, or federal ordinance is a registered sex offender. It does not matter if this person is currently serving their criminal sentence or if they have been released from police custody on parole. A person convicted of a sex crime who has been placed on the Sexual Offender Registry will not be removed from this list regardless of their circumstances or personal development.

However, on rare occasions, a convicted sex offender can petition to keep their public information off of public national and local sex offender registries.

Who Must Register as a Sex Offender?

Anyone who has been convicted of a sexual offense – especially sexual offenses conducted against children – is required by law to register as a sex offender. Sex offenders cannot register online and will need to do so in person. The registration process is overseen by a representative of the police or sheriff’s office in the offender’s town of residence.

Sexual offenders are required to register with the Sexual Offender Registry on a yearly basis. The consequences of their behavior, as determined by the court, may result in them needing to register more frequently. Sexual offenders are also required to register with their local Sexual Offender Registries every time they move to a new city. If a sex offender fails to return for a yearly registry or does not register upon moving, they can be charged and may face additional legal consequences.

Where Can You Learn More About Offenders?

There is a Sexual Offender Registry available in nearly every city and state in the United States. However, the Department of Justice operates a National Sex Offender Public Website that you can utilize to find sex offenders all across the country. This registry tracks sex offenders by:

  • Zip code
  • Name
  • City
  • County
  • Address (in the 50 states, five U.S. territories or on Indian reservations)

By searching through this database, you’ll find the following information readily available on any and all registered sex offenders:

  • Name and aliases
  • Current address
  • Offense or offenses
  • Offense status
  • Photograph
  • Physical description
  • Date of birth

A criminal record check through PeopleFinders will help you find out whether or not a person is a registered sex offender. But you will have to do additional digging to determine the exact nature of the offenses, along with the rest of the aforementioned information.

What is the Registered Sex Offender Database?

The Registered Sex Offender Database is commonly known as the result of Megan’s Law. It is a database that tracks convicted and registered sex offenders, no matter where they live within the United States. This registry operates on a national level.

Each state in the union has its own sex offender registry with which convicted sex offenders must register, whether at the beginning of their sentence or upon their release.

What Information Do Sex Offenders Have to Provide to Become Registered?

Upon their conviction, sex offenders must provide the following information to a legal representative:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Social security number
  • Address or addresses
  • Photographs
  • Vehicle information
  • Offense details
  • Fingerprints
  • DNA samples

Each state may require additional forms of information and identification when registering a sex offender. This basic information, however, will help law enforcement identify the applicable sex offender should they ever attempt to commit another crime in the same vein as that which got them convicted.

Once this information is distilled and distributed to the public, it will also help community members monitor a convicted individual’s behavior. That kind of public access to sensitive information and rulings can be dangerous for the convicted individual. However, public sex offender records work to protect a sex offender’s community, with the intention of doing more good than they do harm.

What Does “Registered Sex Offender” Mean in a Criminal Records Report?

When reading a criminal records report at PeopleFinders, you’ll be able to see whether or not a person has been convicted of a sexual offense. You will not, however, learn the nature of that offense unless you access a local or national public sex offender registry.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I find sex offenders on

Sex offender status is something that should appear whenever you look into someone's criminal records on PeopleFinders.

Can I find sex offenders for free on

We do charge for access to all of the public data we provide, including if and why someone may be classified as a sex offender.

What is a registered sex offender?

A registered sex offender is someone who, based on a sexually-related crime they committed, must make their status available to the public via a sex offender registry.

What crimes make you a sex offender?

The range of crimes that may qualify you as a sex offender is vast, with distinctions made state-by-state. In general, violent sexual crimes like rape or molestation are applicable, as are certain cases of statuatory rape, child pornography, and prostitution/solicitation. It is important to get the details before jumping to conclusions about a registered sex offender.

How many sex offenders are in my area?

In order to look up the number of sex offenders who may live near you, you can do an address lookup at PeopleFinders and see if there's a list of sex offenders near you. Or, you can go to the National Sex Offender Registry and do the same thing.

Do sex offenders have to notify neighbors?

Notification rules vary by state. That's why it's a good idea to take it upon yourself to periodically check on your neighborhood online.

Is it possible for sex offenders to get off the registry?

Yes, it is. Again, based on the type and severity of offenses someone committed, they may only have to be on the sex offender registry for a limited time.