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Tennessee Sex Crimes
Sex crimes in the state of Tennessee are codified in Title 39, Chapter 13 of the Annotated Tennessee Code. These crimes can include rape, aggravated rape, sexual assault, statutory rape, solicitation of a minor, and condescending prostitution. Perhaps the most serious consequence of being convicted of a sex crime in Tennessee is being listed on the sex offender registry. Under Tennessee law, anyone classified as a “sex offender” or “violent sex offender” must register. The difference between the two lies in the type of crime. A sex offender can be anyone who has committed crimes such as sexual assault, certain types of statutory rape, aggravated prostitution, sexual exploitation of a minor, etc. Violent sex offenders, as the name suggests, are for more violent crimes such as aggravated rape, rape and aggravated sexual assault.
Violent and non-violent sex offenders must register when convicted of a sex crime in Tennessee. Registration is usually done with a local law enforcement office. Violent offenders must report in person during the months of March, June, September and December. Non-violent sex offenders must appear in person each year between seven days before and seven days after their birthday. All offenders must report in person within 48 hours of changing residence, job or school.
Violent offenders must remain on the registry for life. Non-violent offenders can apply for deportation after ten years from the end of their sentence, whether it is probation or prison. If the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation determines that the applicant has not been convicted of any additional sexual offenses and has substantially complied with the registration requirements, it will remove the offender from the registry.
An exception to the ten year rule is when the offender is placed in diversion. Diversion is the process of having a criminal charge dismissed and removed from the accused’s record at the end of probation. Diversion is a special procedure and is not available to all defendants or all charges. However, some sex offenses in Tennessee are eligible for diversion, and for those offenses the offender may be immediately removed from the docket after the charge is expunged. For example, sexual assault and statutory rape are sex crimes eligible for diversion in Tennessee. Both are Class E felonies punishable by one to six years. If the accused is sentenced to one year and receives diversion, at the end of the year they can have the charge removed from their criminal record and can also apply to be removed from the sex offender registry.
This, however, is not the case for most sex crimes in Tennessee. Most sex crimes cannot be removed from the individual’s record through diversion and will require registration for life or at least ten years.
Offenders may have difficulty finding employment or even housing. Under Tennessee law, enrollees whose victim was a minor cannot live, work, or undergo sex offender treatment within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare center, public park, a recreation center or a sports field. All offenders, whether violent or non-violent and regardless of the age of the victim, should stay away from school, day care centers, public parks and recreational facilities when they have reason to believe that children under the age of 18 are present. In other words, sex offenders can’t even go to the park.
Because of the serious and lasting consequences of a sex crime, those charged with any of these offenses should consult with a Tennessee sex crimes attorney to review the case.
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