Changes to MA Sex Offender Classification Regulations

In Criminal Law, Sex Offenders by Tramontozzi Law

There were recent changes to MA sex offender classification regulations. These regulations determine who must register as a sex offender in Massachusetts. Here are some details on this change and who it applies to.

The Specific Change

In the past, the legal standard for determining classification level of a sex offender was based on a “preponderance of the evidence”. In simple terms, this means that the evidence weighed  more heavily to one side than the other. The new legal standard is “clear and convincing evidence”. This is essentially a more lenient standard for sex offenders since more evidence must be presented.

Why the Change

In December of 2015, the Massachusetts Supreme Court heard the case of John Doe, Sex Offender Registry Board No. 380316 vs. Sex Offender Registry Board. In their ruling, they determined that sex offenders must be allowed due process in the Sex Offender Registry Board’s determination of their risk for committing another offense. The lower legal standard was considered insufficient and more prone to over classification. They believed that over classification only distracts the public from those offenders who pose a real risk.

Who The Change Applies To

The effective date of this change is January 29, 2016. Any sex offenders who were already classified or who were issued a recommended classification prior to this date are unaffected by the new law. The higher standard of proof only applies to any Sex Offender Board hearings on or after this date.

Assistance with Sex Offender Classification Regulations

If you require any assistance with these changes to MA sex offender classification regulations or any other aspect of sex offender laws in Massachusetts, please give our team a call. We can assist with all stages of the process and can provide you with guidance based on current Massachusetts law. We provide a free preliminary consultation.