Juveniles and the Michigan Sex Offenders Registration Act (SORA)

Michigan law requires certain people convicted of sexual offenses to register with the state. A new law, effective July 1, 2011, has changed registration rules for juveniles significantly. Juveniles who have already been adjudicated of a sexual offense or who are facing sexual offense charges should understand and comply with the requirements or the changes to the requirements.

Registration
Michigan's Sex Offenders Registration Act (SORA) requires individuals convicted or adjudicated of certain offenses to register with the state police.

If registration is required, the individual must regularly provide a list of specific information to the police. Some information is included on a public website, while other information is available only to law enforcement officials on a separate database.

The new law divides offenses into three "tiers": Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III. Each "tier" has different reporting requirements. [See page 7 of the SORA Summary of Amendments for more information on tier III offenses.]

Failure to comply with the SORA requirements can result in criminal charges.

Juveniles Under SORA
Under the new law, many juveniles involved in sexual offenses are not required to register. However, juvenile offenders may be required to register in two circumstances:

  1. If a juvenile:
    • receives an order of disposition in Michigan, which is open to the public,
    • the juvenile was at least 14 years old at the time of the offense,
    • and the offense would classify the juvenile as a tier III offender.
  2. If a juvenile:
    • receives an order of disposition or other adjudication in another state,
    • the juvenile was at least 14 years old at the time of the offense,
    • and the offense would classify the juvenile as a tier III offender.

Juveniles who were under the age of 14 years old at the time of the offense are not required to register.

Note that persons who were adjudicated as juveniles of offenses that are now in tier I or tier II were required to register under the old SORA law; however, these tier I and tier II offenses no longer carry a registration requirement for juvenile adjudications.

Length of Registration
Tier III juvenile offenders fitting the description above are required to register for life. There is a mechanism to petition for removal, if certain criteria are proven, after 25 years.

Public Website
Under the 2011 law, juvenile offenders do not appear on the public registry. They do appear on a database available to law enforcement officials.

"Romeo and Juliet" Exception
There are exceptions to the registration requirement for tier III juvenile offenders, adjudicated of specified offenses, involved in a consensual sexual act with another minor:

  1. If the victim involved was 13-15 years old, and the offending minor is not more than four years older than the minor
  2. If the victim involved was 16 or 17 years old, and the minor was not under the custodial authority of the offender at the time of the conduct.

A court must determine that an exception applies.

How to Discontinue Registration Based on the Romeo and Juliet Exceptions
An individual who has already registered may petition the court to discontinue registration under these exceptions. The court must grant the petition if it determines that the exception applies. The petition must be filed in the court where the individual was adjudicated.

For Further Information, the Following Resources are Available to the Public:

  1. Michigan Judicial Institute, Sexual Assault Benchbook (Chapter 11)
  2. Michigan Judicial Institute, Sexual Offenders Registration Act (SORA) Summary of Amendments 

NOTE: This information was current as of July 29, 2011, and may change. For updated information, please consult an attorney or Michigan State Police officials.

 
Michigan Law Wordmark Print View