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Can a Minor Become a Registered Sex Offender?

Yes, but the situation is unique and depends on several factors. A minor becoming a sex offender is a big deal and involves a situation that should never be taken lightly. As registered sex offenders, minors will suffer consequences that will stay with them for life.

The Discussion

Minors becoming sex offenders is one of the top conversations among dependable sex crimes attorneys. They understand the ramifications behind the judgments and are always looking into the morals of each decision. Everyone has an opinion on the subject of young sex offenders, but the final decision on punishment will always come down to law.

In its current iteration, it is completely legal for a sex offender to be a minor. There is still a lot of red tape surrounding this decision, and in some states, it isn’t even allowed. But as far as the legality of charging a minor for sex crimes, it 100% exists and has a ton of high-profile cases to prove it.

State Law

California has the most intricate sex crime laws in America. The one that stands out is how incarcerated sex offenders are treated. For minors that see jail time, it can be made mandatory to register as a sex offender. California is less lenient when it comes to age compared to Michigan or New York. For the latter two states, age plays a big role in both the incarceration and the forced registration as a sex offender.

If the alleged crime has an unclear location, it isn’t uncommon to have lawyers argue over which state’s laws should be followed. There are benefits for both sides, and the winner of this small tug of war will have a leg up in the courtroom.

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A Change of Life

An adult that is registered as a sex offender can fend for themselves in normal day-to-day life. Even with a support system, they have the tools necessary to become a productive member of society. For a minor, the story is completely different regardless of their maturity.

A minor that is registered as a sex offender won’t have the mental fortitude to deal with the loneliness that the status brings. In some extreme cases, this has led to self-harm or a repeat of bad sexual behavior. When you’re too young to work, that gets rid of employment as a ten-hour daily distraction.

This lack of opportunities to grow into healthy adulthood is weighed heavily when passing judgment. Even in cases where it is legal to force a minor into registering, there is leniency based on individual situations. Becoming a registered sex offender is a hole that is meant to be tough for convicted criminals to climb out of. But when age is a factor, forcing a minor to do so could doom them for life.

A Horrible Choice

No one wants to see a child suffer adult consequences in court. Circumstances make it the only choice for crimes that are considered harsh in modern society. With luck, a tough punishment can be the wake-up call that a sex offender needs.

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