Do I need to Register When Moving to Maryland?

Many people with certain “old” convictions in other states often ask if he/she has a legal requirement to register in Maryland under the current sexual offender registration laws. As former prosecutors and current defense attorneys, we are very familiar with the issue. Often times persons who were required to register in other states are not required to register in Maryland.

Criminal Procedure Subtitle 7 Registration of Certain Offenders provides that citizens of Maryland do not have to register for offenses committed before July 1, 1997. This is also confirmed by case law. The statute specifically holds that out of state offenders who committed their offense before July 1, 1997 must still register. This provision treats out of state offenders differently then in state offenders violating Article IV, Section 2 of the Constitution. The Interstate Privilege and Immunities Clause.

If he had committed this act in the State of Maryland he would not have to register. This is discussed in the editors note to Criminal Procedure § 11-704.

“Section 4, ch. 754, Acts 1997, as amended by § 1, ch 21 Acts 1998, and as amended by ch. 317, Acts 1999, provides that “except as provided in §§ 5 and 6 of this Act, this Act shall be construed only prospectively to apply to offenses that are committed on or after July 1, 1997, and may not be applied or interpreted to have any effect on or application to any individual who commits an offense before July 1, 1997.”

This position was also affirmed by the Court of Special Appeals. “A court cannot require a defendant to register in accord with former Art. 27 § 792 where all the acts in question took place before the effective date of the law. Maslin v. State, 124 Md. App. 535, 723 A.2d 490 (1999)

§ 11-704 Section 5 specifically excludes out of state convictions.

“Section 5, ch 754, Acts 1997, as amended by ch. 317, Acts 1999, provides that “a child sexual offender who is subject to the requirements of chapter 142 of the Acts of the General Assembly of 1995 and who committed the sexual
offense before October 1, 1997, is subject to the requirements of this act.”

This creates the position that if you committed your act in Maryland before July 1, 1997 you don’t have to register, but if you committed your offense outside of Maryland you have to register.

Article IV, Section 2, of the Constitution of the United States the Interstate Privilege and Immunity Clause, provides that the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all the Privileges and Immunities of citizens in the several states.” Thus it prohibits discrimination by states against nonresidents. In Virginia v. Friedman, 487 U.S. 59 (1988) the Supreme Court invalidated a Virginia Statute that made residence a requirement to be a licensed lawyer in Virginia. In this case the Maryland legislature has discriminated against nonresidents by making the requirements to register as a sexual offender more difficult for citizens of other states than citizens of Maryland. If you lived in Maryland and committed a sexual offense before June 1, 1997 you do not have to register. If you live in another state and committed a sexual offense before June 1, 1997 you have to register. This is discrimination against out of state residents and a violation of the Privilege and Immunities Clause. Thus, there is a valid argument that those who committed acts prior to June 1, 1997 in other states do not have to register in Maryland. It should be noted that this issue has not been fully tested in our court and it is recommended to seek an experienced criminal defense attorney to properly tackle this issue. Ignoring notice by Maryland to register, without appealing through proper channels, may cause you to wind up incarcerated.

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