Understanding Arizona’s sex crime community notification law

In Arizona, a sex crime can lead to a felony charge based upon the results of an investigation. One of the penalties that results from a conviction for a sex crime charge is registration in the state’s sex offender program as outlined on the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s website. Persons deemed insane are exempt from this but all other convicted persons must abide by what is referred to as the community notification law.

The notification law takes effect three days, or 72 hours, after defendants have been released from jail or begin parole or probationary periods. Within this timeframe, sexual offender profiles must be created in the notification database. These profiles include identifying data, the dates of release or probation dates and any formal assessments of risk believed to be associated with the persons involved.

One week later, the state will verify the registrations. For any persons found to not have properly registered in time, arrest warrants will be issued.

Notification about the defendants must be provided by local law enforcement based upon the nature of the offenses. Less severe offenses, classified as level one, must only be reported to law enforcement officials but can be shared with others if situations require it. For level two or three offenders, photos, addresses and details of crimes must be provided to all area schools, community organizations and neighborhoods as well as companies with whom defendants may seek employment.

Sexual offender profiles must be updated any time defendants move to reflect current locations and details. Continuation or termination of defendants’ participation in the community notification program is subject to the court’s discretion. As noted by AZCentral.com, the guidelines for community notification regarding persons convicted of rape or other sex crimes are related to the national Megan’s Law which came into effect in 1996.