How to get off the New York State Sex Offender Registry

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New York Sex Offender Registry Defense

In New York State, the Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA) consists of three different tiers of risk. The level that one is assigned can have a dramatic impact on a person’s life, such as housing, employment, education, and the ability to integrate into the community.

Most sex crime convictions in the state of New York will include mandatory registration with New York’s sex offender registry. This is a database made available to the public through an online resource and telephone hotline that describes the offender in detail including a picture and provides their physical address.

Information given on New York’s sexual offender registry includes:

Current photograph

Work and residence addresses

Crime of conviction

Age of victim

Description of any vehicles offender owns

Parole or probation information

Nearly any sex crime conviction will require registration, such as:
Child molestation Child pornography possession

Forcible touching


Sexual abuse

Sexual assault

Sexual misconduct



Sex Offender Registry Levels

Level 1 – Low Risk:

  • 20 Year Registration
  • Information NOT available to the general public on the SORA website
  • Limited community notification

Level 2 – Moderate Risk:

  • Lifetime Registration
  • Information available online including photograph, exact address, vehicle and license plate number, employer address, and details of crime

Level 3 – High Risk:

  • Lifetime Registration
  • Information available online including photograph, exact address, vehicle and license plate number, employer address, and details of crime.
  • Must register current address in person every 90 days


Initial Hearing

The initial SORA Level hearing is often looked at as an afterthought of a criminal conviction. However, because of the lifelong consequences associated with being listed in the registry, the SORA Level hearing may be the most important part of the process. A SORA level hearing typically takes place immediately after conviction for those not sentenced to state prison, and shortly before release from custody for those who are sentenced to state prison. For federal convictions, the hearing is typically held shortly after release.


Level Reductions and Removal

Is it possible to be removed from the NYS sex offender registry?

The short answer is yes, in some cases it is possible. New York State law allows for a person to petition the court for a reduction or modification of their sex offender level. Lowering your SORA risk level can be life changing. We work with people every day who’ve made mistakes in the past and have spent years, or decades trying to atone for them. Despite their attempts to be a contributing law-abiding citizen, the sex offender registry condemns them (and their loved ones) to a lifetime of punishment and misery. But there is hope.

Those who are successful in obtaining a modification to level 1 are initially removed from the public NYS sex offender registry website, a significant victory by itself. More importantly, some individuals can be completely removed 20 years from their original date of registration.

Am I a good candidate?

Not everyone is a good candidate. Some positive contributing factors include:

  • Clean record for an extended time;
  • History of stable employment;
  • Success in treatment;
  • Maintaining intimate relationships;
  • Family and social support;
  • Current age; and
  • Risk assessment from a qualified clinician.

Click here to get our Free Guide: How To Get Off the NYS Sex Offender Registry

If you have worked hard for many years to make up for past mistakes, you should have a chance at a normal life. We encourage you to read our FREE Guide: How to Get off the NYS Sex Offender Registry. If after reading the guide you feel you may be a good candidate for a level reduction or removal from the registry, please feel free to reach out to discuss your options by sending us an email.



SORA Level Modification Petition

Result - Removed from the Sex Offender Registry

Our client came to us in January of 2020 having been convicted of Rape in the Third Degree as a result of a consensual encounter in 1998. Because his job put him in a position of power, his points put him at a level 2 at his initial hearing. Our client spent more than 20 years rebuilding his life since his conviction. Although he admittedly said it was not easy, he started a business, raised a family, and remained married. He volunteered for several community organizations and established himself as a trustworthy person. Most importantly he remained crime free with no new arrests. Our firm not only wrote a substantial submission to the court about the law in his case, but we also told our client’s story. Without it, he is just another criminal. We were able to successfully tie our client’s situation to the factors which are known to be weighted most heavily. Our client’s level was reduced from 2 to 1, and because he had already been on the registry for more than 20 years, was removed entirely.


SORA Hearing

Result - Downward Departure

We recently represented a client at a SORA hearing after he was released from federal prison where he had served approximately three years for possession of Child Pornography. While the scoring in these types of SORA cases is certainly outdated, he was scored for age of victim, number of victims, and relationship to the victims (stranger) placing him as a presumptive level two. King Law used previous court decisions from the New York State Court of Appeals which cautioned judges to be mindful that scoring in these cases can result in an over-assessment of risk. Most importantly we were able to prove that factors existed in our client’s case which were not taken into account by the guidelines or the scoring system. Ultimately, the judge granted a downward departure to level 1, meaning that our client’s picture, address, and more are do not appear on the public New York State Sex Offender Registry. This allows him to live a relatively normal life in the community.


SORA Level Modification Petition

Result - Removed from the Sex Offender Registry

In July 2021, King Law helped a man get his life back after 20 years of misery and frustration. Our client came to us after having been given a level 3 risk determination in 2001. He had served a term of imprisonment in New York State for a sex offense that occurred in 1992. This gentleman had worked very hard since his release to establish himself as a law-abiding citizen and a good family man. He had been married for more than 18 years and raised three children. Even as a level 3 sex offender he managed to start and maintain a successful home remodeling business. Our client put in the hard work and our firm went to bat for him. We created a multi-page submission to the Board and the Court complete with several exhibits. These included character reference letters, proof of his business success, and a personal statement. Our submission also included an updated risk assessment evaluation from a clinical professional assessing him “very low risk”, which carried significant weight in the Court’s decision. With all of this, we were able to tie our client’s life to all the factors that are generally relied upon in successful petitions. Additionally, we provided the Court with ammunition to grant a 3 to 1 reduction, noting previous cases similar to our client’s. Because this gentleman had been on the registry since January of 2001 and having no designation, the moment that this order was sent to the State, he was completely REMOVED from the registry.