Megan's Law Unit

What Does The Megan’s Law Unit Do?

  • Registration: photograph, fingerprints, document and data processing, extensive background research
  • Verification: unannounced home visits, periodic observation
  • Notification: electronic transfer of registration information to the MD Registry, notification to schools, day care providers and citizens who desire the information
  • Monitoring: includes periodic evaluation of demographic data, observation, investigation, and presentation of criminal charges when warranted

Who Must Register?

  • Residents of Maryland with a qualifying criminal conviction
  • Out-of-state residents employed in Maryland, with a qualifying criminal conviction
  • Out-of-state residents who attend college in Maryland, with a qualifying criminal conviction
  • Transient whose visit to Maryland is more than 14 consecutive days or an aggregate of 30 or more days in a calendar year, with a qualifying criminal conviction

What Are The Penalties For Failing To Register?

Registrants may not violate any provision of the registry statute, including failure to register or provide notice of relocation, and presenting false information of a material fact. A first conviction is a misdemeanor with the possibility of 3 years in jail and $5,000 fine. Subsequent violations are felonies with the possibility of 5 years in jail and $10,000 fine.

History behind the Creation of the Megan’s Law Unit

In 1989 Jacob Wetterling, age 11, was murdered in Minnesota. The "Jacob Wetterling Act" Federal omnibus bill enacted in 1994 requires registration of convicted sexual offenders.

Megan Kanka, age 7, was abducted and murdered in New Jersey by a previously convicted sexual offender. "Megan's Law" which followed in 1996 requires public notification concerning convicted sexual offenders.

In 1981 Adam Walsh, age 6, was abducted from a department store in Florida and was subsequently murdered. The "Adam Walsh Act" of 2006 requires more uniform nationwide classification of convicted sexual offenders.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are convicted sex offender registrants precluded from living in certain places?
No. In Maryland there are no restrictions on the geographic location of registrants' homes.
Are there places that convicted sex offender registrants cannot frequent?
Yes. Registrants are not permitted to enter the property of licensed day care centers or schools (public and private) without prior written permission from the care center owner or school authorities.
What information can be released to the public?
Brief biographical and demographic information, along with limited conviction data, which is available at the web sites listed on the adjacent page.
What are the classifications and registration requirements of convicted sex offender registrants?
  • Tier I, every 6 months for 15 years
  • Tier II, every 6 months for 25 years
  • Tier III, every 3 months for life
  • Regardless of Tier classification, "homeless" must register weekly.

Visit the MD Sex Offender Registry for more detailed definitions of these classifications.

Additional Resources

Download the Megan's Law Unit Brochure