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Everyone Keeps Asking Me, Why Don’t You Take a Vacation?

Life as a U.S. Registered Sex Offender isn’t Just a Posting on the Internet, its One Arbitrary Misstep Away From a Felony. Full Article

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Spot on, and saddening, blog posting. As she touches on, the laws make it just like what Uncle Sam says about terrorism: “we have to be right always, they only need to be right once.” We RCs need to be right always, but if wrong once: felony. I did notice at least one error in her information. I looked for a way to contact her, but didn’t find one. Anyway, she says, “4- Per law § 9.1-903 Section G Registered Sex Offenders in Virginia have 30 minutes to register in-person (not electronically or over the phone) any changes (additions or… Read more »

AJ, You can always email me at Per your comment, the VSP never implemented a process to register electronically. The statute says it’s possible but system doesn’t exist. I’ve tried 3 times to get the law rewritten OR for the VSP to set up a dedicated email system that send a receipt, they refuse. I- To Fix the unobtainable mandate of “3 days” and “30 minutes”:  2011- HB1628–Del. Watts – (Amended in House Militia, Police and Safety, Virginia State Police Legislative Liaison openly opposed it. Left to die in Appropriations)  2012- HB416–Del. Watts – (“Laid on the… Read more »

Thanks for the reply and info. What a surprise that the State fails to hold up its end of the bargain, yet expects perfection on the other end. That 30-minute window is nothing short of stupid…right up there with the States that require “immediate” notification of changes. Umm, I can’t be in two places at once, and there’s nothing to notify until there’s actually a change.

Not only does the state fail to fulfill what the statute says but they have fought me 3 separate times when I’ve gotten legislation sponsored to rectify the problem.

That’s an intentional trap set by the state of Virginia to catch people under an unreasonable rule.


@Mary Are the courts an option? I know VA can be a pretty byzantine, messed up place when trying to get the Government to work. I’d do my best to find an email address of someone in charge of the program or similar, and then email them a change of email. I’d make sure my email change occurs on a night, weekend and/or holiday, too, just to really nail the case down. It’d be tough for a judge to say you didn’t comply “electronically” as the Statute allows. In fact, you would be in full compliance with the letter of… Read more »

Mary and All – I totally understand your fear about being on the registry and not wanting to take chances, but this is what they want, for you and your husband to live as prisoners in your own home forever. This fear is the most crippling of all, that is why I refuse to live my life in fear. I live in CA and in the past year alone, I have traveled to Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Austria, Sweden, Norway (all in a 3 week adventure). In the states I have visited Las Vegas (at least 6 times), Reno,… Read more »

Las Vegas is a Big Change you’re taking. NY you have 10 days so likely you were gone before it mattered… but LV has so many cops and a chance encounter… I’ve registered there both times i went. Annoying. but simple process

This article really nails it. It is so true for many of us, and it takes out the fun of taking a vacation anywhere. Most don’t know all the rules each State, County or City has, and this holds true for Law Enforcement and Lawyers, too. Try asking lawyer or police officer about a State’s, County’s or City’s ordinance, and you will get a lot of head shaking. Nobody knows! One county or city may have presence restrictions, when others don’t. It is hard enough to keep up with your own State, but adding any State you may want to… Read more »

If (when?) the Registries are finally ruled unconstitutional by SCOTUS, I suspect all of these laws will simply be changed to read “anyone convicted of a sexual offense” rather than the current descriptor “Registered Sex Offender”. It’s my expectation that all these laws will remain in place regardless and forever. In the future, we may not be “Registered”, but I’ll bet the public and lawmakers will continue their relentless efforts to punish us ex post facto. 😠 But wait, I could be wrong …. if there are no more Registries, there will be no need to go to any law… Read more »

The registry is only a list, and I don’t think anyone believes the government can’t make lists; the obligations based on the offense are the nasty parts and the registration process is only one of many, like having to update personal and private information, pay fees, presence restrictions, housing, voting and employment bans and the like . Ex post facto is ex post facto is it not?

It always amazed me no one has made the argument that the state has this info already and they only make us update it as a way to trap us. In NY you have 10 days to update your driver’s license after you move. Therefore they already have my current address. Why do they need a separate form and laws.

Remember how the 2003 Smith decision says there are no restrictions to travel? Apparently, there is and it comes with a penalty. Freedom to travel unmolested.

Seems punitive in result. And, according to Mrs Devoy, the compliance check when they’re abroad also is a probationary/parole trait of being under custody, which is another word for being supervised.

Is this another “separate, but equal” idea? “Not probation/parole (under custody), but regulatory intent to keep under custody for public safety.”

The article is a bit over the top and an exaggeration. I travel around the country for work quite a bit, and yes, I have to be aware of local state laws. Most states allow you grace time to register, so If you are not there long enough, then you are not affected. Yes, a couple of states like Nevada give you only two days, bu that is not the majority. I have also taken my kids to Disneyland and Disney World as a registrant and allowed in. I don’t find this type of article helpful for it is not… Read more »

Most folks, using the registration spreadsheet from this website under the legal tab menu, would find out visiting timelines for registration. The only one I know of that is really bad is AK where you have 24 hrs to do it or else.

Matthew, It sounds like you have a reckless attitude of I’ll do what I want, when I want. Not there “long enough”, stay away from Las Vegas then it’s 24 hours. If you are in fact traveling from state to state and not checking on the legal obligations that apply that’s your choice and if at some point you get charged, you have yourself to blame. And Disney World does NOT allow Sex Offenders to stay in their resorts or visits their parks. Your State’s drivers license either nails you as an RSO when it’s swiped or it doesn’t. If… Read more »

Obviously Mary has a choice rather to travel or not, some of us travel out of necessity. While it is true that there is gauntlet of laws that could ensnare one, it normally comes down to the word intent. Like Matt, I travel very frequently because I must. It is not reckless as implied here. Like Matt, I stay as compliant is humanly possible. We can’t let fear overpower our lives. Fear itself can be a choice if we allow it to overpower our lives.

Why would you have to swipe your DL at Disney? You buy your tickets at a discount place like AAA, then hand your ticket in at the gate. I’ve never had to show ID with my ticket. Yes, they do ban us from getting a season pass, but that doesn’t effect most of us. And if you want to stay at their resorts, just reserve the room in your spouse’s or friends name.

Without trivializing the major negative impact the registry has had on the lives of my wife and kids, not to mention mine, we travel and, as much as I hate that place, frequent Disneyland at least once a year. As a small business owner who is not yet comfortable letting someone else mind the proverbial store while away, we do a lot of three day weekends out of town. Not because of the registry, but because I’m building a business and no one will care about my customers as much as I do. If I travel to NY or LV,… Read more »

Unexpected things happen. Checkpoints happen. Accidents happen. Any sort of thing that brings you into contact with LEOs who may run your ID is what can happen–and they’ll be using the NCIC, not Google. RCs are “low hanging fruit” for LEOs, especially once discovered you’re from out of state. Now the chances you’ve made a a misstep goes up in the LEOs mind. So, who will know you’re there? Nobody, as long as everything runs as expected. But one thing goes haywire, and you’re facing serious issues.

Unless they recently changed the law, Las Vegas is 48 hours.

I’ve been to Disney World twice in the past two years. I flew once, and I drove once. Used my name and credit card for the trip (In hindsight I probably should have used my wife’s info, but still…), stayed ON property both times, 6 nights and 8 nights, with zero issues. I was there in December, so that wasn’t that long ago, and I don’t expect it to change when I go next year. Am I taking a chance? Probably. But I’m not going to let them end my life. I travel for work. We also vacation in other… Read more »

Vacation is not that hard. Keep a low profile and stay clean. Know which hotels/motels are favorable for you to stay in, including not using AirBnB obviously now. I have been pulled over four times during travel since I have had to register and only once, thankfully, I was asked if my registration was current. Uh, duh, you have my license and the ability to see the info through your laptop, so you know already whether it is current, especially since it was in the same town I am registered in. The other three times were twice in state and… Read more »

“Keep a low profile” that means ignore the law, great advice!

You’ve registered “only when pulled over” in other states, you’re lucky you weren’t arrested.

AND you are bragging/posting about intentionally ducking RSO obligations when in other states.

You too are a…….. I’ll do what I want when I want until I get caught, person.

Not smart!


Mary, With all due respect to you: what the Government is doing is “Not Smart”, it is unconstitutional, it is Un-American, and it goes against HUMAN RIGHTS. We need more people like Matthew, and less people with that “yes sir, anything you say, sir” mentality. Nothing good for humanity has come from being obedient. Look into history for proof. Americans have absolutely no concept of Freedom do they? Travel abroad to get a taste of freedom. Over here people are posting on message boards ridiculous things like “how dare you go 5 miles per hours over the speed limit! You… Read more »

Keeping a low profile means not attracting unwanted attention by, for example, not being a loud mouthed drunkard, speeding, driving a POS with expired tags, broken tail lights, etc.
In other words, be a normal person.

If one is convicted in one state, are they also convicted in another state, and required to report to jail in that state also? Then how can registry laws apply to those not convicted in that state they are visiting, traveling through, or moving to? That is what you call violation of the Due Process Clause

Regulatory vs punitive. If regulatory, a State has wide latitude in its rule making. If punitive, your example would trigger a double jeopardy lawsuit, at minimum. It may well be a Full Faith and Credit issue, not to mention an Equal Protection issue.

The States have continue to claim the registries and all the hurdles and hoops are only regulatory, but the courts are starting to see through that.

Even if regulatory, a registration affects ones liberty, thus Due Process is required.

Just to be clear for everyone, Substantive Due Process specifically needs to be done. I believe those three words need to be spoken every time someone wants to speak of Due Process. Reiterate those three words to ensure it is understood. Someone will pick it up and run with it when it is heard enough.

Yes, I see what you mean: “Substantive due process Substantive due process, in United States constitutional law, is a principle allowing courts to protect certain rights deemed fundamental from government interference, even where procedural protections are present or where those rights are not specifically mentioned elsewhere in the constitution. Courts have identified the basis for such protection from the due process clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, which prohibit the federal and state governments, respectively, from depriving any person of “life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”. Substantive due process demarcates the line between… Read more »

Since the IML got passed and registrants are not able to travel internationally, that question will sure create dilemma for registrants that want to travel abroad and they’ll be faced with the stigma of not being able to travel due to effects of the IML. The IML is unconstitutional, does not keep anyone safe, and it endangers lives.

Actually the Angel Watch notices stopped international travel on airlines before the passage of the IML. The green notices said that the traveler were “likely to commit a new crime”. No data or evidence just bull.

What about murderers, DUI’s, arsonists, those convicted of assualt and battery, bank robbers, burglars, speeders, reckless drivers, etc. who are more of a threat to society then RSO will be. More repeat offenders in those catagories then the RSO community??

I travel by car for long weekend vacations in or out of state with my wife and children. I had no idea!!!

I think Mary’s post and frustration is true for many of us. Travel is possible, but it is a task, not a joy…and other people don’t understand, not really. Some very best friends want to go to Mexico surfing this weekend…I say I can’t go…they say why not?…I explain again even though they know…they argue I’ll be in a car, they probably won’t check at the border…I say I have to give 21 day notice…they say Unbelievable….I say, Yes, but true…they are friends but they seem aggravated by this absolute refusal of mine to commit a felony for their fun.… Read more »

Thank you for this post. I totally understand the fear of travel. Wife and I have done a little bit of traveling, but only after making sure we are totally following the rules. We have actually planned and cancelled at least 3 vacations over the years due to fear. I actually have a couple of questions regarding Virginia itself though. I have been lucky enough to be off the list since 2 years ago in my own state, but realize it is still a minefield in traveling out of state. I still try to follow the time limits and rules… Read more »

Pull up VA state law which is referred to in the spreadsheet and see what it is says. Then print it and show it if you are questioned. The law is the law there in VA. Use it for you and don’t let others use it against you.

As for the other two places, use other sites to buy tickets to them and not the main website. Third party sites will be better prices and save you potential hassle.

Thank you Mary for articulating what a lot of us quietly endure every time summer rolls around. I too am the spouse of a registrant , and our last vacation was 5 years ago to Europe. Haven’t even entertained the thought since. A vacation is suppose to be a respite from routine, and mostly it is suppose to be fun. How can you enjoy a vacation while trying to dodge all the penalty triggering restrictions? Sometimes I feel fortunate that we live in California, because it’s a large state with diverse landscapes and a lot of places I still haven’t… Read more »

Why would someone with an old conviction that has been set aside for 20 years be afraid to travel? I found out a couple years ago when I was sent home from Mexico. Mary is correct. Too many rules to risk. For now I will only vacation in Hawaii and my own state of California. I pray the laws change.

You don’t pray you take action

I understand that travel is fraught with danger for registered citizens and their loved ones, but I know people who have traveled, so it is possible. ‘Whether it is worth the risk or not I think depends on the situation and person. Some people like to travel around the country and see how many states they can visit in their lifetime. Some have managed to visit all 50 states. I think a fun challenge would be to travel to as many states as possible…to see who can be the first person to become a registered sex offender in all 50… Read more »

I could not have put it better than this article but my family and I can definitely 100% relate. Great post!

What we have here is Sex Offender Law Abuse. It is time to move SO from villain status to sex offender law abuse victims.

The registry is favored by stupid and brutal people. They would rather you sit at home with nothing to do and nothing to lose, than let you engage in healthy, restorative and legal fun (legal for everyone else that is), which may be just what many need to keep them from slipping into bad habits, and to keep the people they are connected to happy and healthy also. I think we are the only former offenders who are punished for attempting live a good life.

@Mary Thank you Mary, for a well written article. For those of you that brag about ignoring the laws and just doing what you want to “under the radar”…sorry…I’ve got 2 young kids and the idea of missing 2-10 years of them growing up on the off chance that I get pulled over speeding, or some cop figures out from someone else’s FB post that I wasn’t where I should be, and they prosecute for failure to register, isn’t an option. Sure, there are ways around a lot of the problems, but Mary is accurate that if you try to… Read more »

This is all to true and sad. I need to travel to New Jersey in a few weeks and I’m still unclear if I have to register. I read the matrix on this site and it states the “10 day rule” but isn’t specific for people that are traveling, it only applies to people moving into the state. Called the local law enforcement in NJ and they were vague and unclear too. This makes me really uncomfortable…I’m not sure what to do?

Does anyone have experience traveling to New Jersey? Essex County in particular?

i’ve traveled to NJ from NY semi often a while back. I believe you only have to register there if you are there over 10 days in a row or 30 total for the year. That what the Warren Country Sherrifs office told me a few year ago fwiw

Pull up the NJ law online as referenced in the matrix, read it, print it out and take it with you. If you have other doubts, talk with a NJ defense atty in the county you are traveling too and get their take.

That why I decided to WORK 24/7 on webdesign and hosting business.

Hi, Let me start off after reading the comments. I agree and disagree. I live in Minnesota and they do not have a 21 day rule. In face, the city police dept. will not sign a form either will the dept. of public safety. Let me explain I do not register at all in the state of Minnesota. My trouble began in Texas and they removed me from the registry and after ten years they put me back on. So I have called two U.S agencies I got some more information on that. I did visit Williamsburg three weeks ago… Read more »

I think there will be a challenge in Texas soon enough. due to the state’s Constitution, “Sec. 16. BILLS OF ATTAINDER; EX POST FACTO OR RETROACTIVE LAWS; IMPAIRING OBLIGATION OF CONTRACTS. No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, retroactive law, or any law impairing the obligation of contracts, shall be made.” This has been brought in up three other states similar language of retroactive laws in their Constitution with those plaintiffs winning. There was someone in Texas with a 1974 Conviction which brought it up before the appeals court, but just outright ignored that challenge with “should have brought… Read more »

Has anyone challenged these types of travel restrictions?

Sort of. I believe they, and most things having to do with registration, were part of the 2003 case. At the time, the court found these restrictions to impose no more a difficulty than any regular person would encounter.

Thanks you Mary for speaking up the truth about most of us registrant have to face on a daily basic! I can totally related to how you feel and what you write. And I have to agree with Chris F when he mentioned about the fear of being incarcerated of violating the hundreds of registry laws by the different states, counties, and locals ordinnances and thus being locked away from his children and families. I am too afraid of taking vacation or commuted far away from home for fear of violating the laws and get locked up and separated from… Read more »

” I honestly think the article by Mary should be printed on WaPost or any news papers so the public would know what we are going through on a daily basis!”

I’m guessing the majority who read it would say, “good. Serves those pedos right.” I certainly wouldn’t expect any sort of sympathy. There’s a significant segment of the population that will never believe anything other than “all sex offenders are pedophiles,” and “there is no treatment for pedophiles.” Put those together and we’re seen as incurable child molesters.

We plan on visiting our daughter in Georgia from Ca for approx 4 days. Would anyone know what’s the time limit there required of me to register or not. I appreciate all and any inputs. Sooo tired of this madness going on 24 years now on an dismissed case. Uuugh

Check out this page and GA (which is 14 days btw before you need to register):

Wouldn’t hurt to look up the reference GA law online, print it out and have it with you on hand should you need to refer to it.

From the article under LEGAL on this website:
Georgia O.C.G.A. §§42-1-12 through 42-1-19
Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. r. 140-2-18.
Registration required within 72 hours of
establishing a residence or entering the state.
Visitors: registration apparently required only
if in the state for 14 consecutive days, or for
more than 30 days in calendar year. §42-1-12
and subd. (e).

Actually yes, but it was thrown out due to being called premature as the laws had not taken affect yet.

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