Keep that in mind. Keep repeating it. A non-punitive civil regulatory scheme.
Civil, not criminal. The requirement to register is triggered by a criminal conviction, both felonies and misdemeanors, but the requirement to register is not part of punishment. It is non-punitive. So ruled the Supreme Court well over a decade ago.
It is a Non-Punitive. Civil. Regulatory. Scheme.
And yet, in many states, failure to register and even infractions in adhering to the registration procedure will land one in jail. Several years ago in Texas, Josh Gravens was on the verge of being behind bars, facing up to 25 years’ imprisonment, for a minor technicality – Failure to Comply with Registration Requirements, which in Texas and other states is a felony. He was at the registration office to update a change of address when he was arrested because he hadn’t followed the procedure of registering the new address seven days before the move, which is the law.
As the move was precipitated by a sudden marital separation, Josh hadn’t known seven days previously that he would be moving. Didn’t matter. This had occurred once before during a month’s work trip when he failed to register his temporary address in another state in time. This would have made his third felony charge, the first being at age twelve for inappropriate touching of his sister.
He fought it and was successful.