Will I Have to Register as a Sex Offender if I'm Convicted of Indecent Assault and Battery in Massachusetts?
Convictions for sex offenses often carry lifelong consequences, including having to register as a sex offender. It can sometimes be confusing to determine which types of convictions require registering, and if there are any exceptions.
Sexual Assault in Massachusetts is an unwanted and offensive sexual touching. The touching must be of a private area, which includes breasts, stomach, buttocks, thighs and, genitals. The touching does not need to be violent to be considered an assault. Massachusetts has two categories of sexual assault: indecent assault and battery and aggravated indecent sexual assault. Aggravated sexual assault occurs if the victim sustains any type of injury.)
Massachusetts law further allows different punishments for victims over certain ages, or under certain ages, and for victims that have intellectual disabilities. For more information on the penalties for indecent assault and battery. Under Massachusetts law, specifically section 178C, a sex offender is someone who lives in the Commonwealth (including people who are attending school in the State or have a second home in the Commonwealth), or someone who is present in the state for work, who has been convicted of a sex offense. Sex offense includes indecent assault and battery. If you are convicted of any of the following categories of indecent assault and battery you will have to register as a sex offender in Massachusetts: indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, indecent assault and battery on a mentally retarded person, indecent assault and battery on a person age 14 or over.
However, just because you have been charged with indecent assault and battery, does not necessarily mean you will end up on the sex offender registry. Massachusetts law does allow for what is called a "continuance without a finding" or a CWOF. This is a specific type of plea that allows a defendant to maintain innocence, but still receive the benefit of a plea deal. Basically, you admit that the Commonwealth has enough facts that could lead to a jury finding you guilty but you do not have to admit guilt. Under this type of plea, the court does not enter a finding of guilt, and therefore and you will not have to register as a sex offender. Your lawyer will be able to look at your case and advise if a CWOF is possible, and advise about your best course of action. If you have questions about sex offense registry consequences, call Attorney DelSignore at 781-686-5924.