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Sex Offender Residency Restrictions in North Carolina

       N.C.G.S. 14-208.16 Residential restrictions for persons on the sex offense registry has been recently “clarified.” Now, you know my case led to the N.C. Appellate Court rule that social network bans on registrants was unconstitutional. This amendment concerns the prohibition of registered sex offenders from knowingly residing within 1000 feet of a school or child care center. This law applies to any registrant who did not establish residency, either by sale or lease of the property prior to August 16, 2006. The sale or lease of the property must be by the registrant or by an immediate family member IF the registrant lived with that family member since August 16, 2006.
       Why was this law “clarified?” It was to set law enforcement straight. The Legislature’s problem was that if the family member lived in the property before the 2006 deadline but the registrant did not move in until after the August 16, 2006 deadline, the police were not arresting that registrant.
         The existing law excludes institutes of higher education if the registrant is a student or employed there. What about a preschool at a church or temple where the registrant worships? Freedom of Religion and other First Amendment issues are triggered by this scenario. If you or one you know is a registrant and has not resided in the property since August 16, 2006 and it is within 1000 feet of a school or child care center, know that there are viable legal challenges to this law. But if you do not want the aggravation of being a legal trailblazer, move. This is a Class G felony.