Tennessee Sex Crimes

Sex crimes in the state of Tennessee are codified in Title 39, Chapter 13 of the Tennessee Code Annotated. These crimes can include rape, aggravated rape, sexual battery, statutory rape, solicitation of a minor, and patronizing prostitution. Perhaps the most serious consequence of being convicted of a Tennessee Sex Crime is having to go on the sex offender registry list. Under Tennessee law, anyone classified as either a "sex offender" or "violent sex offender" must register. The difference between the two is in the type of crime. A sex offender can be anyone who has committed crimes such as sexual battery, certain types of statutory rape, aggravated prostitution, sexual exploitation of a minor, and others. Violent sex offenders, as the name implies, are for more violent crimes such as aggravated rape, rape, and aggravated sexual battery.

Both violent and non-violent sex offenders must register upon being convicted of a Tennessee sex crime. Registration is usually done at a local law enforcement office. Violent offenders must report in person during the months of March, June, September and December. Non-violent sexual offenders must report in person annually between seven days before and seven days after their birthday. All offenders must report in person within 48 hours of changing their residence, job, or school.

Violent offenders must remain on the registry for life. Non-violent offenders may petition for removal after ten years from the end of their sentence, whether the sentence was probation or prison time. If the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation determines that the applicant has not been convicted of any additional sex offenses and has substantially complied with the requirements of registration, it will remove the offender from the registry.

One exception to the ten-year rule is where the offender is placed on judicial diversion. Diversion is the process of having a criminal charged dismissed and removed from the defendant's record upon completing probation. Diversion is a special procedure and is not available to all defendants or for all charges. However, certain sex offenses in Tennessee are diversion eligible, and for those offenses the offender may be immediately removed from the registry upon expungement of the charge. For instance, both sexual battery and statutory rape are diversion eligible sex crimes in Tennessee. Both are Class E felonies punishable from one to six years. If the defendant is sentenced to one year and is granted diversion, at the end of the year they may have the charge removed from their criminal record and also may request to be taken off the sex offender registry.

This is not the case with most sex crimes in Tennessee, however. Most sex crimes cannot be removed from the individual's record through diversion, and will require either lifetime or at least ten-year registration.

Offenders may find it hard to get a job or even a place to live. Under the law in Tennessee, registrants whose victim was a minor cannot live, work or undergo sex offender treatment within 1000 feet of a school, day care center, public park, recreation center or athletic field. All offenders, whether violent or non-violent and regardless of the victim's age, must stay off school property, day care centers, public parks and recreation facilities when the offender has reason to believe children under 18 are present. In other words sex offenders can't even go to the park.

Because of the serious and lasting consequences of a sex crime, individuals charged with one of these offenses should consult a Tennessee sex crimes lawyer to review the case.
About this Author

Patrick Stegall is a Memphis sex crimes lawyer. He helps individuals charged with violent and non-violent sex offenses.