Risk Level & Designation Determination

Upon release to the community following a conviction for a registerable offense, a sex offender is required to register with the Division of Criminal Justice Services. In order to determine the level of community notification and duration of registration, a hearing is held by the sentencing court. After examining the facts in a particular case, including, but not limited to, the use of force, weapons, alcohol or drugs, victim's age, number of victims, assault or injury of the victim and relationship to the victim, the court makes a determination regarding the offender's level of notification, commonly called the risk level. The risk level is based on the court's assessment regarding whether a particular offender is likely to repeat the same or similar registerable offense and the danger the offender poses to the community. Because the risk level reflects factors unique to a particular sex offender, offenders convicted of the same offense may receive different risk levels.

The court may assign one of the following three risk levels:

  • Level 1 (low risk of repeat offense), or
  • Level 2 (moderate risk of repeat offense), or
  • Level 3 (high risk of repeat offense and a threat to public safety exists).

The risk level governs the amount and type of information which can be released as community notification and also impacts duration of registration. (Note: In the interim period between registration and the risk level hearing, the offender's risk level may be referred to as "pending" and only confirmation that an offender is registered can be provided via the 800# Information line.

Designation

In addition to the risk level, the court also determines whether a sex offender should be designated a sexual predator, a sexually violent offender or a predicate sex offender. This designation, along with the risk level, governs the duration of the registration. Level 1 sex offenders must register for 20 years unless they have been given one of the above designations. Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders are required to be registered for life. If the sex offender has been designated a sexual predator, a sexually violent offender or a predicate sex offender, he or she must register for life regardless of risk level. Below is a chart which you may find helpful.

Risk Level Designation Received? (Sexual Predator, Sexually Violent Offender of Predicate Sex Offender) Duration of Registration
1 NO DESIGNATION 20 YEARS
2 NO DESIGNATION LIFE
3 NO DESIGNATION LIFE
1 YES, DESIGNATION RECEIVED LIFE
2 YES, DESIGNATION RECEIVED LIFE
3 YES, DESIGNATION RECEIVED LIFE

Petition for Relief from Registration

A level 2 sex offender who has not received a designation of sexual predator, sexually violent offender or predicate sex offender, who has been registered for a minimum period of thirty years, may be relieved of any further duty to register upon the granting of a petition for relief by the sentencing court or the court which made the determination regarding duration of registration and level of notification. Correction Law §168-o(1) sets forth the procedures to follow when a level 2 sex offender who has been registered for a minimum of 30 years wishes to file a petition for relief from registration.

Petition to Modify Risk Level

Any registered sex offender or district attorney may petition the sentencing court or the court which made the determination regarding the level of notification for an order modifying the level of notification (risk level). Correction Law §168-o sets forth the procedures to follow when a registered sex offender or the district attorney wishes to file a petition to modify an offender's risk level.