What Happens When You Register as a Sex Offender in Virginia?

Like in several other states, sex crimes are taken very seriously in Virginia. If you’re convicted of a range of crimes including rape, incest, or a variety of others, the court will require you to register as a sex offender within three days of your release from jail or prison.

But what happens once you formally register? It’s important to understand the continued effects sex offender registry has once you’ve formally been designated as one.

Your Registry Status Will Be Shared

State law requires state police to send updated registry names to a variety of public places including school districts, daycares, children’s residential facilities, foster homes, and other places that have asked to be notified when an offender moves into a close community.

Expect Unannounced Police Visits

State law requires state police to make unscheduled visits to an offender’s home every six months to ensure that he or she is following the conditions of their registration. If the offender declines the visit in any way, it’s considered a serious offense.

Effects on Employment, Housing, and More

As you might expect, a formal registry makes it significantly more difficult to obtain employment and a variety of other standard facets of life. Expect increased background checks, further analysis into your creditworthiness, and overall more difficulty with approval for government documents.

For Offenders From Other States

Regardless of where you were previously convicted and registered, state law requires that you register in Virginia once you become employed or establish a residence in the state. Additionally, the state requires offenders to register if they’ve been convicted of a “substantially similar charge” elsewhere.

The same rules apply to offenders who may be located in Virginia temporarily for work or another approved situation.

Removal From The Registry

Only after 15 years of a clean record (no sex-related or registration-required crimes) can an offender begin the process of name removal. The offender must file a petition in the court in which they were convicted and a judge will hold a hearing to rule on the matter.


As you can see, sex offender registry is a very serious circumstance and one that should be avoided in any way possible. Your defense begins with a knowledgeable and trusted Virginia criminal defense attorney. Call B.R. Hicks, P.C. today at (703) 354-4000 to schedule a free consultation.