Sex Offender Registry FAQs

This information and more can be found here from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Sex Offender Registry FAQs

How often are sex offenders required to register?

Sexual offenders” are required to report annually between 7 days prior to, and 7 days after their birthday. “Violent sexual offenders” are required to report quarterly during the months of March, June, September, and December. Sexual offenders and violent sexual offenders are required to report in person within 48 hours of changing their address, employment status, or school information between reporting dates.

What’s the difference between a sexual offender and a violent sexual offender?

A “sexual offender” is any person who has been convicted in this state of committing a sexual offense as defined by T.C.A. 40-39-202 (20); or has another qualifying conviction as defined by T.C.A. 40-39-202 (2).

A “violent sexual offender” is any person convicted of a violent sexual offense as defined by T.C.A. 40-39-202 (28); or has another qualifying conviction as defined by T.C.A. 40-39-202 (2).

How far back does the registry go?

Under 40-39-203(a)(2), regardless of an offender’s date of conviction or discharge from supervision, an offender whose contact with this state is sufficient to satisfy the requirements of subdivision (a)(1) of T.C.A. 40-39-203, and who was an adult when the offense occurred is required to register or report in person as required by this part, if the person was required to register as any form of sexual offender in another jurisdiction prior to the offender’s presence in this state.

There’s a person in my neighborhood who I know is an offender, and he/she isn’t registered. Why is that?

It could mean that the offender has been terminated from the registry after meeting the criteria for termination as outlined in T.C.A. 40-39-207.

It could also mean that the offender is not in compliance with the law, and law enforcement is unaware of his/her presence in the community, in which case you should contact your local law enforcement agency to report a possible unregistered offender.

Where do sex offenders register?

Sex offenders should register with their local police department or sheriff’s office depending on where they live within the county. Those sex offenders being released from prison should register with the Tennessee Department of Correction within 48 hours prior to their release from incarceration. Sex offenders who are supervised by probation/parole are required to register with those agencies for so long as they are under supervision.

How long does an offender remain on the registry?

Violent sexual offenders” are required to register for life. “Sexual offenders” may file a request for termination of registration requirements with TBI Headquarters in Nashville ten years after the date the offender expires his/her sentence. Offenders convicted of certain offenses of statutory rape before July 1, 2006, may apply for termination from the registry immediately. If it is determined that the sexual offender has not been convicted of any additional sexual offenses during the ten year period, and the sexual offender has substantially complied with the registration requirements, the TBI shall remove the offender’s name from the Sex Offender Registry and shall notify the offender that he/she is no longer required to register.

What’s the TBI’s role in the Sex Offender Registry?

The TBI is responsible for maintaining the electronic sex offender database and sex offender files. It also manages the public sex offender registry website.  The TBI also conducts sex offender training for all registering agencies and participates in large scale sex offender “round-ups” upon request.

How much does it cost to register, and where does the money go?

Both sexual offenders and violent sexual offenders pay an annual administrative fee of $150. An administrative fee of $100 goes directly to the agency where the offender registers and $50 goes to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

What’s the penalty for not registering?

Failure to register or update records could result in the offender being charged with a Class E felony. Additionally, if an offender is on probation, parole, or any other alternative to incarceration, failure to comply with the program requirements will constitute sufficient grounds for and may result in the revocation of the offender’s probation, parole, or other alternative to incarceration.

How long does an offender have to register, once he/she has moved?

All offenders shall report in person to their designated law enforcement agency within 48 hours of establishing a new address.

Can a registered sex offender, whose victim was a minor, be a step-parent to minor children?

The sex offender registry law does not prohibit registered sex offenders, whose victims were minors, from being step-parents to minor children. However, under 40-39-211(c), and 40-29-202 (11), the law does prohibit sex offenders, whose victims were less thirteen years of age, from knowingly establishing a primary or secondary residence or any other living accommodation where a minor resides. Step-parents are not exempt from this law. Therefore, a sex offender, whose victim was less than 13 years of age, and who is a step-parent, cannot live with minor children.