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Sex offender reporting & First Amendment – Fairfax criminal lawyer

Virginia criminal defense attorney / DUI lawyer for Fairfax County, Arlington, Alexandria & Beyond

Jul 30, 2019 Sex offender reporting & First Amendment – Fairfax criminal lawyer

Sex offender reporting & First Amendment - Fairfax criminal lawyer - Image of computer monitor

Sex offender reporting & First Amendment – Fairfax criminal lawyer

Sex offender reporting requirements ruled not a First Amendment violation, says Fairfax criminal lawyer

Sex offender reporting of the mandatory sort is what awaits Virginia residents convicted of crimes requiring sex offender registration. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that such mandatory reporting includes providing “electronic mail address information, any instant message, chat or other Internet communication name or identity information that the person uses or intends to use…” Va. Code § 9.1-903(B). Any changes thereto must be reported within thirty minutes of making the update. § 9.1-903(G).

Fairfax criminal lawyer on the absence of First Amendment protection against Virginia’s sex offender reporting requirements

Caught redhanded using Facebook after previously denying social media use and Internet access, Jesus Bailey had little to argue on appeal against his conviction for violating sex offender reporting than to claim that the reporting requirements (and felony penalty for not reporting) violate the First Amendment. Bailey v. Commonwealth of Virginia, ___ Va. App. ___ (July 30, 2019). As a Fairfax criminal defense lawyer, I know that it is harder to succeed with a First Amendment challenge that requires reporting information than a challenge that punishes or curbs speech.

Fairfax criminal defense lawyer on conviction for not reporting Internet use

Bailey affirms the defendant’s felony conviction for violating Virginia’s sex offender reporting law, and rejects the defendant’s claim that the reporting requirements “chilled his exercise of his right to free speech and association as guaranteed by the First Amendment.” Bailey further rejects the defendant’s claimed support for his First Amendment argument in Packingham v. North Carolina, 137 S. Ct. 1730 (2017), which struck down that state’s total ban on sex offenders’ access to social media that might be visited by minors. Bailey points out that Virginia’s sex offender reporting requirements do not limit Internet activity, but instead require reporting identity information used with Internet access.

Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan L. Katz pursues your best defense against felony, misdemeanor, DUI, and sex offense prosecutions. To discuss your case with Jon Katz, please call his staff at 703-383-1100, to schedule a confidential consultation. 

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