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Maryland Sex Offender Registry Laws

Under federal law, each state is required to create and maintain sex registries to monitor those convicted of certain sex offenses. While each state can determine what crimes are considered sex offenses, they must still categorize those crimes into three tiers, the third tier reserved for the most serious offenses.

In 2011, responding to the federal registry requirements, Maryland enacted its statewide sex offender registry which applies retroactively and which breaks down sex offenses into the following three tiers.

Tier 3 Offenses Requiring Registration Every 3 Months For Life

  • Rape (all degrees)
  • Sex Offenses (1st, 2nd and aggravated 3rd degree)
  • Sexual abuse of a minor
  • Kidnapping
  • Incest
  • Murder with intent to rape, sexually offend or sexually abuse a minor
  • Forcible sodomy or forcible perverted practice

Tier 2 Offenses Requiring Registration Every 6 Months for 25 Years

  • Abduction of a child for prostitution
  • Distributing or manufacturing child pornography
  • Sexual solicitation of a minor
  • Human trafficking/pandering
  • 3rd degree sex offenses (not involving force, threats or incapacitation)
  • Crimes involving prostitution/sale of children

Tier 1 Offenses Requiring Registration Every 6 Months for 15 Years

  • 4th degree sex offenses
  • Possession of child pornography
  • Visual surveillance with prurient intent
  • Certain federal crimes that are not offenses in Maryland

Definition of Conviction

In order for Maryland's sex offender registry laws to apply, a defendant must have received a "conviction," which exists where a defendant:

  • Is found guilty by jury or judicial officer;
  • Enters plea of nolo contendere;
  • Is granted probation before judgment after a finding of guilt for a crime; or
  • Is found not criminally responsible for the crime (due to mental incapacity).

It's important to note that defendants can be removed from the registry if their convictions are overturned on appeal, subject to a pardon, or expunged from their record.

Maryland Sex Offender Registry Laws: An Overview

The chart below contains more specific information on Maryland sex offender registry laws.


Maryland Criminal Procedure Code Section 11-701 (defining the different tiers of sex offenders in Maryland)

Maryland Criminal Procedure Code Section 11-702.1 (allowing for retroactive application of registry requirements)

Maryland Criminal Procedure Code Section 11-704 (describing registration requirements)

Maryland Criminal Procedure Code Section 11-721 (penalties for failing to register)

Maryland Criminal Procedure Code Section 11-723 (convictions requiring lifetime registration)

Maryland Criminal Procedure Code Section 11-724 (penalties for violations of lifetime registration)

Possible Penalties

Knowingly failing to register or to provide required information or notices or knowingly providing false information is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 3 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines for an initial violation.

Subsequent violations are felonies punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Maryland Sex Offender Registry Laws: Related Resources

Get Legal Help with Your Sex Offender Registry Questions

Understanding Maryland's sex offender registry laws is just as important before a conviction as after, as it could shape the strategy in your case. If you've been charged with a sex crime in Maryland, it's in your best interest to contact a local sex crime lawyer to find out how the state's sex offender registry laws may apply to your case.

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