Since 1996, New York’s Sex Offender Registration Act, known as SORA, requires individuals who were convicted of certain sex offenses to register with the Division of Criminal Justice Services when they are released from prison or when they are sentenced to probation for such crimes.
There are three levels of SORA registration. The risk level determination may result in lifetime reporting obligations and the disclosure of detailed personal information on the registry website. This information may include the individual’s photograph, home and work address, and details of the underlying offense.
At the SORA hearing, a judge adjudicates the individual as a Level 1 (low risk of reoffense), Level 2 (moderate risk of reoffense), or Level 3 (high risk of reoffense). The judge considers the individual’s risk of re-offense, the underlying incident, any other criminal history, post-offense behavior, and the individual’s prospects upon release. Individuals have a right to be present and a right to counsel at a SORA hearing.
The team of attorneys at Appellate Advocates who work exclusively on SORA matters evaluate each client’s case, identify legal claims that will result in the lowest level of registration, and represent individuals in court at their SORA hearings.
Appellate Advocates has won more than 100 SORA cases at the hearing and on appeal.
Appellate Advocates also represents clients on appeals of the SORA hearing determinations.
The applicable law also permits individuals who are on the registry as a Level 3 or Level 2 to return to the hearing court and petition for a lower risk level due to a change in circumstances. Appellate Advocates represents these individuals who are seeking a modification by filing a petition seeking a reduction in the risk level.
Appellate Advocates has successfully petitioned for the downward modification of clients who have demonstrated rehabilitation and a low likelihood of reoffense.