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Sex offender registration now a possibility for taking illegal photographs

In the event a person is under investigation or charged with any sort of sex offense, it can prove to be a truly nightmarish experience. This is not just because these crimes typically call for lengthy prison sentences, large fines and mandatory sex offender registration, but also because they can destroy professional reputations and irreparably harm standing in the community.

Given these potentially dire consequences, it's imperative that those who find themselves in this position understand what exactly the law has to say here in Tennessee. To that end, people need to be aware of a new law that took effect just a few weeks ago making those convicted of taking illicit photographs subject to sex offender registration.

What exactly does this new law do?

Under the new law, which took effect July 1, defendants convicted of misdemeanor unlawful photographing in violation of privacy now face a possible registration requirement with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's Sex Offender Registry.

Does this mean registration is mandatory?

No, the registration requirement is not mandatory. The new law grants judges the discretionary authority to require a person convicted of misdemeanor unlawful photographing in violation of privacy to register as a sex offender for up to ten years.

Here, they are required to consider all of the facts and the circumstances surrounding the underlying offense before making this potentially life-changing decision.

Does this new law change how this crime is charged?

The new law amends the existing law by adding the sex offender registration provision.

As such, a person convicted of unlawful photographing in violation of privacy can still be charged with anything from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class D felony depending upon such factors as whether the photographs were disseminated, the age of the victims, etc.

Why was this new law introduced?

The original sponsors of the legislation, Rep. Mike Sparks (R-Smyrna) and Senator Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville), argued that it was necessary to ensure parties are punished accordingly and to serve as a deterrent to this type of conduct.

If you find yourself under investigation or have been charged with any manner of sex crime, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible to help ensure the protection of your rights and your future.

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Mathis, Bates & Klinghard PLLC
412 Franklin Street
Clarksville, TN 37040

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