Virginia Sex Offender Records

Who is Considered a Sex Offender in Virginia?

In Virginia, a sex offender is a person who has been convicted of a crime that requires registration under state law. Offenders may be required to register for life or just for a period of years depending on the nature of the crime. Offenses that require registration may be found under § 9.1-902 of the Virginia code. Some of the crimes for which registration is required include rape, sodomy, indecent exposure, carnal knowledge of a minor, sexual battery, etc.

What Types of Sex Offenders Exist in Virginia?

The state of Virginia classifies sex offenders into 3 categories depending on their assumed risk level. Offenders are categorized into Tier I, Tier II, Tier III offenders with Tier III considered the most high risk and Tier I the lowest.

Tier I

Tier I offenders are those convicted of lesser offenses than those in Tier II and III. Persons registered under Tier I must remain on the register for at least 15 years. Tier I offenders must also occasionally verify their registration once every two years. Examples of Tier I offenses include

  • Carnal Knowledge of Minor between 13 - 14 by a person more than 5 years older (Section 18.2-63)
  • A person with three or more convictions of sexual battery (Section 18.2-67.4)
  • Commercial sex trafficking (Section 18.2-357.1 (c))
  • A person with three or more convictions of sexual abuse of a child under 15 (Section 18.2-67.4:2)
  • Child Pornography (Section 18.2-374.1:1 (B)(D))
  • A person with three or more convictions of unlawful filming, videotaping or photographing of another (Section 18.2-386.1)
  • Abduction ( Section 18.2-47 (A))

Tier II

Tier II offenders are those convicted of offenses less severe than those in Tier III but considered more grievous than Tier I offenses. Persons under the Tier II category must verify their registration subsequently every two years. Tier II offenders are required to remain on the registry for a minimum of 25 years. Examples of Tier II offenders include:

  • Persons convicted of having carnal knowledge of a minor that is 15 and older while in a supervisory relationship. (Section 18.2-64.1)
  • Persons caught in possession of child pornography (Section 18.2-374.1:1 (C))
  • Persons who use a communication system to solicit a minor to violate §18.2-370, Indecent Liberties with a Minor(Section 18.2-374.3 (C)(D)(E)

Tier III

Tier IIIis also referred to as murder. It is the highest level on the registry and is for those convicted of the most heinous sex-related crimes. Offenders are mandated to remain on the registry for life and must re-register or verify their registration quarterly, four times a year (including the offender’s birth month). Persons on Tier III found guilty of flouting § 18.2-472.1(Providing false information or failing to provide registration information) will be required to verify registration monthly. Some offenses which fall under Tier III registration requirement include:

  • Rape (Section 18.2-61)
  • Forcible sodomy (Section 18.2-67.1)
  • Taking indecent liberties with a minor (Section 18.2-370)
  • Producing, distributing, or financing child pornography ( Section18.2-374.1)
  • Two or more convictions of carnal knowledge of a minor between 13-14 years old (Section 18.2-63)
  • Entering a dwelling house with the intent to rape (Section 18.2-90)

How to Find a Sex Offender Near Me in Virginia

Interested persons may find sex offenders in Virginia through the Sex Offender Registry Search Portal. The portal contains information on all registered sex offenders within the state. It collates records of registered offenders from the various local law enforcement agencies across the state. Interested persons may access information such as the offender’s name, offenses, residential address, etc. Personal information such as the offender’s vehicle particulars, social security number, etc. although collected, are not made available to the public.

Users may search the portal using either Zip code, address, name, county, city or school.

  • Zip Search

The zip search allows users to find offenders using the postal code system. Users may search for all offenders, or exclude incarcerated offenders. Searches may also be for only wanted offenders or civilly committed offenders only.

  • Address Search

Using the address search, users may find offenders living near a designated location. Searches will need to provide the street, city, and zip.

  • Name Search

Under this search type, offenders may be found by providing a first or a last name. Persons who only know a part of the offender’s name may still conduct searches.

  • County Search

Under this search type, all offenders in a particular county will be accessible. Only the offender’s residential address will be accessible through this search type.

  • City Search

Using this search type will enable interested persons to access an offender’s residential, work, and school locations for the chosen city.

  • School Search

With this search type, offender’s currently enrolled in an institution of higher education may be found.

What Happens When You Register as a Sex Offender in Virginia?

The extent of freedom or restriction an offender enjoys relates to the Tier which the offender is and the stage at which they are in rehabilitation. Offenders under supervised probation may be restricted from taking part in social activities such as trick or treating or may be restricted from entering school property. Offenders are mandated by law to inform law enforcement agencies when changing an address or moving into a new neighborhood. Offenders in Tier III are mandated to reregister yearly for life providing updated information on residence, appearance, and other related information. Tier III offenders are also prohibited from entering or being present at schools, school buses, or other public or private property when being used for a school-related activity. In compliance with some state laws, sex offenders may be barred from certain jobs or businesses.

What is the Virginia Sex Offender Registry?

The Virginia State Sex Offender and Crime Against Minors Registry is a public database that maintains information on persons convicted of sexually related crimes as specified in the statute. The database maintains records on child predators, convicted sex offenders, and other sexual offenses against minors. The registry is available to the public and may be accessed online or offline by physically visiting a Sheriff’s office. In compliance with Virginia Code § 9.1-902, persons found guilty of offenses stipulated in the act must register with the local sheriff or police department. Persons convicted of crimes requiring registration will remain on the registry for at least 15 years.

Who Runs the Virginia Sex Offender Registry?

The Virginia state sex offender registry is maintained by the Virginia State Police. It collects information on sex offenders registered locally at the different sheriffs and Police departments across the state. Information on the website also comprises records sourced from law enforcement documents or from self-reporting of offenders. The information available on the site is updated regularly. Offender registration and re-registration are immediately entered into the registry and are instantly accessible online.

What are the Sex Offender Laws in Virginia?

The Virginia state law regulating sex offenders is the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry Act contained in the Code of Virginia. The law was enacted to protect families and communities from repeat offenders while also providing a tool to assist law enforcement agencies in protecting the same. Under the law, juveniles and adults convicted of offenses set out in the Act are required to register. The law provides the offenses requiring registration, the procedures for registration and reregistration as well as the duration for registration and the process of removal from the sex offender list. The law is enacted as a retroactive law and as such offenders that would have been required to register if the law had been enacted must register as required.

How Long Do Sex Offenders Have to Register in Virginia?

Persons required to register under the act are mandated to register within 3 days of release from incarceration or within 3 days of suspension of sentence or other disposition not involving confinement. Persons that are required to register or re-register under the act shall remain on the register until the duty to register is removed by the court. For persons under the Tier I category the minimum period of registration is 15 years. Persons registered under the Tier II category must remain on the register for a minimum of 25 years. Persons convicted of a Tier III offense, murder, or criminal sexual assault (although repealed) shall be required to remain registered for life.

Offenders must also reregister within 3 days after a change of name or change of residence occurring whether within or outside the state. if the change of name or address occurs within the state, the offender must re-register within 3 days of the change. If the change of address is to a place outside the state, the offender must re-register within 10 days of the change.

Offenders who are registered on the platform must re-register within 3 days if there is a change of employment within or outside the state. This requirement is also extended to when there is a change in the registration details of any motor vehicle, aircraft, or watercraft owned by the offender whether within or outside the state.

Where there is a change of email address, the offender must re-register with the local law enforcement agency in person or electronically within 30 minutes of such change.

After registration and re-registration, registered offenders in Virginia must verify their information and submit themselves for new photographs every two years in the months designated by statute.

Can a Sex Offender Live With Their Family in Virginia?

Sex offenders in Virginia may live with family unless the court makes a particular disposition regarding living with children and the family contains children.

Do Sex Offenders Have to Notify Neighbors in Virginia?

Sex offenders in Virginia are not required to inform their neighbors when moving into a particular location. Persons interested in getting notified when a sex offender moves into a particular location may register for the community notifications program. Persons who register for notifications can be informed if a registered offender changes location or moves within a particular radius via email. Persons without an email address may still register for notifications via post at a fee.

Do Sex Offenders Have to Put a Sign in Their Yard in Virginia?

Offenders in Virginia are not mandated to put up a sign in their yard. Members of the public may find sex offenders living within an area by using the zip code search on the registry. Although sex offenders are not mandated to put up a sign, the police are required to visit the registered offender’s place of residence once every 6 months. Although not mandatory, the police may also visit the offender’s place of employment. The court, the code of Virginia, or the Virginia parole board may mandate that certain offenders be placed under GPS supervision for a period of time. Offenders that come into Virginia for work, on an extended visit, or to attend school are still required to register within 3 days of coming into Virginia. Employment includes part-time work which requires being in Virginia for over 14 days or an aggregate of 30 days in a year.

How Close Can a Sex Offender Live to a School in Virginia?

Under Virginia state law all sex offenders must keep a distance from schools and child day centers. Under section § 18.2-370.3., persons convicted of Tier III sexual offenses with a victim more than 3 years younger are prohibited from residing within 500 feet of a primary school, secondary school, child daycare center, or high school. Tier III offenders are also perpetually banned from residing within 500 feet of public parks that are owned by the government and are regularly used for school activities. Section § 18.2-370.2., prohibits persons convicted of specific crimes such as abduction from loitering within 100 feet of premises known to be a primary, secondary, high school, or child day program center. Such offenders are also prohibited from going within 100 feet of a playground, gymnasium, athletic field, or otherwise for the purpose of interacting with children.

Sex offenders do not have to notify neighbors when moving into an area. Persons interested in knowing when registered offenders move into an area may sign up for the community notifications feature provided by the Virginia State Police. Neighbors may also search for offenders on the registry as the information provided is available to the public.

How to Look Up Sex Offenders in Virginia

Information on the registry is available to all members of the public for informational use only. Virginia laws prohibit members of the public from using information available on the registry to harass or intimidate persons who are registered on it. However, distributing information contained on the site or material containing information generated from the registry will not be deemed harassment unless other circumstances exist.

Interested members of the public may also obtain public record information from third-party websites. These privately owned sites typically host data culled from public databases and repositories. However, the information available on third-party sites may vary since they are independent of government sources. In order to use a third-party site, record seekers may be required to provide all or some of the following information:

  • The full name on the record of choice
  • The last known or current address of the named individual
  • The address of the requestor

Can You Expunge a Sex Offender Charge in Virginia?

Persons charged with a sexual offense may be able to get the charge expunged under specific circumstances. Some of the cases where an application may be made for expungement of the charge include:

  • If a nolle prosequi was entered in the case
  • If the person is acquitted
  • Where an innocent person’s name or other means of identification is used by a person charged with the offense

To get the charge expunged the procedure set out in Section § 19.2-392.2. of the Virginia code is

  • Obtain certified copies of the final disposition of your charge(s).
  • File a Petition for Expungement in the Circuit Court.
  • Pay a filing fee.
  • Provide a copy of the petition to the Commonwealth’s Attorney.
  • Obtain your fingerprint card from a local law enforcement agency.
  • Send the fingerprint card along with a copy of the petition to the state police for a criminal history records check.
  • Schedule a hearing with a Judge in the Circuit Court to determine if the expungement should be granted or denied.

At the hearing, the Judge will determine if the offender is eligible for an expungement for the reasons discussed above. The judge will also consider whether the “existence and possible dissemination of information relating to the arrest of the petitioner causes or may cause circumstances which constitute a manifest injustice to the petitioner.”

Another option, although different from expungement is to petition to be removed from the registry. Only sex offenders registered in Tier I or Tier II categories may apply to have their names removed from the sex offender registry. Persons convicted of murder, a Tier III offense or 2 or more offenses of either classification that requires registration will remain on the registry for life. An offender seeking to be removed from the registry will need to make a petition to the Circuit Court where the conviction was handed down or the Circuit Court in the jurisdiction where such offender resides. Persons that have been convicted for a single Tier I offense may petition the court for removal from the registry 15 years after the first conviction or registration. Offenders registered under Tier II may only petition the court for removal after 25 years have elapsed.

A petition cannot be filed until all conditions handed down by the court have been fulfilled. Even where the time frame permitted has elapsed, all counseling, court-ordered treatment, and restitution must be completed. If a petition is denied, the offender may reapply after 24 months.

The removal from the registry should not be confused with the relief from, registration, re-registration, or verification which is also available to offenders.

Persons convicted of a Tier III offense are required to verify their information four times a year. The offender may petition the court for relief from this requirement 3 years after the duty to register arose. Offenders that are required to verify information every month may petition the court for relief five years after the obligation arose. The court will hold a hearing to decide if the offender is no longer a threat after a comprehensive medical assessment has been carried out.

The duly appointed guardian of a registered offender in any of the categories may petition the court for relief from the obligation of registration, re-registration, or verification where the offender is incapable of offending due to physical condition. Where the court grants the application, the police are under a duty to confirm annually that the physical condition remains.

Is Public Urination a Sex Offense in Virginia?

Persons who urinate in public run the risk of being charged for indecent exposure. Individuals who knowingly expose private parts or makes an unacceptable display may be charged under § 18.2-387. It must be noted that not all instances of public urination may be classed as a sexual offense. Persons that are convicted may be will be faced with a class 1 misdemeanor charge.

What is Indecent Exposure in Virginia?

According to Virginia state law, indecent exposure consists of making an obscene display of private parts in a place where others are present or a public place. Indecent exposure involves doing acts such as :

  • Exposing private parts
  • Masturbating
  • Engaging in any sexual conduct
  • Exposing private parts to entice a minor into sexual activity

How to Report a Sex Offender in Virginia?

All persons who satisfy the criteria for registration on the sex offender registry are mandated to self-register at any local sheriff or police department. Persons who fail to register within 3 days of release from incarceration or suspension of sentence commit an offense and may be liable to more restrictions and punishment.

Members of the public may inform the Virginia State police of offenders who should be on the register by providing as much information as possible through the comments page. Some of the information which is to be submitted includes the date of birth of the subject, name, name of the court, etc.

Alternatively, interested persons may contact the Virginia State police by visiting in person or sending a mail to:

Administrative Headquarters
7700 Midlothian Turnpike
North Chesterfield, VA 23235
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 27472
Richmond, VA 23261
Phone: (804) 674-2000
Fax: (804) 674-2936
TTY: 711