Being properly advised of the consequences of Sex Offender Registration as well as its consequences is a critical piece of properly advising a client. Given that a clients court-martial defense lawyer should have a have a general idea where the accused (client) intends to go after the trial or confinement – to where he has a job waiting, his parents live, his spouse lives, he plans to attend or finish college, or as a default position, his home of record – an experienced court-martial defense attorney will be able to counsel can cite with some specificity what the effects of sex offender registration will be.

It is always important to remember that federal law only requires the states to register certain offenses (listed in DOD Instruction 1325.7 as amended Nov 16, 2009) as a minimum, and the states are free to register other offenses. Remember, the military judge may not allow evidence of sex offender registration on the basis of relevance or if the matter is a collateral consequence.

If the judge does not take judicial notice or wants to limit defense argument, your court-martial defense attorney may attempt to have you make an unsworn statement describing what you understand sex offender registration to require and how it will affect you. This can only be effectively done if you rehearse the testimony, read a statement prepared with the help of your attorney, and/or make an unsworn statement through counsel. While the standard unsworn statement instruction may be given (See page 72, Military Judges Benchbook, JAN 2010), the military judge should allow you to say whatever you wish in an unsworn statement.

Sex Offender Registration has numerous consequences during both the pre-sentencing portion of the trial as well as post-trial. If you are facing a sexual assault charge in the military, an Article 120 UCMJ offense or another charge that may have sex offender consequences, ensure that your court martial defense lawyer advises you of all of the potential consequences.

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