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New law makes sex offenders easier to track

South Carolina residents who have been convicted of sexual abuse of a minor will have their passports revoked. The State Department recently began implementing a new law called International Megan's Law that was passed in 2016. Those with such a conviction on their record will have to apply for a new passport that has a unique identifier on it. The goal of the new law is to cut down on potential child exploitation.

The new marker also makes it easier to keep track of where offenders may go while out of the country. Registered sex offenders will no longer be eligible for a passport card because they cannot be properly marked. According to a government report in 2010, there were thousands who were on the National Sex Offender Registry and were able to get a passport. However, there was no way to stop those on the registry from getting a passport unless they had been specifically convicted for sex tourism.

The State Department says that the report was misleading and that granting passports did not necessarily allow them to commit the crimes. Those who have not received word from the State Department are allowed to keep traveling on their current passports. However, once notified, the new passports of convicted child sex offenders will have the unique identifier on them indefinitely.

Those who are accused of sexual crimes involving a child may experience both personal and professional consequences. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to talk with an attorney about ways to defend against such a charge. It may be possible to cast doubt on physical evidence or witness statements in an effort to win an acquittal or to have the case thrown out. A plea deal may reduce the severity of the penalties that the accused may face.

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Christopher A. Wellborn, P.A.
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Rock Hill, SC 29730

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