Saturday, September 23, 2017

Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry: Arbitrary Due Dates, Limited Hours of Operation, Certified Letter Must be In-Hand, Photographs and Felonies

It’s mid-September and in my house, that means one thing, what’s my husband’s October work schedule look like for him to meet his legal obligation as a Non-Violent RSO who must re-register once a year in Virginia.

Some people might think, what’s the big deal he re-registers on his birthday easy-peasy, not in Virginia.

In Virginia Per § 9.1-904. RSO’s reregister:
  1. Every 30 days
  2. Every 90 days (not 3 months), the majority of VA’s RSO’s fall into this group.
  3. Every 180 days (not 6 months)
  4. Annually

A bit of history:
Your first registration sets future due dates, an RSO’s birthday has nothing to due with re-registration.

In VA when an RSO registers for the first time, their photograph is taken so originally an RSO’ photo due date was synced up with one of their re-registration dates, per VA Code a new photograph is due every 2 years (section C of the above code). But then years ago the Virginia State Police (VSP) started receiving new VADMV photographs from the Department of Motor Vehicles which were taken based on DMV’s license renewal due dates not VSP’s RSO due dates. So the majority of RSO’s photo due dates no longer matched up with one of their re-registration dates but became an arbitrary day in an arbitrary month. So on average VA RSO’s must re-register 4 times per year and every 2 years they add a 5th trip to a VSP location to get their photograph submitted. In 2017
the VSP stopped sending a certified letter for the photograph renewals, it’s now up to the RSO to remember on their own

Just for those who may not know any failure-to-reregister on time is a new felony conviction.

Just like any failure to update any change in home address, mailing address, employment, phone numbers, email addresses, vehicle registration or name throughout the year is also under threat of a felony.

In VA when your re-registration is coming due the VSP mails a certified letter and the RSO MUST have that certified letter in their hand if they re-register at a VSP location (some RSO’s choose to mail in their completed letters taking a risk that it may not be checked-in, in-time or at all) otherwise they will be turned away. I have previously posted (see the list at the bottom of this post) about these certified letters including their annual cost, the short time frame that they sometimes arrive within and their non-delivery by some USPS locations across the state. 

So last year (2016) my husband’s VSP letter was mailed on October 7th (Friday), we received it on the evening of Tuesday the 11th (the day after Columbus Day Holiday) the first delivery attempt and it was due back to the VSP by the 23rd (a Sunday) so really by it was due by Friday the 21st. During that entire time, he was working, he did not have one day off so we had to improvise to get him to the VSP within the allotted timeframe. Now, if he could have gone in before his letter arrived to reregister, he could have easily done so but that’s not allowed by the VSP.

My husband is a shift-worker so leaving work to run an errand is not an option. His schedule also is not set in stone it varies every month and it can change if a coworker is sick or has an emergency as every position must be covered 24 hours a day.

As in past years it’s come down to just one or two days that he can make it in to a VSP location during their hours of operation (Mon-Fri 8:30-4PM and closed 12 holidays per year) to meet his legal requirement to re-register and/or submit to his new photograph.

It turns out 2017’s October schedule for him is no different, we just received it yesterday.

Knowing when the VSP will mail out the re-registration letter, accounting for the weekend and the holiday beforehand, more than one attempt to receive the letter (it must be signed for when the USPS delivery person rings the doorbell), the VSP hours of operation, one more weekend and my husband’s work schedule there is just 1 day for him to meet his legal obligation to get his photograph taken or possibly face a felony.

ONE day! On that one day an emergency could occur, his vehicle could breakdown or he could be called into work. Could he re-register and submit to a new photograph last week, this week, next week or even the first week of October? YES, he could in fact I counted 8 days he could take care of it during this timeframe, but the state won’t allow it. He must wait for the VSP certified letter to arrive and then beat the clock on the random date they have assigned him within the limited hours they are open.

AND, he's lucky. He only has to re-register once a year the majority of folks have to do it every 90 days and there are some every 30 days, under the same stupid rules and limited timeframe.

The truly sad and depressing part of this entire situation is there are times people don’t receive their letter in enough time or at all and then a VSP investigation is opened, they must hire an attorney and possibly face a new felony charge, cover the cost of bail and they face future prison time and/or VADOC Probation supervision.

How does any of this make our citizens, our society safer? It doesn’t and yet the madness continues.

It's time for Virginia to eliminate the USPS certified letters, to sync up the VSP photograph dates with a VSP re-registration date and to move towards a rotating/repeating re-registration system for RSO’s, find details here, http// .

Mary Davye Devoy

Past posts on VSP Re-Registration letters and processes, VSP policies and VSP issues: