One of the biggest concerns parents face at Halloween is the safety of their children. In an effort intended to help protect children from sex offenders living in their area, a relatively new Missouri law requires sex offenders to stay out of sight on Halloween.
Halloween Restrictions for Sex Offenders
In 2010, Missouri lawmakers passed a new piece of legislation aimed at protecting trick-or-treaters from convicted sex offenders on Halloween night. The law requires registered sex offenders to stay inside their homes between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 10:30 pm. with all exterior lighting turned off. They must also post signs on their door stating that no candy will be available to trick-or-treaters at their home.
What is the Purpose of These Restrictions?
Studies show that 67 percent of sexual assault victims in Missouri are under the age of 18. On a night where children under the age of 18 go door to door, this law is meant to keep kids away from the houses of those convicted of sexual offenses. Parents are encouraged to check online sex offender registries before going trick-or-treating to know which homes or neighborhoods to avoid.
Do All Sex Offenders Follow These Restrictions?
However, not all registered sex offenders are required to follow this law. Only those convicted of a sex crime after 2008 have to comply; as for the rest, police will be making efforts to check in on as many homes as possible. In 2014, officers from the Springfield Police Department checked on 78 homes on Halloween night. They found six violations of the state Halloween regulations, the punishment for which is a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.
Other Repercussions for Convicted Sex Offenders
Convicted sex offenders forfeit their freedom on Halloween night under Missouri’s strict child safety law. This is just one of the many punishments registered sex offenders must face. Since offenders are registered for life in the state of Missouri, these restrictions and lost freedoms will continue to affect them for as long as they live.
Missouri's Halloween sex offender law is severe, as other jurisdictions and states throughout the country have more lax or even no restrictions on Halloween night. In any event, the law serves as a reminder that convicted sex offenders face long-term repercussions, limitations, and restrictions. For those who stand accused of a sex crime in St. Louis or anywhere in the state of Missouri, such consequences should make them intent on working with proven and experienced Missouri sex crime lawyers.
Get Help from Experienced St. Louis Sex Crime Lawyers
A criminal conviction for a sex offense is an extremely serious matter that carries a number of harsh and restrictive penalties. If you have been accused of a sex crime, we urge you to contact a St. Louis sex crime defense lawyer at The Hammer Law Firm, LLC. As former prosecutors with more than 60 years of criminal law experience, we possess the knowledge and skill it takes to effectively and aggressively protect your rights.
With your freedom and future on the line, there is no time to waste in securing the representation you need to possibly reduce or eliminate your charges. For a free and confidential case evaluation, contact us today.