Almost everyone knows about the sex offender registry, which requires people convicted of certain sex crimes to register with local law enforcement and allows for public notification of the conviction. But in Oklahoma, the Sex Offender Registration Act is not the only law that requires post-conviction registration for people convicted of specified crimes.
The Oklahoma Methamphetamine Offender Registry Act requires that people convicted of meth-related crimes be entered into a database which is checked by pharmacists before allowing the purchase of certain prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs which may be precursors to the manufacture of methamphetamine. Read more about the meth offender registry.
The Mary Rippy Violent Crime Offenders Registration Act is more functionally similar to Oklahoma sex offender registration; however, rather than applying to those convicted of sex crimes, it is required of people convicted of specified violent crimes.
Being listed as a “violent offender” can have a significant personal and professional impact. Prospective employers or landlords who see that a person is listed as a violent offender may be hesitant to hire such a person or rent housing to him or her—regardless of whether or not the convicted person has any likelihood of committing a violent act again.
If you are accused of a violent crime, it is important to hire a criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible. In some cases, an attorney may be able to have the charge dismissed or may provide a defense that gets you acquitted completely. In other cases, a negotiated plea may end with lighter charges and associated penalties. If, however, a person is convicted of a violent crime that requires registration under the Mary Rippy Act, an attorney can help his or her client understand and comply with the terms of registration.
In 2003, 89-year-old Mary Rippy was strangled to death by a neighbor—a man with a violent criminal record the elderly woman knew nothing about. Proponents of the Violent Crime Offenders Registration Act claimed that had Ms. Rippy known that Tommy Standefer, the man convicted of her murder, had a violent criminal history, her murder might have been avoided.
After her death, Oklahoma legislators passed The Mary Rippy Violent Crime Offenders Registration Act codified in 57 O.S. § 591 – 599.1. This act requires anyone convicted of specified violent crimes on or after November 1, 2004, to register with local law enforcement in much the same way a person would register if convicted of a sex offense. Just as the Oklahoma sex offender registry is searchable by the public, so is the violent crime offender registry.
Not every act involving physical force is pursuant to Oklahoma’s violent crime offender registry. Instead, the state stipulates seven crimes as requiring registration, as well as equivocal convictions in other states.
Violent crimes which require registration under Oklahoma law include the following acts specified in 57 O.S. § 593:
Any person required to register as a Violent Offender in Oklahoma must register for a period of 10 years following completion of the sentence. Failure to register is a separate felony offense punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
While the intent behind Oklahoma’s violent offender registration act is good—to protect public safety—there is some concern that it is unfairly applied, particularly in regard to people convicted out of state who must later register upon moving to Oklahoma.
You may remember that a recent court case, Hendricks v. Jones, struck down a portion of the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registration Act. Prior to the case, SORA required people convicted of sex crimes who moved into Oklahoma to register as sex offenders, even if their conviction was prior to 1989 and would not have required registration had the person been convicted in Oklahoma.
The Mary Rippy Act may contain a similar loophole which unfairly applies registration to people with out-of-state convictions. If you were convicted of a violent crime in another state, and you received notice that you must register as a violent offender upon moving to Oklahoma, contact an attorney for help.
If you have been charged with any of the aforementioned “violent crimes,” it is important to seek legal defense representation. The penalties of conviction extend far beyond any sentence levied by the judge. For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, call attorney Ryan Coventon at (405) 417-3842.